An Open Letter to my Number One Breastfeeding Supporter

A Mom for 7 years and 6 months.

An Intentional, Extended Breastfeeding Mom for a total of 6 years, 6 months…and counting.

In my 7 years of being a Mom, I have nursed 2 babies, each with different breastfeeding stories of triumphs and obstacles to tell.  One was mixed fed until 2 years and 9 months while the other IS STILL breastfeeding for 3 years and 9 months now.  So in those 7 years, breastfeeding has been a dominant part of my daily motherhood journey.

Manny and April 4 with logo

Breastfeeding Ashley for 3 years and 9 months…and counting.

No one will argue with me when I say that breastfeeding is a challenging quest for a mom.  Most especially, for a recuperating Mom who has just given birth.  It entails a lot of hard work, patience, determination, pain and tears, and sacrifice.  But the rewards to reap are boundless.  And these wonderful benefits along with the support of everyone surrounding a breastfeeding mom play as big motivators, encouraging her to embrace it no matter how hard the journey would be.  After all, it is innate in every Mother to do everything for the sake and goodness of her baby.

On this Breastfeeding month and as I celebrate my 6 years of nursing, I would like to honor and say my utmost thanks to my Number One Breastfeeding Supporter.  I credit half of my breastfeeding triumph to this one amazing man….my Husband, Paul.  The Father of my two nurslings.  The loving and doting Daddy Paul to Asher and Ashley.

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To My Number One Breastfeeding Supporter,

I’ve always been expressive how thankful I am that you’re a wonderful husband and father to our kids.  But this time, let me be specific in thanking you for how you’ve been instrumental in making this long breastfeeding journey a successful one.

1. Thank you for the trust.
I didn’t hear even a slight hint of qualm or uneasiness when I committed myself to breastfeed our children.  You also embraced my commitment.  You gave your 100% trust knowing that I’m doing my best and these are all for the greater good of our kids.

2. Thank you for having a pair of listening ears and an open mind.
For the times I tirelessly share with you my new learning about breastfeeding; its benefits, techniques, its wonders — you listen with all ears.  You may not have an input but absorbing them quietly means a lot to me.  Thank you for believing with me that breast milk does not only benefit our babies but my health as well.

Manny and April 2

Photo by Manny and April Photography

3. Thank you for the little efforts so I can nurse comfortably.
Those quick, soothing back massage while nursing our kids when they were still newborns, you just don’t know how relaxing and relieving they felt.  Thank you for getting me a glass of water to satisfy my thirst, or handing me the things I couldn’t reach just because they refuse to unlatch.

4. Thank you for the support in shopping breastfeeding “nice-to-haves” stuff for me.
Thank you for coming with me as I shop for nursing tops and dresses in Mommy Bazaars.  You didn’t question nor complained and you just gladly paid for them because you know that these will make me and the baby comfortable while nursing.  Breast pumps, breast pads, lactation cookies, breastfeeding books– thank you for shopping all these for me.  These are just whims.  They are not really necessities, but you spoiled me.  Maybe at the top of your head, you’d prefer paying for these rather than spending on costly formula milk month after month, or on hospital bills.

5.  Thank you for your selflessness, sacrifice and understanding.
For those times when I seem to nurse unceasingly all night long, thanks for being selfless and understanding that I don’t mean to deprive you your wife.  Thank you for being patient. :)

The Perfect Grey

Photo by The Perfect Grey

6. Thank you for not giving up when we encounter nursing obstacles.
Thank you for letting me share my worries with you whenever we encounter difficulties.  You always boosted my morale.  You never convinced me to give up breastfeeding and easily give in to formula feeding.  When I struggled in expressing milk at work and I decided to give up my office job so I can focus on exclusively breastfeeding Asher, you confidently gave your consent without second thoughts.  When Ashley’s weight gain plateaued before she turned 1 year old, you never doubted my milk and my efforts.  You knew my worries and you didn’t say anything that will make me worry more.  Instead, you always made me optimistic.

7. Thank you for believing in the benefits of extended breastfeeding.
When we had to forced wean Asher at 2 yrs and 9 months (due to my frequent hospitalizations and severe illness), you helped me in explaining to him that he already needs to stop.  Thank you for being so gentle to him.  I was so thankful and relieved that he welcomed the change without any drama.  It was comforting to know that he was ready to wean all along.  Between the two of us, it was me who wasn’t ready yet.  It was me who was tormented and had a heavy heart with the abrupt weaning.

As with Ashley who still nurses until now that she’s almost 4 years old, thank you for respecting her decision to breastfeed for as long as she wants.  Sometimes, we try to bring up the weaning topic to her but I admire how you just rest your case and accept the fact that seemingly, no weaning will happen any time soon from this preschooler.  I may sometimes say that I’m getting discomforts, but no, Dad…deep inside, I know, I am not ready to wean her.

Asher breastfeeding logo black and white

3-month-old Asher gazing lovingly at me while nursing

8. Thank you for agreeing with me that Toddler and Growing Up Milk aren’t necessary for toddlers and preschoolers.
We already made the mistake of religiously giving Growing Up Milk to Asher when he was a toddler.   Thank you for agreeing with me not to repeat the same mistake with Ashley.  We now know that they’re just laden with sugar that could only harm their appetite, could cause diabetes, obesity, constipation, may develop allergies, and teeth cavities.  After all, calcium can be obtained from other healthy food sources, right?

9. Thank you for silently listening how I despise formula milk advertisements.
Every time a TV advertisement of formula milk is shown, you silently listen to my rants of how these formula milk companies is tricking Moms therefore undermining breastfeeding in the process.  I sometimes get carried along and further babble how they mislead moms to believing that “While breast is best, formula milk is the next best“.  This is so wrong because formula milk has its place in the great scheme of things and it is just an inferior food. Anything inferior can not and will never be considered as “best” or even “second best” as how they want to depict their product through their marketing material.  Though silent, thank you for being at my side. Always.

CamZar 5

Photo by CamZar Photography

10. Thank you for appreciating my efforts.
Every time you tell stories about a breastfeeding colleague, I can sense in your voice the pride that your wife is a breastfeeding mom as well.  I can sense how you highly regard breastfeeding moms.  For that gesture, thanks for the affirmation and appreciation.

Thank you for making this challenging journey less difficult.

Please know that your all-out support empowers me to keep going in this wonderful journey.

And for that, I’d forever be immensely grateful.

Love,
Your Zealous Breastfeeding Wife Mai

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Calling all fellow breastfeeding Moms!

Let’s all troop to 500 Shaw Centrum at Shaw Boulevard, Mandaluyong City on August 1, 2015 and join this year’s Hakab Na 2015. Together, let’s make history as we take part on the exciting Big Latch On activity.  For more information, please refer to the poster below or visit the website www.hakabna.com.

Hakab Na! 2015

 

 

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Letter of the Week Homeschooling: Letter Ss

Our Ss Week is our busiest and most interesting week so far.  We had so much activities and there were so many interesting topics and stuff in the house that we were able to integrate with our lessons.  So let’s get the ball start rolling, shall we?

* LANGUAGE ARTS

Theme Words

spider, shoes, sun, store/shop, star

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Read Aloud

These are the books that I included in our Ss Sensory box.  Sleeping Beauty is Ashley’s favorite Disney princess but surprisingly, it’s the picture book about Spiders that we read countless times during the week.  She learned that spiders have 8 eyes and 8 legs, that spiders vary in colors, and some are dangerous but some are also helpful so most of the spiders aren’t really terrifying.

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Ss Books

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Poetry and Rhyme / Science (a Craft Activity)

S is for sun.

Inspired by the Prayer When The Sun is Shining from Hello God! 1 (Children’s Prayers for All Occasions) by Grace D. Chong, we made an artwork that featured hand printing, coloring and drawing activities.  At first, she was icky and ticklish with the paint but when she recognize that she’s “painting” a sun, she enjoyed the hand stamping activity later on.

Ag Ah

Ai Aj

* MUSIC

These songs are two of Ashley’s favorite action songs and among the first ones that she was able to learn and sing by heart.

S is for spider.

S is for star.

* SENSORY BIN

Our Ss sensory bin is so full! The little one was so ecstatic to find a boxful of stuff starting with ssssss…ssssss…ssss.  Every time she picked an item from the sensory box, she identified it with “Ssssss” first. Example, Ss is for ssssss…tar, sssss…stove, sssss….square to emphasize the Ss sound at the beginning.

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* MATH (also Sensory and Fine Motor Activities)

S is for straw.

For our Math lesson, we exercised her counting and 1 to 10 number recognition skills by integrating these number wooden blocks with a sensory activity.  First, I let her cut the drinking straws into pieces then to exercise and strengthen those little fingers (a fine motor activity).  We filled the bin with just enough to come up with a thick layer.  I initially wanted to use colored straws but they were unavailable.  Using multi-colored straws could have been a great color recognition exercise as well aside from it being more stimulating and inviting to the eyes.  She randomly picked a block and tried to count and identify the number.

AdAe

The little one later discovered that she can skewer these blocks using short and long straws (another fine motor activity).  She pretended later on to grill a barbecue.

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She also made a tower out of the blocks and sorted/paired those having the same colors.  This activity has so many possibilities and the best thing about it, it was she who discovered the stimulating activities she could do.

* SCIENCE

1. S is for star.

We made a star wand using the following materials: star-shaped cardboard or a specialty paper with a high gsm, star stickers, glittery ribbon, popsicle stick and 3/8″ printed grosgrain ribbons.  She loves waving the star wand and shouts “Bibbidi bobbidi boo” (from Cinderella) with so much delight.

We intended to do star gazing so we could discuss further about the stars at night but alas, the nights were cloudy so stars weren’t visible.

Star Wand

2. S is for spider.

This activity was a hit to the little girl. After reading aloud the The Very Busy Spider by Eric Carle, we made our own version of a busy spider that has just completed its web.  First, she painted the paper plate with yellow. She made a black spider using her hand prints.  After sticking the googly eyes, she came up with a web through twine lacing.

Spider 1 Spider 2

* SOCIAL STUDIES

S is for store/shop.

We had a gentle way of learning about the importance of stores or shops in the community and the concept of barter or exchange through this very exciting pretend play of “Tinda-tindahan“.  For this purpose, we set up her very own bookstore!   We took turns in being the seller and the buyer.  This activity took me back to my childhood days when I was so fond of playing such, even using play money to complete the concept of exchange.

Store Store 2

We also discussed the different stores and shops we can find in our community.  I printed out cliparts from the web and prepared this line tracing activity.

Store 3

* ALPHABET CRAFT

S is for star.

We simulated the night sky using black art paper and yellow star stickers for this activity.

Star Craft

* CHARACTER LESSON

S is for sharing.

We reminded ourselves the importance of Sharing through this coloring activity. Thanks to twistynoodle.com for the free We Share Coloring Page template.  This template is awesome because you can customize the caption.  Thus, I specifically used the caption “I share my toys with Kuya!” so she will be reminded about the goodness of sharing toys and food with her Kuya.

We also memorized The Sharing Song (sang to the tune of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star) from tinygrads.com.  This song has become an instant reminder whenever they forget to share.

Sharing

* FINE MOTOR and SENSORY ACTIVITIES

1.) S is for shoes (lacing).  Shoe-tying requires precise fine motor control.  She’s still far from mastering this skill  at 3.8 yo but it’s never too early to orient her and start practicing.  I remember my son achieving this milestone at the age of 5 with the use of this shoe-tying practice board.  Hope this practice board will also help her in “unlocking” this skill.

Shoes

2.) S is for snow.

Inspired by two of our Ss books: The Snowy Day, and Katy and the Big Snow, we came up with our DIY snow.  Thanks to Pinterest, I found a very easy recipe using just baking soda and water.  I didn’t follow any specific proportions, I just made a mixture with consistency just enough to feel and look like as snow.  I froze the mixture for about 20 minutes and in an instant, the little girl had a sensory snow play.  She even made her very own Olaf!

Snow3

Snow2 Snow 1

*TRACING and COLORING ACTIVITIES

Her tracing and coloring worksheets are from the following resources:

Alphabet Picture Tracing Printables from Totschooling.

Find the Alphabet Worksheets from The Measured Mom.

Tracing Letters Worksheets from Action Alphabet.

Tracing 1 Tracing 2 Tracing 3 Tracing 4

*FOOD

S is for yummy Sopas!

There’s no better way to wrap our busy Ss Week up other than eating a yummy, hot Sopas.  It has been raining the past few days so a hot soup dish was certainly comforting.  It’s a chicken noodle soup dish cooked by simmering various ingredients like chicken, elbow macaroni, onion, butter, carrot, and cabbage.

Sopas

 

Two letters down..4 letters and  4 weeks to go before we’re done spelling Ashley’s name!

 

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Letter of the Week Homeschooling: Letter Aa

We commenced our Letter of the Week Homeschooling last week with the introduction of the alphabet. We kicked off this week our letter per week lessons with the first letter of Ashley’s name: the Letter Aa. I initially thought of covering the alphabet chronologically. But I learned from fellow homeschooling moms that introducing the letters of the child’s name first will make it more interesting and the familiarization easier. After all, the first words that the child will be writing and spelling more often later on will be his or her name. I also found a Montessori research material that presents the ideal order of introducing letter sounds/phonetics to preschoolers. It starts with the letters that are most commonly used. As the child progresses, he or she can make many words with the letters that were just learned.

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Our Aa Week activities and Lessons

* LANGUAGE ARTS

Theme Words

For each letter, we’ll be coming up with five Theme Words posted in our ABC Chart.  These are words written on flash cards and intended for everyday reading.  Most of the time, the activities that I plan for the week are related to or are based the theme words.  For this week, our theme words are:

animal, ant, alligator, apple, Astronaut

Aa

The Aa Theme Words

Read Aloud

Reading books together are one of our favorite bonding activities.  There was never an instance that she refused every time I invite her for a story time.  Often, she’s even the one who initiates and requests, “Mommy, read tayo please!”  For our Aa Week, we read mostly her books about animals.  We don’t have a specific reading hour or schedule but most of the time, Ashley wants to read before nap and bed times.

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Our Aa Week Books

* MUSIC

A is for ants.

Ashley quickly learned the song “The Ants Go Marching”.  Her favorite lines from the song are “Hurrah! Hurrah” and “Boom Boom Boom Boom!”.

* SENSORY BIN

A is for apple, aquamarine, Aurora, Ariel, Anna, ant (inside the container), alligator

I came up with a Sensory Bin that contains objects starting with Letter Aa.  The little girl identifies all the items inside the box as she gets them one by one.  Here are the items in our bin.

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Our Aa Sensory Bin

Ad

Items that start with Letter Aa

* MATH

A is for alligator.

Ae

Alligator Clothespins

We made alligators from wooden clothespins.  Clothespins are great tools for fine motor skills development.  The materials became an instant matching game after coming up with a number card and placing dots on the back of the alligators.  Ashley enjoyed counting the dots, identifying the numbers and having the alligator “bite” the number.

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Number Card and the Wooden Alligator Clothespins

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Fine Motor and Counting Exercises

* SCIENCE (and LIFE SKILLS)

A is for aquarium.

Ah

The Original Belle and Oggy

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The second batch of fishes

Asher and Ashley were so ecstatic when I told them that we’ll set up an aquarium.  We went to the pet store and they personally chose the fishes they want to take home.  They chose 2 fancy gold fishes with huge belly bumps.  I tried to research about their specific species of gold fish and the description that comes closest is that of the Fantail Goldfish.  Unfortunately, they both didn’t make it and died the next day much to Ashley’s dismay.  She wailed upon seeing  Belle and Oggy floating and lifeless.  For a moment she was inconsolable and was only pacified when I said that it’s not her fault that her fish probably got sick (the fishes exhibited swim bladder conditions the night before).  Poor little girl.  She got easily attached to the fish.  Their Dad promised that he’ll get them new fishes from the pet shop the next day. They got 5 new fishes but after 24 hours, just like the first 2 fishes, the fishes died one by one except for Ashley’s fish which she named Belle again.  Belle is the last fish standing…swimming.  Ashley looks forward to feeding her pet fish every morning.  She would say “Belle, yum yum yum..eat ka marami ha!”  So aside from Science, Ashley is learning a new life skill: caring for a pet.

* SOCIAL STUDIES

is for Astronaut.

Aj

Am Al

AkAn

I showed Ashley our pictures taken at the Hong Kong Space Museum where she saw and even had a picture with an unmanned Astronaut.  She vividly remembered the things she saw since this advance field trip took place just 3 months ago.  She learned what does an Astronaut do and where they go, why does their suit look like that, how does a rocket control capsule look like inside and she learned about Ham and Sam, the first astronauts to test the first manned spaceflights.

A is for Pambansang Awit ng Pilipinas

Ay Az

Az1

Our Aa week coincided with the celebration of the Philippines Independence Day.  We had a flag making activity on Thursday and a flag ceremony after. She identified the shapes and colors of the flag.  She counted the stars and the rays of the sun.  We sang the Lupang Hinirang (National Anthem of the Philippines).  She also learned the proper gesture of placing the right hand on the left chest while singing the anthem.  We were also able to watch some of the featured Philippine matches at the ongoing Southeast Asian Games.  When the athletes’ profiles or the medal standings are flashed, she correctly identified the Philippine flag.

We went on a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Manaoag in Pangasinan on June 12.  Our Independence Day lessons continued while we were on a long road trip.  She screams “Philippine Flag!” every time she sees one at the Expressway Toll Gates.

Bb Ba

*BIBLE STORY and CHARACTER LESSON

Bible Story: Noah’s Ark

A is for ark and animals.

As

I read to Ashley the story of Noah’s Ark.  She learned about the importance of obedience, faith and trust in God.  We just didn’t have the extra time but I was planning to come up with a Noah’s ark craft activity. My idea was to create a mock up ark made of cardboard and my kids’ toy animals and reenact the part when Noah called in his family and the animals to the ark as they anticipate the coming of the storm and flood.

Character Lesson: Attentiveness

At

Rainy season is near so we’re seeing ants crawling on our walls as they busily store their food.  It’s a perfect timing that we’re discussing about them as their attentiveness to one another is highlighted.  Ashley learned that if one or few ants are not attentive, the line will be lost and the ants might not find their way back home.  In the same way that she must always be attentive whenever Mommy and Daddy gives out instructions and lessons.

* CRAFT ACTIVITY

A is for alligator.

AP

Aq Ar

We used a green construction paper to make our Alligator.  Ashley cut the paper into pieces (fine motor skill exercise) and glued to the letter A cutout one by one.  We downloaded the Alligator template from Miss Maren’s Monkeys.

*TRACING and COLORING ACTIVITIES

Av Au

Tracing and Coloring are also among the weekly activities that we had.  But Ashley usually can’t stand doing worksheets for a long time so I make sure to give her just short and easy ones.  The free coloring and tracing worksheets we use are from The Measured Mom and Action Alphabet.

* FOOD

A is for Adobo and apple.

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One of Ashley’s favorite fruits: Aa is for Apple

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One of my kids’ favorite viands: Aa is for Adobo

These two are Ashley’s favorites. So I made sure to include them in our menu for the week.  Every time she takes a bite, she says “A-a-a-a as in apple!” or “A-a-a-adobo!”

There goes our exciting and learning-filled Aa Week.  We’re so ready for our Ss Week next week!

 

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A Throwback Letter for Asher

Unlike Ashley, Asher went through early schooling the traditional way.  He was only 3.3 yrs old when he entered preschool as a Nursery student.  If I have only known about the advantages of delaying formal schooling during his time, I would have homeschooled him, too, until he was ready and age-appropriate for formal kindergarten academic training.  Not that I have regrets as Asher had a blast in his 3 years of schooling in a brick and mortar school but I would love to have spent more time with him and to have been his first teacher.

Asher 1

Asher on his First Day in Nursery – June 27, 2011

He is 7.3 years old now and just started his first day as a Second Grader today.  Oh boy!  My unico hijo is growing up way too fast. Reading this letter that I blogged 4 years ago made me feel so sentimental and at the same time proud how he’s growing up as a fine young man today.

The 2nd Grader Asher - June 15, 2015

The 2nd Grader Asher – June 15, 2015

So let’s go down the memory lane and perhaps, shed a tear with me as I recall how the preggy mom that I was battled separation anxiety.

Blogged on July 7, 2011.

Title: Separation Anxiety

Dearest Asher,

The day that I’m dreading has finally come.  Today is the first time that I didn’t accompany you to school.  You were hesitant at first when Mommy told you that I couldn’t go with you anymore.  But after a while and seeing that I wasn’t dressed up while I prepped you this morning, you were okay with the idea and just said “opo” when I reminded you to behave in school (no running! so Teacher will give you a star), participate well in the class, share toys with your classmates, wait for Kuya Alex inside the classroom when class is over and just enjoy school.

Your school service came and you ran outside ahead of us as you would always do every morning.  By this time, I was already battling my emotions and fighting back my tears.  I told Mang Kiko (the driver) all the “bilins” I’ve prepared.  You were inside the school service and you’re looking at me.  This is the most hurtful moment this morning, my son.  You didn’t cry but looking at your face, I know you’re sad, too, that you’re leaving without Mommy sitting by your side.  I tried to smile while I waved and bid you goodbye the moment the school service started moving.  My tears started to well up so I turned around while I shot a last glance of you.  You were still looking at me and Yayie, unmoving.  I went inside the house and that’s when I burst into tears.

I really can’t believe that you’re big na, my son.  I know how much you want me to stay with you in school.  Believe me, anak, I also would just want to be beside you all the time.  But that’s not possible.  Part of your growing up means you have to start spreading your wings and learn how to fly…to stand on your own…to be independent.  Life is like that, son.  Our absence does not mean we love you less.  We love you so much that’s why we’re letting you learn, enjoy and experience life.

Just like you, we also must learn how to let you grow.    We can’t stop the time and “baby” you forever.  Believe me, it’s hard for me to see you go alone a while ago but I also need to learn..and grow, too, anak.  By the way, thank you for making it easier for me somehow.  It would have been doubly hard for me if you cried while leaving.

As I’m starting this new paragraph, I’m feeling better now.  In just a few minutes, you’ll be coming home and we’ll be together again.  I’m so missing you very much, anak!  I’m sorry if I’m so sentimental now and can’t help to recall your newborn days when you were still so small and delicate.  I wholeheartedly gave up working in the corporate world to take care of you full time.  I’ve seen you first smile, babble, eat, crawl, walk, run and all of your other monumental firsts.  Now, you’re preschooling, eating, dressing up by yourself, brushing your teeth atop a two step stool, even bathing on your own.   I’m beyond happy to witness all of that.  For 3 years that I’ve been with you and see you grow each and every second of the day, this day is really painful yet I’m proud for both of us.

Tomorrow will be another painful day..but I just know that we’ll both be better…until we’re fully okay.  Sooner or later, I might be crying again out of anxiety not because of separation but you might be shooing away Mommy because you’re “binata” na.  Hayyyy!  I really can’t believe you’re big na, Kuya!  We love you so much…up to the moon…and back.

Xoxo,
Mommy

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PS: On another note, how I wish I continued to blog these precious mommy moments and thoughts and didn’t experience blogging burnout for more than a year.  Ang sarap lang balik-balikan eh!  Here’s to more inspiration and drive to continue blogging in this 7 year old blog of mine.

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Letter of the Week Homeschooling: Intro Week

Oh hello there, June!

Ashley and I officially began our homeschooling journey this week.  We’ve been homeschooling for as long as I can remember (playing, dancing, singing, and reading together) but I’m more intentional now in preparation for her K1 level education next year or straight to Kindergarten level in 2 years depending on the final birthday cut-off that the DepEd will impose in line with the new K-12 education program.  By more intentional, I mean being more focused, particular and consistent as we prepare Ashley for her formal academic training by the age of 4 1/2.

After countless research about “informal homeschooling”, I opted to take the Letter of the Week Curriculum as my primary guide in teaching my preschooler.  This program provides recommendations of topics and activities in a particular subject that is based on the Letter of the Week.  What I like best about this free online curriculum is that it’s an easy, 38-week program that can be tailored to the preschooler’s needs.  As such, we’ll also be infusing the Before Five in a Row Curriculum since half of the books in the list are in our book collection.  I’ll also be customizing some areas specifically the Math, Science, Bible & Character Education subjects.  I’ll also include some Montessori methods in my way of teaching.   Going through the overview of the weekly lesson plans, I couldn’t help but get excited because the lessons and activities do not feel “lessons” at all.  We’ll just be “playing” all year long! After all, “learning through play” is what informal homeschooling exactly is all about.  What makes me personally more thrilled is that my child will learn all of these first from no one else but me!

The Alphabet Intro Week

According to the curriculum, the Intro Week is the Orientation Week.  This is the time to introduce the alphabet and determine if the child is ready to start or gauge one’s familiarity for a more fun and better lesson planning ahead.

I also took this time to start making our weekly calendar of lessons and activities.  I made a weekly calendar template where I can jot down the day-to-day activities and subjects we’ll tackle so it’ll be easier for me to plan ahead.  I’m using a pencil for my weekly notes so it’ll just be easy to add, remove or change if there’s an adjustment to be made.  I think a Homeschooling Planner is necessary for an OC, busy and sometimes (or should I say, most of the time), absent-minded Mom like me for an organized and smooth-sailing homeschooling journey.

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Our Lesson Plan, books and materials for our Intro Week

To begin with, we made use of our magnetic letter alphabet on our fridge door and took note of the letters that Ashley is already familiar with.  This is for me to know and monitor her progress as we go along.  The 14 out of 26 letters she can identify well are: A, B, C, D, E, F, L, O, P, Q, R, S, X, and Y.

Books about the Alphabet

Reading aloud or story telling is one of the core activities of this Curriculum.  Reading is the best way to help one become an effective learner.  So for a beginning reader, at least 20 minutes of reading time with someone must be spent.

We don’t follow a strict time schedule for reading.  We read at any random time of the day although from experience, Ashley is in her high mood to read after her bath time in the morning, and before sleeping at bedtime.  There are times when Ashley asserts the book she wants to read but most of the time, she gladly welcomes my book recommendation for the day.  Here are the books we read for our Intro Week.

1. Little Folks’ ABC

2. Brainy Baby ABC’s

3. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

4. Harold’s ABC

5. Dr. Seuss’s ABC

6. Paddington’s ABC

ABC books

Our personal favorite among these books is Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault.  We love the colorful pages and the rhyming and easy to memorize lines.  Personally, this is the best intro book for someone learning the ABC as it does not concentrate on presenting not just the uppercase letters but the lowercase letters as well.  Expert educators say that uppercase and lowercase letters must be taught at the same time to beginners since lowercase letters are what will be mostly read in all reading materials.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom inspired ABC Craft Book

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom inspired ABC Craft Book

Our ABC Craft Book for our Letter of the Week craft activities will be compiled in this scrapbook, the cover of which is inspired by Chicka Chicka Boom Boom.  I initially wanted to use art paper for the letter cutouts on the cover but opted to use felt stickers instead so it can also serve as Tactile Letters. This is the sensorial material closest to Montessori’s Sandpaper Letters that we can come up with. Ashley wrote her name at the bottom (with my guidance) so we can have something to look back once we’re done and see how her writing and letter familiarization have progressed.

The ABC Chart 

* Name Familiarization and Coloring Activity

Since we don’t have a blackboard or a whiteboard yet that we can use for our visuals, we’ve come up with our own ABC Chart which we’ll complete (the letters) as we go along.  For the Intro Week, I printed Ashley’s name using a chunky, hollow font (ColorFont) and she colored them each day.

ABC Chart

 

Pencil Grips

Image credits: brisbanekids.com.au

I observed that Ashley holds her pencil or crayon the Tripod Grip way which is the recommended way by many Occupational Therapists and Educators as it helps the child have good control of the writing material and allows greater comfort.  From what I have observed, Ashley didn’t go through the other early grip ways so it looks like Ashley has a remarkable fine motor development foundation.

The ABC Sensory Bin

Sensory plays have a vital role in a child’s early development.  They learn best when they engage in activities that stimulate senses: touch, smell, sight, taste, sound, balance, and the sense of where each body part is in relation to the rest.  For our sensorial activity, Ashley used scissors to cut my old credit card bills.  I love this activity because it’s like shooting 3 birds with 1 stone.  It’s a fine motor development activity (cutting), preparation for the letters sensory bin, and woohoo! I got a personal paper shredder.

Sensory Bin 1

We filled the box with shredded paper and I hid the magnetic letters underneath the pile.  Ashley enjoyed taking out the letters one by one and she gamely identified them.

Sensory Bin 4
Sensory Bin 3 Sensory Bin 2

Fish-the-Letter Game

We were once hooked with the Loom Band craze before so with our unused bands, I crafted letter alphas to spell Ashley’s name by following the step-by-step Youtube tutorials of Made by Mommy.  Using a string attached to the loom band hook, Ashley had an instant fun fishing game with a twist! She spent about 15 minutes concentrating and fishing in this game.

Fishing Game 1   Fishing Game 2
The ABC Bingo Game

Bingo 2 Bingo 1

This is the activity that Ashley enjoyed the most.  Even her Kuya joined us and requested that I make more similar fun games.  I printed the Bingo Template, and made use of our magnetic letters that my kids enthusiastically draw from the basket.  Ashley was tasked to identify each drawn letter.  Every time a player wins and shouts BINGO, we happily sang the Nursery Rhyme B-I-N-G-O.

 

Ashley absolutely had a blast in our first week.  At the end of our Intro Week activities, I asked Ashley to identify the letters one by one and to my surprise, her letter recognition skill dramatically improved.  She can now identify with conviction 21 out of the 26 letters.  So that’s learning 7 new letters in just one week of reading and play-based letter recognition activities!  This accomplishment certainly inspires me and keeps me spirited as I prepare for our first letter week: letter A.

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The Comeback

I'm Back

After almost fifteen months of hiatus, finally, this blog has come back to life. Err..the online world. Just finished dusting this nook, purged a lot of links and categories, and gave it a new simple look.  It even has a new title and tagline!  There’s still a lot to clean up but I think what I have now will do.  So much ideas are brewing and I’m thrilled to journal these new Mommy adventures I’m enjoying right now.  Can’t wait to write down type my thoughts and get my blogging groove back!

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Piano Lessons

My daughter’s at the perfect age to begin exposing her in the musical world. She dances every time she hears music. Give her an improvised drum or a xylophone toy, she will happily bang it and is able to produce a beat. Piano may also be a good instrument to introduce. Speaking of pianos, I still recall that we used to have this little battery-operated Casio piano when we were still kids. It was my sister who taught me how to play piano chords and among the first song I learned to play was The Sound of Music Theme Song Do-Re-Mi. I didn’t get to further enhance this and I wish I should have taken lessons and learn piano chords when I was in Grade School.

At any rate, I discovered that there’s a website offering piano lessons for beginners and for busy adults. Perhaps the time has come to get my kids their musical instrument similar to my first piano from musicians friend and start nurturing their inclination to music.

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Music Lover Ashley

Ashley absolutely loves music the way her Kuya does.  Whenever she hears upbeat and fast songs, she moves her head and sways her body while waving her hand endlessly to the beat.  Or she moves gracefully side to side.  That’s her way of dancing.   Her favorite dance songs at the moment are mostly Hi-5 songs and What Does the Fox Say.  Well, basically, these are the songs that she frequently hears from her Kuya.  In fact, I posted a video of her on my Facebook where she “danced” to Hi-5’s Amazing song.   I’ll see if I can upload it here one of these days.  I hope she continues to be interested and grows up loving Music.  I wouldn’t mind buying her instruments and other stuff like Bose headphones just to nurture for this fun interest.

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