My T.A.

I have a teacher’s assistant, also known as Edan, my second son. He is an incredible help to me when it comes to homeschooling Tiana. With his methodical and systematic way of doing things, he comes up with activities for her to do when the others are homeschooling or like a good soldier, he will implement assignments that I delegate to him. Tiana calls him “Teacher Edan” during her lessons and what a relief it has been to have him preoccupy her so I can give attention to Titus when he needs one-on-one instruction.

I have told Edan many times how valuable he is to me. And the thing is, he really enjoys being a teacher. He gets a deep sense of fulfillment out of the experience and he is quite patient. Sometimes, he does get annoyed when Tiana doesn’t focus. But hey, she is like 2 years old. Her attention span is 5 minutes or less.

Today, I laughed when Edan said, “Mom, it is going to take Tiana ONE YEAR to learn all the things that you asked me to teach her!” She was a bit distracted when he was asking her to complete a pattern. But most of the time, he’s got her attention and she is participatory and engaged. The benefit to Edan is that he is learning communication skills and reinforcing his own knowledge of academic matter…not to mention putting character traits into practice.

Seeing my kids look out for each other is one of my delights as a homeschooling mom. It’s not easy to teach four kids who are at different levels and have varying needs, but Edan’s assistance provides me with daily encouragement. Multi-level homeschooling is so much easier when siblings contribute and help one another. Furthermore, I am realizing that children respond to the expectations you have of them. Whenever I see Edan volunteering to teach Tiana, I say, “You are such a great teacher, Edan!” It motivates him to live up to this positive label.

One time, a bunch of his cousins were coming over and he told me, “Mom, I am going to take care of all the younger kids. I will plan the games and activities. I will be in charge.” He named each one of the kids he was going to be responsible for. He left out Elijah and an older cousin because, according to him, they could fend for themselves.

I took a couple of photographs of Tiana homeschooling under “Teacher Edan.” Some of the activities were ideas I learned from reading about the Montessori method. :)

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The Cutest Baggers

The best thing about going to the grocery yesterday was seeing my boys voluntarily pack the groceries into paper bags at the cash register. It made me realize that kids like to do work, especially when they are affirmed. I kept telling my boys that I was impressed and so proud of them and they kept bagging the groceries.

At the grocery when I was looking for the rice and spotted the 10 kilo bag, I was about to lift it into the cart but said, “Oh my it is heavy. Would you like to help me? (addressing Elijah).” Elijah bounced over to my side, mustered the strength in his arms, picked up the bag and placed it in the cart. He managed just fine. I applauded his strength and he smiled, quite please with himself.

After the grocery, Edan said, “mom I can carry your bag” and took it right off my shoulder to hold it for me. I was going to take it back, reasoning with him that I could hold it, but he repeated,”I can do it, mom. I want to help you.”

So I let him be and said instead, “You are so thoughtful, Edan. That’s a very good trait.” He too was pleased with himself as we walked beside me, leaning slightly to the right as he carried my large mommy-bag.

These encounters with my sons’ chivalry, made me realize that my boys like having opportunities to serve and be useful. My part is to make them feel appreciated and affirmed when they think of others before themselves. I also have to be careful not to quell their innate heroism by acting like I can do everything myself. The right combination of all of these things does wonders to motivate my boys to rise to the need of the occasion. And hey, I love being treated like a lady!

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