Thursday, September 7

Our Preschool Circle Time Routine

We are a classroom of one.  Occasionally, Baby Bear escapes from Papa J and barges into the classroom, but he's really just there to hug me and throw stuff before Daddy fetches him.  So, Adventure Girl and I do not sit in a circle on the floor, as the name Circle Time might suggest.  This is simply our morning routine for preschool

We eat breakfast, clear the table, use the restroom and then begin to work our way through the following list:
  1. Sing a modified version of "Time to Go to School Today". (We only use the first verse here.)
  2. Sit by our calendar and adjust it while singing the "Today Is..." song.  (Found here.)
  3. Check the weather out the window and use our weather felt board.  It allows us to post a felt of the weather and then dress a little felt person appropriately for the day. 
  4. Five-minute exercise break.  I keep titles of assorted mini routines, movement songs, and quick games on popsicle sticks.  She picks one and we do it. 
  5. Question of the day.  This is written on either a dry erase or chalkboard.  I ask a question and she has to circle her answer.  I try to use sight and primer words at the preK and K levels as the possible answers whenever I can. 
  6. Review our theme for the week.  We talk about what the theme is and then do a short activity with the theme in mind, such as a song, a wooden puzzle, picture book, or an explore bag (cotton bag filled with something associated with the theme).
  7. Read our monthly poem.  I give her an activity while I read, like a printout of the poem and she can hunt for the letter of the week, or a coloring sheet related to the poem. 
  8. Sing "The Alphabet" song.  We use the traditional version most of the time, but occasionally rap it or add a country twang to liven things up.  Once, we sang in 'whale' like Dory.   This often doubles as a second Five-minute exercise break because she loves to dance while we do it.
  9. Number review.  So far, I am capping her at 20 for the year, but we started with 0-9.
  10. Letter of the Week paper craft while listening to the letter's song (found on here).  This involves me drawing the upper and lower case version of the letter on a sheet of construction paper.  She then traces it in a different medium every day.  I tried to match the letter and the medium, such as making a 'T' with tape or a 'C' with dried corn. 
  11. Number of the Week activity.    We use a lot of different activities for this one: dice, songs, counting lapbook, seek-n-finds, etc. 
I am debating keeping this routine for Kindergarten, but adding her personal information (reciting phone number, spelling her name, etc.)

Our circle time ends with a snack that goes along with our weekly theme. 

We then do seatwork (a handful worksheets), storytime, a hands-on-activity, lunch, and then something outside of the house like a library group or playdate.  We only school 3 days a week, currently.

Wednesday, May 24

Paradigm Shift

This space has been quiet since the winter solstice. There are reasons and I'd like to share them with my readers.

Mama Stacey experienced an awakening at the end of 2016.  I had a psychological break-through in the arena of surfacing memories and life-altering realizations.  I began therapy and joined a support group.  I also joined a 12-step program to change my coping strategies.*

As I have been working my 'program' and more has been coming forth through therapy, I am understanding what it is to lie to one's self, to compromise one's self, to be an enabler, to internalize blame/guilt/shame, to excuse away abuse, etc.  My users and abusers are no longer invisible to me.  My negative coping and comfort strategies are no longer normalized. 

My feet have shifted on this Earth. 

Today, I am making healthier choices and healing a little at a time. This involves a lot of focus and a lot of change.  I have made confessions.  I have ended friendships.  I have strengthened others.  I have set boundaries. 

One of the boundaries I have set, one of the changes I have made, involves my spirituality.  Not all of you will like this.  Some of you may identify with it.  Some of you haven't read this far, haha. 

When I was no longer willing to lie to myself, I was left with no choice but to reject a mass portion of Paganism.  I refer to it as "woo".  Woo is anything that is a self-soothing lie, a disinclination to admit mental illness, a bastardization of science, wishful thinking, disguised desperation, a gimmick. 

I no longer buy into: astral travel, energy work, magnetic bracelets, lighting candles to send energy, essential oil therapy, sound therapy, familiars, auras, psychics, tarot card reading, dragons, cleansings, past life regressions, crystals, ghosts, spells, curses, "guides" or otherworldly voices, etc.

You may decide to believe in these things.  That is your choice and your path. 

There are things within the Pagan community which still delight me.  I adore the tolerance, the fun holidays, the music, the myths, and the environmentalism.  I love drum circles, camping, Solstice cookies, herb gathering, and my little boy dancing around in faerie wings.  For those reasons, for now, I will continue to raise my children within the Pagan world.  However, when they ask me why the man talking to himself is telling everyone that he has an invisible dragon on his shoulder...  we will discuss loneliness, mental illness, and negative coping skills. 

If you're looking for a label, I suppose you'd call me an atheist.  Maybe a Pagan Atheist.  I'm still on my journey. 

What this means for the ITHOMS blog is that many older posts have been deleted.  I will no longer offer "woo", but will continue to offer crafts, reviews, toy and book lists, sabbat recipes, secular homeschooling, and earth-centric child rearing posts. 

I pledge to be honest with you and I hope you'll can be honest with me. 

Thank you for listening,
Mama Stacey

* As this is a family blog, I wanted my readers to note that my 12-step program is NOT for drug or alcohol abuse.  While I firmly believe that NA and AA members who are in active recovery are zero danger to children, I understand that there is a negative association between certain addicts and children.  I want to assure everyone that our children have never been in any danger.  There is an absurd number of harmful ways to 'soothe' oneself and Mama Stacey chose avenues other than alcohol or drugs.