Wednesday, February 9, 2011

When You Find What Works-- Run With It

Sorry for the delayed post, there has been some craziness the Crawford house, {shocking} I know ha! That just means two posts today woo hoo! I have so many projects going on right now I didn't know which to talk about, but I decided I would talk about one that I believe a lot of busy mommies can relate to, your childrens education. Isn't it hilarious and intruiging to see what traits your children inherited from which parent? I LOVE it. Sawyer absolutely got the Crawford Chatty gene (which is super fun... except when yout teacher gives you a cold prickly daily for talking to much). 
The Murphy's are not talkers in class, we were more "raise your hand and pump it up and down as if you are going to exploders". Now you probably should know my degree is in Early Childhood Development so I might be over the top in some of my child rearing tactics ha! But I am currently on a mission to make sure Sawyer is reading before Kindegarten. Crazy? Probably. Feasible? Totally. I am also really working on his penmanship. While it is absolutely normal for children his age to write some letters up side down or backwards (and the use of a mirror really works wonders) I knew Sawyer would get frustrated and bored unless he found what we were working on incredibly interesting. I thought I would share the two items that have become hits in our house and I think are pretty cool. 
Here in Timor we are lucky enough to have an amazing Community Liaison officer who really looks out for us families and finds every opportunity to make life here at post easier. One of the many things she does is provides Scholastic book orders for us every few months. This is fantastic because otherwise we would have no access to english books other than those we brought with us. Now don't get me wrong I usually flip tot he back and see which ones are a dollar that month :) but I wanted to get Sawyer a fun set for Christmas and I happened upon Thomas and Friends On Track with Phonics:

While Sawyer has somewhat grown out of his addiction to Thomas he still deep down inside loves them and this set has been AMAZING for us. Having been raised on a rather bizarre program in the Orange County CA school district called write to read, I really wanted Sawyer to have a good foundation to his reading and phonics really has been fantastic. Granted at first I was totally skeptical and thought he was just memorizing the little sentences, the other day in the car he pulled one out we hadn't read together yet and read the entire book out loud! I nearly drove us into the ocean I was so ecstatic. We still have a LONG way to go but if you have a toddler and you are working on reading I would highly recommend finding a phonics series on a topic they love. If you have a Thomas and Friends fan I cannot recommend this set enough and it can even be found HERE for half the price I paid from Scholastic (To bad I didn't find that out until this morning when I looked it up ha!)
Since our cuties will mainly live their lives abroad the hubby and I really try to make sure they have lots of American experiences and really keep that American identity. One area that our cuties will always be at a disadvantage at is video games. They don't play them, we don't play them, they have really hardly ever even seen them. This really hasn't been a conscious thing it just happened that way. So when my friend told me about how much her son loved his Leap Frog Scribble and Write I thought it might be a hit with Sawyer who has never really seen hang held games. 

He and Finn BOTH love it and what I like is they can take it in the car with them and practice writing letters, drawing shapes etc while we drive to and from school. I like that it isn't annoying sounding and 100% educational. Now to be honest I haven't seen a marked improvement in his writing BUT it has only been a week and our drive to school is only 5 minutes ha! Now Finn on the other hand...
He is going to be the hard one. He is the most happy go lucky little boy (he TOTALLY takes after his dad) He is not obsessed with anything and thus nothing is particularly valuable to him. It has been much more of a challenge disciplining him for this same reason. If you take something away, no big deal I'll play with something else. If you put him in time out, thats fine to he probably wanted some alone time. The other night while doing homework he turned to me and said "I'll do the rest 'momorrow uh'cause it's too tricky"... he had colored one grape. I am thinking he is a lot like me in the "will work for rewards" aspect and we may just have to run with that idea. I just wanted to share somethings we have been loving in our house (plus both items for under 35 bucks? Thats pretty good). I always love hearing tricks and things that are working with other peoples children. If nothing else it inspires me to shake things up and get creative with my approach. Now off to read to Finn before nap time!


  1. I just wanted to say that I love your blog. I think you are really talented and creative!

    And I also want to make a request, if I can. Can you please, please, please do a tutorial on that Anthropologie shrug you mentioned in November last year? I posted a comment a while ago on that post when I unexpectedly found your blog but I'm not sure if you read comments on older posts.

    Or if you know a place that sells a similar pattern online, that would be great, because I've been looking for months and can't find anything. Granted, english is not my first language so maybe there's a name for that shrug that I don't know about. Anyway, sorry to write so much, but I would really appreciate any help you can give me. Thanks in advance!

  2. pourpery,
    I just want to make sure I am on the right track. Was this shrug paired with the Anthro knock off hat? I actually am making a green one this weekend with some left over fabric from my green San Marino dress so I could show how to do that. It is a bit more simplified though but you can kick it up a notch :) I will see what I can do! Thanks!

  3. I loved leapfrog stuf when my kids were little. They had the leapster and it taught my boyo his multiplacation tables before he was in 1 st grade. Plus the things are almost indistructable!! Be sure and check out the leapfrog videos for your littler ones, they teach the letter sounds in a fun and interactive way.


  4. Yes, Kelly, I think so, it's this one:

    How wonderful that you were already planning on making one. I would love it if you could show me how to do it. I'll be looking forward to it! Thank you SO much! :)

  5. He's adorable. Love how that shirt makes his eyes pop!
    My little girl was reading before kindergarten. Which was great, but totally a double edged sword. She was so advanced that she was bored with the work, and got in trouble constantly for talking. They ended up sending her to 1st grade for reading and math, and back to kindergarten for social skills, the only aspect of school she is lacking in. Now she is in 2nd grade and still 1-2 grade levels ahead. I think when you start early, you give your kids a lot of learning momentum. Good luck to you and Sawyer!!

  6. He sounds like one smart kid! My daughter started kindergarten this year (she turned 5 in September). She was reading long before that, but I don't think it's because of anything I did. She just wants to learn. I hope that I can teach my almost-2-year-old son the same things she learned at such an early age. Anyway, I wanted to mention a couple of things that helped us with letters and letter sounds. She was always very curious and for her 2nd birthday, my sister-in-law made her some letters that spelled out her name to go on the wall in her room. She would always look at the letters and say them out loud. This became something she liked doing, and a couple of months later, she could spell her name all by herself, without looking at the letters. I also attribute to her learning her letter sounds. I probably let her play on there too much, but I didn't feel too bad because it was educational and obviously educating her.

    I'm going to have to check out those Thomas books. I'm sure my boy would love them. Thanks for the tip!

  7. There is another penmanship "game" that Sawyer and others may enjoy -- an iPad app called BETTER LETTERS. Beyond the usual stuff like tracing the letter in a color of your choice, it includes "handwriting stuff" for older learners too (lessons on technique, links to other resources, etc.) so that it can grow as the user grows. Search the iPad App store for the name BETTER LETTERS!

  8. My (our) 9 year old was reading well before kindergarten. Her penmanship was awful, but I was ok with that. She's now in 4th grade and reads at a 10th grade level. Her handwriting still isn't fabulous...but she's working on it! It is definitely do-able! And it also helps if they see YOU reading all the time, and writing lengthy things (like letters) now and then. They see that it can be enjoyable and have merit. :)

  9. I just wanted to throw my two cents in for reading; two websites that my children have really enjoyed and myself as well are and starfall is free but readingeggs isn't. I have enjoyed them both and must note that it was readingeggs that gave my son the confidence that he could read. (I knew he could, he just didn't think he could, lol.) Also, not much for reading skills but great for science and social studies and math is hope these help!!!!

  10. We just got Avery that same toy for Christmas this year..and she LOVES is the best toy hands down that i have seen for a long time!!! Can i just add that this is an awesome toy for children with special needs to!!!

  11. I had to laugh when I read your post because we are doing the exact same stuff with Clark right now, working on his reading and writing. Clark is a lot like me so I asked my mom how she taught me how to read because I think Clark is very similar to me in the way he learns. She told me I read Bibs, Mack, and Nicky. I was like "What?" She told me just to order them and try them with Clark and see how it goes. I love them and think how they have it set up is GENIUS. Clark LOVES it and I am already amazed at his progress and it has become our special time together. We also have a scribble and write that we got the boys for Christmas this year and they love it too!

  12. Your Finn and my Jennifer. She had amazing social skills, but I agonized over what it would take for something to really matter to her. And then it happened -- through no act of mine. My underachieving, indifferent student found her passion and then excelled from her junior year in high school through college and graduate school. She now shares her passion as a teacher. Did I tell you about my grey hair and frustration along the way? It was worth it, but I recommend patience - and a glass of wine.


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