Thursday, July 31, 2008

Brachiation Ladder is Up!

Hunter's glad to be back brachiating again. I had been working on it up until just a couple days before we left, and I realized that I never posted a blog about it or took pictures of it.

It's still not completely finished. The braces aren't cut so it's not as sturdy as it will be. It doesn't have all the holes drilled in it because my drill bit wore out (Argh. Long story.) It needs some adjustments so that the height can be more easily adjusted. But all in all, it's usable. And more importantly, we've been using it.

It is a bit short, just eight feet long (the suitable length to fit over a mattress). Since my room is not very big this works nicely. It's positioned over my bed for a soft landing should he fall. The height is set so it's just high enough for him to be able to do it independently on his tippy toes.

But, yes, he is loving it, and wanting to do it all the time. He has not quite figured out the rhythm yet, but we will get there very soon.

To read more about the importance and benefits of this simple tool, read our post from a few weeks ago.

"For they shall hear of thy great name, and of thy strong hand, and of thy stretched out arm... that all people of the earth may know thy name, to fear thee, as do thy people Israel..."
1 Kings 8:42-43

Hunter is 3 years, 4 months old

IAHP Free E-Newsletter

I just checked my yahoo teach-your-baby-to-read group messages and found a link to the IAHP's new free e-newsletter. I'm really excited about it, I can't wait to get the first one. Here's the link if you want to sign up:

"...I will publish the name of the LORD: ascribe ye greatness unto our God. He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he."
Deuteronomy 32:3-4

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

First Day Down South

Today was our first day of our two-week vacation. It was good to see everybody and Hunter warmed up quickly and was glad to be back.

We visited back in January for a week and a half and now get to spend some time down here while it's warm.

Hunter got to play with the boys and Rachel, say hi to the animals, and pick some vegetables from their garden.

Hunter really enjoyed this. He carefully packed a whole bag of cayenne peppers and didn't want to stop to get a new bag when his was full.

"Making request, if by any means now at length I might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to come unto you. For I long to see you ... that I may be comforted together with you by the mutual faith both of you and me."
Romans 1:10-13

Hunter is 3 years, 4 months old

Hunter's First Plane Ride

Hunter was very excited about his first plane ride and "getting to fly in the air like the birds".

Our vacation to the south began today at 4:30 Am to get to the airport with enough time to spare. My sister Abigail, who is a flight attendant, rode with us for Hunter's first trip on one of "her planes" where she works every day.

The trip was peaceful, and fun. We got to go through employee security and were therefore spared the long-lines and hold-ups through the usual security lines, of which are courtesy of the can't-mind-their-own-business, liberty-restricting feds.

Hunter was very excited, enjoyed watching the planes, and got his own "wings" (see pic below, pinned to shirt). He got to help the ticket-lady hand out boarding passes, talk to the pilot, and enjoy an orange juice while waiting to board.

He loved taking off and thought the view was pretty neat, and was smiling the entire ride, looking out windows and going on and on about the whole ordeal. He got a soda and some pretzels from first class (courtesy of Abigail's flight attendant friend). Afterwards, as we were some of the last people off the plane, he even got to go in the cockpit and the pilot showed him how to fly a plane.

It was a fun ride, and memorable, and will certainly be a great asset of remembrance when we learn more about planes and aviation in the near future. And what little boy wouldn't love to learn about that?

"But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint."

Isaiah 40:31

Hunter is 3 years, 4 months old 

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Eating Fireworks

You know, I constantly write blogs about how incredibly smart little kids are. But today I was reminded of the words of Glenn Doman when he said that...

"It must by now be obvious to the reader, as it is to all those who know the staff of The Institutes, that we have for all babies' ability to learn and all parents' ability to teach, a respect that borders on reverence. Yet I have never seen a two-year-old wise enough not to fall out of a tenth-story window or to drown himself, given the opportunity to do so. Wisdom, the tiny child does not have; but the ability to take in raw facts--in prodigious amounts--he does have..."

Hunter left me for about thirty seconds today to go out to his room to retrieve a toy, and came back with a mouth full of black, dirt-looking stuff, gaging. "What is it?" I asked anxiously. "What did you put in your mouth?"

"Gum" was his reply. After washing his mouth out he led me to the door to show me the "gum" that he had found: glow worms from the Fourth of July. The package did sort of look like candy, but good grief, my kid is eating fireworks! Thankfully it was just one small pellet and he spit all the junk out of his mouth without ingesting any. But, I just had to laugh because, it's incredible how kids can be so smart, so intelligent, even so genius, yet so lacking in common sense.

"When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things."
1 Corinthians 13:11

Hunter is 3 years, 3 months old

Real-Life Puzzles

Today Hunter was helping me while I was working on the brachiation ladder. He was really interested in the bolts and the nuts and I showed him how to twist them together.

He probably worked with this "real-life puzzle" for a good thirty or forty minutes. Twisting the nuts on there was a great way to develop small motor control and he worked with them a lot longer than he would have if they were just some silly plastic toys - he liked that they were real, grown-up stuff and that they had to do with what I was doing.

We also had a good time talking together and he enjoyed being next to me while I worked, and being a part of it all.

"And let the beauty of the LORD our God be upon us: and establish thou the work of our hands upon us; yea, the work of our hands establish thou it."
Psalm 90:17

Hunter is 3 years, 3 months old

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Language Boy

"All children are born citizens of the world"

It is so true. At birth, the child's brain has the ability to learn any and all languages of the world - no matter how complicated - easily and without effort. He will learn as many as are presented to him. The possibilities are, literally, limitless.

The problem is that we have all too often ignore this incredible ability. If, say, between the ages of 20 and 25, a person's brain was prepped for unlimited language-learning and could learn as many languages as he was exposed to, would we not call him a fool if he didn't seize those precious years to learning as many languages as possible? If such were the case, we would advise all young men and women: "Make the most of those precious years because knowing as many foreign language as possible is beneficial for the rest of your life! And after all, the brain grows by use! Seize the moment!"

Of course, between the ages of 20 and 25 are not prime years for learning language. But such a stage does exist, and it exists in the first six years of life. However, the difference is that toddlers and not going to set out to study the world's languages. In this case especially, "The fate of a child is in the hands of his parents." (Shinichi Suzuki)

In this information age, it is now easier than ever to learn a foreign language. I am not necessarily proposing that you sign your one-year-old up for French class or higher a Japanese tutor. However, parents can and should make it a priority to give their child a second or third language with all means possible.

I have, in the past few months, been debating what languages to teach Hunter. I know a fair amount of Spanish and have been teaching him bits and pieces here and there, and would like to become more fluent so he can really learn the language. My dad speaks some German. My sister is practically fluent in Dutch. I know some sign language as well, and I always thought it would be fun to learn Braille and Morse Code.

The options go on. I would like him to learn some Latin and Greek as they are classic languages from which English originated, and I always thought it was cool learning Greek and Latin roots in grammar class ("photo" means light and "graph" means drawing so "photograph" is a drawing from light!) I would also very much like him to learn Hebrew as it is the language much of the Bible was written in.

French, Japanese, and Chinese are highly-spoken languages that I have a lot of available resources to gleam from. There is a lot of stuff at the library that can be utilized. It sounds like a lot, but when I consider that the tools to learn them are sitting right in front of my face, all I can think is "Why not?"

His potential is without bounds. Why limit him? He literally has the ability to learn absolutely anything that I present him with effortlessly and with lightening speed. If I have the resources to give him Chinese, then bygone I'm going to give him Chinese.

Let's just say that, should it not be for Doman I would have never even CONSIDERED taking up all these languages. Before Doman I never really realized how quickly and easily little kids could learn. Now that I do, all I want to do is give him the world.

I'm not going to be thoroughly covering all these languages. But, I figure, if he knows say, 200 common words in each of these languages, plus a hundred common phrases, and maybe whatever songs or conversations we have available from library resources, wouldn't that just be neat? And then with this base of language, when he is a little or a lot older, he can take it as far as he wants and learn more and become fluent in as many languages as he chooses? I just want to give him a thorough springboard from which he can do whatever he chooses.

Learning a 300-500 word vocabulary from twenty or more languages sound like a crazy and time-consuming thing to ask, but with Doman, it really would take very little time to come about that reality. The Doman How to Give Your Baby Encyclopedic Knowledge "Language" category is simple: create a Bit (a large card with a picture [fact] on it) and on the back write the word in ten different languages. So, for a "parts of the body" set you could have a picture of hand, arm, foot, head, etc. and write that word in ten different languages on the back of each of the ten cards. You teach one language at a time, so for example doing parts of the body and teach them all in Spanish, then in French, etc. It would take a total of about two minutes to teach each language, which would be a total of about twenty minutes to teach a set of ten objects in ten different languages. And he will remember it for the rest of his life. Cool, huh?

It's not useless information: it's fun, it's useful, and the brain grows by use. I always thought it would be fun to know a basic vocabulary from many different languages, but never had the time or the motivation to study them. Now I do. And isn't this going to be a great deal of fun?

Today I got some tapes from the library. They are kids tapes called "Teach Me German", etc. and I got them in all the available languages: German, Spanish, French, and Japanese. Why not? They're tapes, we listen to them, sing along, eventually learn them, and he knows some more information about languages. When I got home I was motivated to dig into the language resources we have in our home library. I got out some Latin, sign language, Greek, Spanish, French, and German kids stuff we have. I also remembered that that Baby Einstein "Language Nursery" movie has a flashcards section on special features. I didn't really like the movie, since it just does random nursery rhymes and counting and such in different languages but what's going on on the screen has nothing to do with what they're saying. However, the flashcards section has the alphabet in English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Hebrew, Japanese, and Russian. It also has some other flashcards in these languages.

So, I'm having fun playing with languages and teaching my boy. It's really not a great deal of extra effort to, say, check out books on tape in Spanish from the library, or listen to songs in German, or read "Can You Count Ten Toes? Count to Ten In Ten Different Languages" at bedtime. Language learning has simply become a fun part of our play and exploration of the world. And I'm glad to give Hunter this opportunity, and am excited about learning at least some of it myself.

"And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed."
Daniel 7:14

Hunter is 3 years, 3 months old

Hunter Gets his Driver's License

Okay, so he obviously didn't get his driver's license today. But he DID get his state ID so he can fly on a plane next week.

We went to the BMV today ("That stands for Bureau of Motor Vehicles" says Hunter in the most adorable voice). It wasn't the most horrible experience, but what a rip-off to pay $13 for that stupid little card.

Anyhow, we turned it into a little "field trip" and as I explained anything and everything to Hunter while we were there. I forgot that I would have to know his height and weight and I told them he was about three feet tall at the lady's suggestion (when I got home I realized that he was actually 3'4''! that's quite a bit off). I did get his weight right, because I coincidentally just weighed him today (38lbs). The height / weight ratio sure makes him seem bulkier than he really is. Oh well, I'm sure not gonna get another one at that price. They'll just have to think he's bulky.

A visit to the BMV is surprisingly fun with a curious three-year-old. Hunter was having conversations with just about everyone he saw and discussing his stuffed puppy and the Baby Einstein book I had just gotten from the library. He is ridiculously friendly these days, cheerfully waving and saying "Hi!" to every single person he happens to cross paths with. I also picked up an Indiana drivers manual to teach Hunter some of the rules of the road and signs and stuff. I know that will interest him and who cares if he won't need it on a test for thirteen more years? He'll enjoy the information up until then, be more aware of his surrounding and what's happening while we're driving, and when the time does come he definitely won't be flunking any driver's test since he will have been an expert at it for ten years. Plus, good grief, it's fun. What little kid wouldn't want to learn about cars? Learning is fun! As said Aristotle, "All men by nature desire to know." And Samuel Johnson, "All knowledge is of itself of some value. There is nothing so minute or inconsiderable that I would not rather know it."

And speaking of planes, I have a LOT to do up until we leave next Wednesday for the southern land of North Carolina. I should be getting on that now!

"And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent."
John 17:3

Hunter is 3 years, 3 months old

Saturday, July 5, 2008

No Comment

"He that loveth pureness of heart, for the grace of his lips the king shall be his friend."
Proverbs 22:11

Hunter is 3 years, 3 months old  

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Birthday America!

We had a fun Independence Day. We talked about America's birthday and how she was born on this day in 1776. We memorized The Star-Spangled Banner and Psalm 32:12. And we went to Greg and Patsy's house for a cookout. We didn't stay long and all the kids were swimming but Hunter didn't bring his swimsuit (I thought it was too cold so I didn't bring it).

He got to shoot off fireworks. I got him a really cute shirt that says "Rocket Scientist" on it at Wal-mart.

I have a really cute video of Hunter singing the National Anthem, but I still have to upload and edit it.

"Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance."
Psalm 33:12

Hunter is 3 years, 3 months old

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Observation Jar

Hunter's really been enjoying his "Observation Jar" that we made a couple days ago (fancy word for a spaghetti sauce jar with holes in the lid). We keep catching moths that make their way into the house, and Hunter likes to keep them overnight and let them go the next day. He gets very excited now every time he sees a moth, or an insect, or anything.

I'm sure we'll have lots of tiny friends visit our jar before the summer's end.

"He buildeth his house as a moth, and as a booth that the keeper maketh."
Job 27:18

Hunter is 3 years, 3 months old

Laid Out and Ready to Go

Today I laid a few activities out that we would be doing in school. I laid them all out next to each other and put 3x5 cards below them with a word written on it - "stories", "blocks", "rhythm", "writing", "math", "puzzles", "cutting strips", and "foreign languages". In other places in the room I laid out cards with "piano", "drawing", "Bible", and "gym".

It was really helpful to have everything laid out like this because not only was everything right there and ready to go but it gave Hunter and me both a visual of what we would be doing. This in turn helped us to stay focused and helped Hunter to stay on track and know what to expect next. You can get a lot of fun, educational things done in a very short amount of time if you are properly organized and prepared.

Hunter also frequently gets to pick what activity we do next and this is a great way for him to see what the options are (for example, today we're going to work on this floor puzzle and not chess), learn to read some words, and be organized himself.

"As the LORD commanded Moses, so Aaron laid it up before the Testimony, to be kept."
Exodus 16:34

Hunter is 3 years, 3 months old  

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Still Can't Believe My Little Math Genius

"The trouble with telling people things that are unbelievable is that they don't believe them."

- Glenn Doman

The problem with sharing with other people about how much fun I'm having teaching Hunter math is that they smile nicely, give a little "Oh, that's neat" and change the subject. I can hardly blame them because most of the time I don't even believe it, and I'm the one who taught him and have watched him almost flawlessly and always effortlessly grasp every concept I've presented him with in mere seconds.

I was once again blown away as we sat down with our dot cards and quickly zoomed through a few equations. At this stage in the program (we're on week 12 - yes, very inconsistent considering we started last September) I show him three equations and then present him with an equation which he can solve if he wishes to do so. This was today's digest:

  • 96÷3+3=35
  • 96÷3-3=29
  • 96+3÷3=33
  • 96-3÷3=? 30 or 31
  • 12x2÷3=8
  • 12x3÷2=18
  • 12x4÷3=16
  • 12x3÷4=? 9 or 10
  • 5x5+5=30
  • 5x5-5=20
  • 5x5÷5=5
  • 5x5+50=? 75 or 74

At this point in the program you only show the answer card, so for example saying "5 times 5 plus five equals thirty!" and show the thirty card (thirty dots) as you say the word. When problem-solving time came up (the last equation in each session) I would show Hunter two choice cards and he would pick the right one. Usually he just pointed but this time he eagerly shouted "31!" for the first equation, "9!" for the second, and "75!" lastly.

I was once again amazed by this little math-boy and I just really cannot believe that he actually understands what is happening to the numbers when I say 5x5+27-42÷10. Why, it equals one of course! He not only knows the facts, but truly can see true quantity and knows the difference instantly between 75 and 74 dots. It's just... wow... it never ceases to amaze me.

He continues to blow me away and even though I'm the one who "taught" him (or actually, just showed him the facts of quantity and demonstrated a few equations) I still cannot believe the incredible brains God gave us. And to think that these meager arithmetic equations are only the beginning... all I can say is, "Wow."

Now, if you're new to this blog please know that we do not sit all day in front of flashcards and counting blocks. I have not spent more than 20 minutes TOTAL TIME teaching him math and he has never memorized addition tables or multiplication tables or anything. I just showed him the facts of math and let him figure out the rules. I did this according to the outline in Glenn Doman's book, How to Teach Your Baby Math.

I am eager to shoot a good video of Hunter doing his maths. Because, like I said, when you tell people unbelievable things they don't believe you. Things have been so busy though and I've been sorting out in my head the best way to shoot it so as people can really see that he's actually doing it and it's not some silly trick I taught him. I've also been working on a dialog to go along with a video to properly explain how the dot math system works. Hopefully, we'll get it done soon.

"What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost, until he find it? ... I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance."
Luke 15:4, 7

Hunter is 3 years, 3 months old 

No Comment

"How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things"
Romans 10:15

Hunter is 3 years, 3 months old 

Bible Genealogy

I've decided to start systematically teaching through the whole Bible through stories, engaging activities, and memorization games. Today we did our first Bible genealogy (there are many of them found throughout the Bible) and it was the generations of Cain. I wasn't sure at first how I was going to incorporate lists of names into our stories times, but decided to print out word cards of everyone who is named and create a sort of family tree.

I started with God at the top and put Adam and Eve below. Then Cain, Abel, and Seth and then put all of Cain's sons below him. I narrated as I laid them down and also mentioned whatever the Bible may have mentioned about a particular person. Sometimes it simply says "And Irad begat Mehujael" and tells how long a person lives, but other times it says something about them like "And Adah bare Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle." If they say something extra I tell him about it. Then we review them in a fun way.

I also got the idea to make the "holding hands" paper people and put all the names on it, from oldest to youngest. He had fun and held onto every word. I'm glad we're doing this because knowing the genealogy of the Bible is important, and it is often neglected in Sunday schools and by parents. If God thought it important enough to put in his word, then it is important enough for our memory! And fun, too.

"Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him."
Proverbs 30:5

Hunter is 3 years, 3 months old

Belguim Waffles!

This morning we decided to have a special, oriental treat of Belgium waffles. We got a postcard from Aunt Abigail in the mail a couple days ago telling of her trip to Belgium and the wonderful waffles she had. So we brought a little of Belgium to our kitchen and cooked up some European goodness!

I always thought they looked disgusting and too sweet, but they were actually quite tasty with Cool Whip (instead of whipped cream, which is much sweeter) and fresh sliced strawberries. Nonetheless, Hunter loved them and eagerly pointed out Belgium on the world map before breakfast.

Maybe we don't get to travel the world but we sure do have a lot of fun, learning, and culture right in our own home. I wouldn't trade moments like this with my boy for all the traveling in the world.

"We have thought of thy lovingkindness, O God, in the midst of thy temple. 10According to thy name, O God, so is thy praise unto the ends of the earth: thy right hand is full of righteousness."
Psalm 48:9-10

Hunter is 3 years, 3 months old