Teacher Mom

One of my biggest challenges as a “teacher mom” (aka a mom who is a teacher) is trying not to be overbearing with my son at home. This has grown progressively tougher, since he’s older now and is truly capable of academic learning. He is finishing up his second year of full-time preschool (I initially only was going to do one year, but we had to make some childcare decisions when he was three) and will be in kindergarten at the same private facility in the fall (he will move to public school in first grade). His preschool has done a wonderful job of exposing him to the alphabet, sounds, numbers, and fine-motor activities (cutting, arts and crafts, etc…). I could not be happier with his educational experience so far and really think that his school has been hugely important in his academic and social development.

But still. He’s five now. I received Charlotte’s Web a month after my fifth birthday and read it to myself. In all fairness, I started kindergarten several months before my fifth birthday, but still. How are we ever going to have a mother-son Harry Potter Book Club if he doesn’t get going?

In all seriousness, I have been feeling conflicted about where to go from here. The mom in my wants to let the school handle things- he’s still in preschool, for Pete’s sake. The teacher in me wants to accelerate his progress, especially since he in really inquisitive and is able to sounds out CVC (consonant-vowel-consonant) words fairly well now. I also have to remember that my natural tendency is to go balls-to-the-wall when I take on a project and I don’t want to ruin what should be a magical experience (I can say that here and not feel ridiculous).

My approach so far has been pretty relaxed, but this summer I plan to integrate some sort of reading practice or activity most days. Here are some things that I’ll either do, or continue to do:
-       Institute a 100 book challenge; once we get to 100 books read aloud together he can go to the book store to pick out one or two new ones
-       Play our version of Bananagrams: We use the game to practice sounds and create words with the tiles
-       Use old magazines and junk mail to cut out letters and sort upper and lower case letters, as well as recognize different variations of the same letters (like a)
-       Work through the beginning reader books that we already have. I have gotten quite a few super cheap ones through Scholastic, so we need to start putting them to good use
-       Work on site words, but NOT with flash cards. I have really mixed feelings about how “drill and kill” some schools are on site words, and while I fully comprehend their importance, I don’t know if I love the strategy. We recently read a Knuffle Bunny book the other night and I made him in charge of reading every “the” we came across, spelling it out and looking at examples before we began. I am much more of a fan of practicing them in context.
-       Story creation- While learning the parts of a story don’t technically come until later, I want him to maintain an excitement for books and plots. He loves to make up stories, so recently he and I talked about him telling me his stories so I can write them down and he can illustrate them.

I am admittedly not as enthusiastic about number sense, which is something I need to think about. I also want to do some more small science projects with him, since we both had a really great time with our butterfly projects last year.

Clearly this yet another piece of evidence that teachers do not quit teaching when they leave school at the end of the day... 

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