Kindergarten Readiness, Active Babies

The object of education is to prepare the young to educate themselves throughout their lives.” ~Robert Maynard Hutchins

Yesterday I printed a checklist from to test Maverick’s kindergarten readiness, and I feel like he is far ahead considering he doesn’t begin public school until eight months from now. There are very few things on the list he has not mastered.

With his understanding of expressive and receptive language, the only roadblock we are facing is his ability to recite rhyming poems or familiar stories. I’m not sure if this is an inability or a lack of interest, but for the month of February one of our benchmarks will be mastering “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”, “The Itsy Bitsy Spider”, and “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star”. All of these he can start off accurately but after the first line I’m met with an inquisitive look and “what comes next?”.
Other things the list says that Maverick should be able to do (this list is about six printed pages long) are “Demonstrates the ability to correctly put in order or sequence up to three story pictures”, “demonstrates an understanding of adding to and taking away using objects up to five”, “understands concepts of more and less up to five objects”, and “knows parents first and last name”. I’m not confident in his ability with these things yet, so I am adding them to regular lessons for the month of February.

Maverick knows all of the names of his family members, but due to the mixed nature of his households (his father and I are divorced, Maverick has a stepfather) sometimes he gets last names confused. He knows with certainty that his brother’s name is “Ethan Curry” and that his father’s name is “Josh Nieman” but he isn’t sure about my last name, he often switches between “Prejean” and “Nieman” mostly because he never hears me called by first and last name. He’s not entirely incorrect, either, because my maiden name IS “Prejean” and I don’t use “Nieman” at all anymore, but many places in print that is what my last name appears. So, some clarification of that is necessary.
Today’s lessons include:

Boy, n.:  a noise with dirt on it.  ~Not Your Average Dictionary

From top to bottom this ick is chocolate pudding, chalk, calamine powder, and hand soap. Unfortunately he used them in the wrong order.

Both of the children are very noisy, messy, and curious. If Ethan is not trying to eat ash out of the fireplace, he’s screaming at his brother or daredevil riding his “Lightning Mcqueen” as a skateboard (A FOOT OFF THE GROUND!). Maverick is always sneaking a “snack” or drawing on himself or screaming at the baby. It’s a miracle I haven’t had a stroke yet.

Ethan’s education is mostly centered on play right now, because he’s only 14 months old. I recently picked up a copy of “Active Baby, Healthy Brain” and finished reading through all of the exercises for Ethan’s age group last night. This year for babies is considered a “movement year”, not a “language year”, so language is expected to take a back burner to coordination, balance, strength, and mobility. (Though lately Ethan INSISTS on being heard, we’re a loud family so most of Ethan’s verbiage consists of yelling his opinions which are either “YES”, “NO”, or “EAT!”) Late last week Ethan took his first REAL, unassisted steps. He still doesn’t walk with surety but he will step five or six steps without holding on to anything. Funnily enough, this morning he walked back and forth from one end of the bathtub to the other quite a few times without holding on, in water about ankle deep. This was the most certain I’ve ever seen him of his footing. This week I am going to provide him with obstacles. We have these really high pub chairs for our dining table (family of four in a townhome, we can’t really fit a “real” table) which are constructed of heavy cherry wood legs and leather full back seats. I am going to start flipping one on it’s side and letting Ethan crawl over and through the legs. This week I might also make a trip to the local educational supply store and pick up some of those foam obstacle course makings, to give Ethan a safer alternative to crawling onto the cold hearth for a snack.