A New Home and New Plans — Babylicious by Figur8

A New Home and New Plans

We’ve finally moved into our new place and there will be a number of changes in store for all for us. It will interesting to see how we all fare in them.

Sleeping on Their Own

The first change is that the boys have moved into their own room. Tonight is the first night they are sleeping on their own – ever. I’m waiting to see when one of them will get up and come looking for me in the middle of the night. Truth be told, it’s a big adjustment not just for the boys but for me, too, and I’m not sure who will have the harder time for it. I’ll keep you posted on how we go…

A Play Room

Until recently, the boys have been usurping just about every room in the house because they don’t have a dedicated play room. They don’t even have a place for their toys. Now there is “a place for everything and everything in its place”. Well, that’s the idea anyway. Hubby jokingly said that it would be a full-time job to clean up after Hercules. Indeed. The setup for the play room is to make everything accessible to the boys so they can decide what they want to play with and how.

While this arrangement works well for Aristotle, Hercules is going to drive me nuts. He seems to derive great pleasure in un-ending all the boxes and scattering all the toys around the room. Even the books are off the shelves – well, just the ones he can reach and the ones he likes.

Is it a bit much to expect a 2 year old to pack up after himself? Has Aristotle spoilt me? Because he seemed to have this natural instinct for packing up and was able to do it at this age. Then again, Aristotle was always very particular about order – he would get upset if a single train was out of place; he hated it if you packed his colour pencils in the wrong order; if you moved his water bottle, he would move it back; well, you get the drift. Hercules, however, appears to thrive on chaos.

If you have any suggestions on teaching a 2 year old to pack up, I’m all ears…

Homeschooling / After School

Now that we finally have the space, I plan to change the routine somewhat. I’ve been thinking a lot about how I want to do this and here’s the rough idea so far…

12 Subjects

We’ll be working on general knowledge flash cards for speed play (ala Shichida style) using Little Reader. This should be fairly quick to get through – the preparation will be the time consuming part. We will then supplement each subject following the Montessori activities from the online course by Karen Tyler.

The idea’s still a work in progress but I’ll be sharing the details as I work them out with the boys so stay tuned!

About the author

Shen-Li Shen-Li is a stay-home mum to two boys who have been the inspiration for her interest in early childhood development and early child education. She searches for the balance in child development methods and the educational philosophies that will enable the nurture of happy, confident and successful children. She shares her views and findings at Figur8.


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Comments

  1. Thanks Urszula! Yes, it is a lot easier when the children have more autonomy over their own entertainment. They are not reliant upon us for everything which gives me a bit more breathing space.

  2. Thanks for the inspiration Irene. I hope Hercules is like Tchaikovsky then… They say genius is order in madness :-p BTW… you are welcome to visit any time. We are pretty much settled now.

  3. Thanks SD. Hope you gal gets her play room soon, too. It makes such a big difference!

  4. Thanks FZ!

    Jessica – I haven’t figured out what works with Hercules yet. Points and rewards don’t really seem to have any impact either… If we just talk about it, it’s too abstract for him to grasp the idea. If I show the reward, he goes nuts and just wants the reward without doing the deed.

    Although interestingly, Montessori says there should be no rewards or punishments which we have been using a lot of since both boys were little… not sure I know how to work around this…

  5. Thanks MieVee! We just have the one room for both – homeschool and play. I did toy with the idea of using part of my workspace for homeschooling but not sure if it would work. Will have to try you idea of putting the toys out of sight. Although that said, Aristotle will find ways to make toys out of stuff when there is no other. For instance, I was really mad that he broke my rules yesterday that I told him he wasn’t allowed in the play room and he could have access to any electronics. In short, he had access to no toys for “play” so he rearranged my dining chairs and used a blanket to make a tent…

    It’s a lot easier with Aristotle being more capable now. When he wakes early, I can tell him to wash himself up and get his own breakfast! Putting out new books for him each time also helps him focus on a few specific books rather than be overwhelmed by the choices on the bookshelf. Everyday, he has been reading what I put out and asking me for more if he finishes them quickly.

    I find that packing up and keeping tidy isn’t so much a problem with Aristotle – it’s Hercules that wrecks havoc with everything! I still haven’t managed to get him to pack up properly after himself. Aristotle knows that if toys leave the play room, they get confiscated. This doesn’t work for Hercules. He still brings toys out again and again.

  6. Finally!!! Happy for you!

    Is your homeschooling and play room combined or separated? Ours is combined, so I keep V’s toys out of sight and reach by stacking them in boxes, blocking them or locking in wardrobe. Only Baby Jae’s toys are reachable. After completing lessons, then I’d offer 2 toys options. E.g. Cooking or playhouse? This follows Montessori’s observation that toys distract the child from the learning materials on the shelves.

    Of cos, there’s a very limited selection such as a box of Lego blocks that he can entertain himself with when I’m busy for a while before lesson time.

    For sleep area (we still co-sleep), there’re several small toys such as cars and puzzles, and a bookshelf. So when he wakes up earlier than me, he’d entertain himself first. I’ve taught him not to interrupt me when I’m resting. Haha!

    As for packing up, it’s easier because he gets to play with 1 toy at a time, most of the time. E.g. Cooking set with many small items. If he requests for another toy, I tell him it looks like he’s still cooking (Karen’s idea). Then sing pack up song, and he’d pack up, unless in a grouchy mood. Also, I’ve made it an expectation that if he packs up, the toy box goes back to where it came from. If I am the one who packs that toy (without him laying a finger to help), that box goes into the storeroom. After doing so a few times, he knows I’m serious and would pack or at least help to pack.

    Anyway, Aristotle sounds a lot like me too. My colour pencils / crayons / oil pastels are always in the exact order. After opening presents, I even wrapped them back again till I was ready to use them. Totally different from my sisters who thrive in messiness and are much more creative than me. Ha!

  7. Fz Teh says:

    …Congratulations!

  8. Congratulations on the new place! I am sure the boys will have a blast. Aristotle and my DS are pretty similar in terms of order and OCDness :) Hercules sound like my bestie’s son who drives DS crazy whenever he comes over…lol. My friend created a reward system where he gets points for cleaning up. Points are exchangeable with treats.

  9. SD says:

    Hi there, Congratulations!! Finally the boys can have their own play room… I was hoping my gal will have one soon….

  10. Irene Ng says:

    Hi there, Cannot wait to visit you at your new house. As for cleaning up, tell me when you manage to instill such habits to your younger one. I still cannot with Ben. :)…I heard Tchaikovsky, the composer was one messy person even as a teenager. So take heart about it – I keep reminding myself too! Hehe.

  11. Urszula says:

    Hi :) Congratulations :) I am so glad for you and for your own place :) In my opinion (and home) the Montessori set up works very well. Both my children – almost 1 and 3 yo can find their toys easily and play on their own when I am not around.