Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Playing School

In an effort to get Chloe Jo talking more, we have started "playing school." Okay, really there is very little similarity between what we do and actual school, but whatev.

First of all, I just want to say that Chloe Jo is hard headed. She does things on her own time and refuses to do them sooner. She has always been this way and it seems like she will always be this way. It's just her little (okay, BIG) personality.

It doesn't bother me that much with most thing, but talking has been an issue. She just isn't saying as much as I think she should say at this age. Part of the problem is that I read several blogs about children who say all kinds of things, make animal noises, say their ABC's, numbers, etc. Chloe Jo does...oh...none of that really. Hopefully, one day she will realize that her refusal to talk makes it hard for me to know what she wants or what is wrong.

Although, she has done much better with talking this week. One morning she went to the big town next door with her Daddy and when she got home she said "I went with Daddy, Momma." I was so excited that she said a full sentence and that I understood her! Then this morning, she watched a video of her little cousin. Auntie Chelle told cousin Brianna to say "bye bye" to the camera and Chloe Jo said "bye bye, Brianna" to the video. Those are pretty big steps for her!

So, our "playing school" seems to be working...or she has decided she is just ready to start talking. Probably the latter. But, I really love the time we spend each day playing school and it's giving me a sense of where she is in her learning and what I want to do next. Here is a list of a few things that I am doing to help Chloe Jo learn.

1. Read, read, read. We've always read a ton of books and she loves it. We go to the library once a week and check out 5 to 8 books and every day, I read those to her. She also loves to read her own books. I've started asking her questions about each page and have learned that she does know what several animals are and several colors. She can always find Elmo even if he is in a sea of furry monsters.

2. I've started having her point instead of asking her to say things. I realized that asking her to say things is not working at all. She will do it when she is good and ready. So, instead, I have been asking her to point at things. This works much better for her. Plus, I have realized that she knows waaaaaaay more than I have been giving her credit for.

3. We sing. I sing to Chloe Jo all of the time. The ABC's. Numbers songs. Colors songs. Jesus Loves Me. The B-I-B-L-E. Sometimes I'll catch her "singing" when she is playing by herself and it always makes me smile. She said B-I-B-L-E in Bible class on Sunday morning and has said it a few times since then. I hope she will always love to sing.

4. I asked a friend who home schools for some ideas of things I can do with Chloe Jo to help her learn. She recommended a book, but after looking at several sites that sold the book, I decided it was just way too expensive ($95.00 up to $112.00 for just the book). The particular book chose a children's book for each week. Every day, you would read that book and do corresponding activities. I liked the idea of that, so I searched for a book similar and found "Treasured Time With Your Toddler."
Unfortunately, I am unimpressed so far and am thankful I bought this with my swagbucks. It lists around 5 books for each week and has the corresponding activities. The books are hard to find, but that's not a huge problem. There are plenty of other books that will go with each week's theme. The activities are where I'm not very happy with the book. There is an activity for 5 days of the week, but most weeks usually have 2 or 3 recipes. While, I love Chloe Jo to help me in the kitchen, I don't want to make cookies and sweets every week. The activities that are related to cooking are great, though. Collages. Peanut butter play-doh. Mobiles. We have enjoyed several of those kinds of activities.

5. We use flashcards. I have read several blogs and articles about flashcards and the reviews seem to be pretty mixed. Some people thing using flashcards when a child is this young ruins their childhood. You know, the school system will teach them all of the things they need to know. Well, I have to disagree. Chloe Jo loves these flashcards and I want her to be completely prepared for school when she goes. I don't want her to be the kid that the teacher feels sorry for because she doesn't know how to use a crayon. Of course, if she didn't love them as much as she does, I probably would find something else.
I have two sets of flashcards. One of them has numbers and we haven't started using them yet. The other one has these pictures on one side and letters on the other. Right now, we just use the side with the pictures. I lay out around 6 cards and ask her to find things on the flashcards. She loves this "game" and does really good with it!

6. To help learn shapes, I created these cards. Again, I just lay out a few and have her point to each shape. Her favorite shape is the star (which also happens to be her favorite word thanks to her Auntie Chelle). She also really loves the heart.
7. Last one. I really want her to learn her colors so we work on that the most. First, we love to look at the color book I made. We try to look at it a few times each week. I also cut out squares of different colors from scrapbooking paper. Again, I will lay out a few and ask her to point to the colors. This has helped her so much! Her favorite color is pink (no way!), but she also really likes yellow and orange.
Hopefully, playing school will help Chloe Jo learn a few things and help make the transition to actual school a little easier in a few years. If you have any suggestions of other things I can do with her, please feel free to leave a comment. I would love to have some more ideas!


Janet said...

Good Luck! I go back and forth with these types of things myself. Having two I'm always comparing them. I know I shouldn't but I can't help it! One of my girls talks non-stop and the other barely says a word. So I understand your concern. One thing that we just bought and is working well for us is the refrigerator magnet, alphabet set. They are different colors so they are learning letters and colors at the same time. It's always a challenge tat the end of the day to find all 26 letters but they love them! I think CJ is a very intelligent little girl and very advanced! She's potty trained and in a toddler bed already....those are two huge things!!! Oh and super adorable too! :-)

Anna said...

What part of South Carolina does your husband preach in? We live in the upstate!

Chelley N said...

I think you need to RELAX! Chloe is smart and will talk when she's ready. We know she knows how... she said all kinds of sentences for me. Doing themed activities that go along with books is a great idea. There are all kinds of websites that have thematic learning ideas.

Linda said...


I think at this age, you need not be so concerned with teaching specific, flashcards and stuff. Kids are natural learners. Their little brains are so good at picking up new things and making sense of the world. At this age, focus on experiences, TALK TALK TALK to her about EVERYTHING, and she will talk back. At the playgroud, "let's go UP the STAIRS and DOWN the SLIDE. Do you want to SWING? Mama pick you UP. Go IN the swing." At the grocery store, "That is an EGGPLANT. Eggplants are purple and SMOOTH and SHINY. Press it. Is it HARD or SOFT? They are NEXT to the CARROTS. What COLOR are the carrots?" You get the idea. Talk to her about everything. Let her help with cooking and describe what you are doing. Messes can always be cleaned up. You child's learning is worth a little mess in the kitchen, right? Samantha is 15 months now, and she has about 100 words!

Lisa said...

Thanks for the feedback everyone!

Janet, comparing her to other children her age is my biggest problem!

Linda, I do talk to her all of the time and she still doesn't talk much. We use the flashcards because she loves it! If she didn't like it, we wouldn't use them.