Friday, 27 May 2011

We have had a week of 'firsts' it seems!


This week Cosmo baked his first loaf of bread and his first ever cake from scratch, following a recipe and measuring all the ingredients (age 3 years 5 months). I obviously helped with the oven and holding the bowl still whilst he vigorously mixed it, but both the bread and the cake turned out to be totally edible, and two people have asked for the cake recipe as it was so good! [You can find it here]


He also learnt to use a calculator. He loves maths, but I'd never shown him one as I thought it was best if he learnt the concept of times tables etc using old fashioned lego bricks to work out the answers. However, this week his addition and subtraction have become much faster and more accurate, and his times tables are really improving. My mum thought it would be fun to show him what a calculator does. Would you believe this is his new favourite toy? He has even taken it to bed with him instead of a book!

The most exciting part for him is that he can now work out sums including numbers up to 9999 (he understands four place values thanks to more.starfall) where previously he only worked in figures up to around 30 (running out of lego blocks, plus attention span!) but the calculator always gives him a fast, accurate result. He's still not happy about the idea of division. I think we need to work on the concept with the lego bricks a bit more, but he's confident with multiplication, addition and subtraction, which I've got to be honest, I never expected him to be at this age.


I've frankly been stunned by how easy this has been so far. I thought teaching concepts in things like maths would be very  difficult and I wouldn't know how to explain it properly. The reality is, if I just keep showing him plenty of examples, he actually picks up the concept himself.


I hope Lychee is this teachable...

But the thing I am probably most proud of is that this week he worked out from his pocket money which coins he needed for the sweet he wanted at the corner shop (4x5p) went and chose the sweet, queued up and purchased it all by himself. Obviously I went with him (can't account for other people) but for his part he was completely confident and competent to make this transaction by himself. He thanked the clerk, but when we got outside he was disappointed when he realised he had forgotten to add 'please' when answering the question 'what would you like?'


We are lucky that the local corner shop seems to have the same staff in every sunday afternoon, so he is quite confident interacting with them. It would be interesting to see what happened if I took him to a different shop. I wonder whether he would still manage to complete the transaction or whether he would be shy?

Sunday, 22 May 2011

My Baby can read too!

I write a lot about Cosmo's development on here, and not so much about Lychee so far. I feel like this is fairly predictable as she is so much younger and doesn't do much at the moment.

However we have had a fairly major break through recently, and using the YBCR system she is now (at 9 months) consistently recognizing the words 'tongue', 'wave' and 'hi'.

It's a little earlier than Cosmo (not surprising as we got her started on the system earlier) but also a little less consistent than he was. She started to recognise words a month or two ago, but didn't always respond to them and only recognizes a few. Cosmo showed no signs of recognition, but then at around 10 months he could suddenly read with a startlingly wide vocabulary.

Not sure if it's a boy/girl thing, just thought it was interesting to note.

If you are interested in using the Your Baby Can Read system, you can buy it here.


Milton Keynes

This week Matt's class at school were doing a project on Milton Keynes. It came up in conversation at the dinner table, so Cosmo decided that he too would like to do a project on Milton Keynes.


Unsure of exactly how to proceed I decided that I would ask him what he'd like to know about Milton Keynes and see if we could find out the answers using google. Some of his questions weren't answered exactly (e.g. 'how many parks are there?' turned into 'how much area is devoted to parklands?') and some of them I flat couldn't find the answers to ('how many cars are there in Milton Keynes?') but there was plenty there to work with.


I'm also really proud of his drawings. For a long time he has refused to draw anything other than '1's or 'l's. I think this is a real confidence issue. He has just been unwilling to try to draw anything he wasn't confident he could succeed at.  He drew a railway track and a bridge (unfortunately I wrote on the picture upside down, but once he told me what it was I realised it was actually pretty good!) and trees that were incredible. I still had to talk him through how to draw each bit ('draw some brown lines to make trunks, not do some green scribbles at the top') but once I had taught him to draw a tree, he was drawing them all over the place!


We also found someone called the 'Milton Keynes Guru' who answers (publically) any questions you might have related to the city. Will composed a lovely email for him including questions like 'Are there any cars in Milton Keynes that are as fast as Lightning McQueen?' and 'Are there any car companies, like DinoCo, based in Milton Keynes?'


We put it all together in an A3 presentation to show Matt and Cosmo talked him through it when he got home.


You can see our booklet here.