Friday, January 27, 2012


So this stay-at-home mama has a new plan. First of all, Wyatt loved going to school when I was teaching. He loved his friends, loved the activities, and all the toys. When I decided I was going to stay home I made a schedule, got my preschool lesson planning books out (I taught preschool/pre-k during college), and thought I had a good plan. Well, as teaching goes, with one kid or 20, plans change, the kid(s) change, and life gets busy and things just don't work out as you plan. As you can tell I'm a planner but I'm also a "if it's not working - change it" kind of girl. When teaching I spent a lot of time reflecting, usually on my morning drive to work talking to my teacher friend, Karrissa EVERY morning. Well, the teacher-mom in me came out AGAIN this week and I reflected, after several meltdowns full of tears with my mom, about how I can make things better for Wyatt. Maybe he was bored? Maybe he's just 3? Maybe we needed a different structure? Etc. So, first things first what is working and what is not... (You can skip all this if you are totally bored, but I'll be looking back at this one day.)

What we love? We love getting out for stroller strides with my friends and Wyatt's friends. He loves that playtime and outside time. He loves games, crafts, and activities. I love our flexible schedule - sometimes we stay after workout to play, sometimes we have playdates, sometimes we go shopping, or go to Grammy's, and so on.

What wasn't working? Wyatt needed some time without Mommy where he got to play with other kids and listen to other adults. Because our schedule is so flexible the "lesson plans/activities" I was planning didn't get done or weren't always ready or I flat out didn't think of them because we weren't really following the schedule I had planned.

So here is the new and improved plan... for now:

If you haven't seen the blog Confessions of a Homeschooler, you must check it out! It has great ideas, organization tips, dinner ideas, and so much more. Be warned, it's an addicting blog and I've spent hours on it! I'm not homeschooling, but I do have a kiddo at home and she happens to have a little one, too (she has 4 kids and she needed ways to keep the toddler busy while her big kids did school). Now, I'll probably butcher her ideas because I tweaked them to work for me, so if you want to know all the great things she does go check it out. Here's what I stole from her.

Workboxes. I happened to have these drawers and I then chose 9 subjects/areas to work on with Wyatt - Bible, Reading, Letters, Numbers, Counting, Colors, Shapes, Logic Skills, and Fine Motor Skills. Anytime we have free time or Wyatt is bored, we will get a workbox out and it will be pre-filled with an activity. Perfect! It's ready to go, we can do any one, anytime, and we don't have to follow a strict schedule such as do numbers after lunch. Then I'll just fill them after we do that activity. Easy! One thing, among many, that I love about this is that some of the activities are simply games that we have but forget about.

Side note: This is in the closet under the stairs. When we moved in we loved how big this closet was and decided right away that it would be the downstairs play room.

And because I'm super excited about my workboxes, I'm going to share what's in them with you for the first time. I promise not to post what's in the boxes again, but just this time. I made Chris look at my boxes AND open them and he wasn't nearly as excited as me. Maybe someone else will share my excitement. :)

Bible: I got this great book from Mardels awhile back called Instant Bible Lessons for Toddlers (there are several, but we started with the one subtitled God Takes Care of Me) and I love how easy it is to use. There is a story for each chapter and you can choose to read the version for 2 and 3 year olds or 1 and young 2 year olds.For each chapter there is also a craft, songs, visuals, action verses, themed snack idea, and more. Instead of this book sitting on the counter I now have the first chapter story and craft in the drawer. It's Noah's ark to cut and color and then stand up animals to cut and color to put in the ark. So then after we do this I'll put another activity for chapter one in the workbox. I still need to add markers to the drawer, but see the scissors (for me) and tape are ready to go.

Reading: I just put the Leap Pad that needed batteries and had been sitting on a shelf forgotten into this box. Wyatt will love to play with it. And it will be even more special because it came out of his special workboxes. Why is this so exciting to ME?! I have no idea, but seriously it is. Organizing anything makes me feel so relaxed and puts a smile on my face (doesn't mean everything in my house IS organized so don't expect that).

Letters: I stole the idea from the Confessions blog, but I think she sells her pages or I just couldn't get it to open so I made my own. You use Bingo dobbers on the circles to "trace" the letter. Fun!

Colors: I put Wyatt's color and shapes Mickey cards in there. I'll have him sort them into groups.

Counting: Muffin tin and pom poms. I'll tell Wyatt how many to put in each hole.

Shapes: You've seen these at school once upon a time, right? I did, the teacher always had them and we never used them. Well, we are going to use ours. You just use the shapes to make the picture.

Logic Skills: Just a puzzle. Wyatt is learning how to do puzzles and he loves this one.

Fine Motor Skills: I made a cutting template that has lines for Wyatt to follow as he practices with his scissors. This boy LOVES scissors. Luckily these are super safe ones, because he is not a safe scissor user yet.

And since I'm sharing, I found this on the Confessions blog, too. I whipped it up and here it is on our fridge. There's something about getting to put a velcro piece on that kids love. I still remember loving doing the calendar routine in kindergarten every morning. Do they do that in kindergarten anymore? They probably just say open the weather app on your ipad. :)

Oh and this little thing is the BEST. I got this idea from Cindy Keil (I did her nutrition class last year and she had great ideas for getting the kids involved in healthy eating). I lost her template or it's stuck in my email somewhere so I made my own. The top says "Wyatt likes to eat all the colors of the rainbow." After meals he gets to put the color of fruit or veggie he ate or tried on his rainbow. Yes! It really works! He may not always like whatever it is, but you can totally convince him that it's worth trying to get a ____ color sticker to put on his rainbow. Genius!

Wyatt has seen me making the workboxes and has been anxious to get to open one. I'll update after a while on how it's working for us and I promise not to post all this stuff about what's in each box again. Chris just got home for lunch and I made him go look again (because I just got it set up in the closet and last night he just saw them on living room floor)... still not as excited as me. hmmmm.....

Oh yeah, I just proofed this and forgot to mention how we are attempting the needing to be without Mommy time. My mom and step-dad got a family membership at Cooper Fitness Center and I got to be put on their family plan. Score! So now Wyatt gets to go play in the daycare place while I workout on Tuesdays and Thursdays. He even gets to do little classes. So that works on that.

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Sarah Eddings said...

This is all just wonderful AmyJo! I'm totally excited too!

Sue Eddings said...

Well I'm all caught up.
I love your blog
Great ideas for Wyatt
Love y'all

Sue said...

PS: I can't believe how fast Kenley is growing and changing, her little face is so beautiful. I had to come back and look again....I love her and miss her, and all y'all too.