Saturday, March 05, 2016

Parenting Month 64: Focus and persistance

The parenting topic that has been on our minds the most this month was what to do about summer. We have not done any formal activities in the past, but we are aware that the other kids in suburbia have been sending their kids to various week long summer camps for art, music, dance, and a whole range of academic and semi-academic camps in addition to the outdoor activity camps. (to be fair, my wife runs one of these, so we probably are a part of that ecosystem, just not from the side of the consumer). But we had not done this with T, instead having mommy school (piano, chinese), daddy school (which involved museums, hikes, and something that had a strong resemblance to playing with LEGO), and grandparent school (swimming) supplemented with taekwondo. But we were aware this whole time that our neighbors (especially the asian ones) were enrolling kids in multiple programs.

So this coming summer, with the end of kindergarten we started looking at what the market had.  We found numerous offerings at various private schools in the area, a couple of colleges had offerings (alas, C-MITES at Carnegie Mellon University is no more), YMCA camps and a plethora of dance, sports, arts and crafts, and general activity camps. But what we noticed is that the majority of these were in one week chunks, and the ones that were longer had a large list of activities that they had planned for their campers. Which means that they will be moving from activity to activity throughout the day.

Our goal was to find activities that would reward focus and persistence (and make sure he got a reasonable amount of outside time!) So this summer will be in three acts. June is mommy and daddy school. July is a series of one week camps (piano, LEGO, and science) and August is decompression/getting ready to go back to school.  Mommy school is piano and chinese (with curriculum!), daddy school is going to be computers (Raspberry Pi and Scratch) and LEGO (simple machines and storytelling). And we are going to continue taekwondo.

Ready for testing
Ready before testing
Other developments. We are starting to note a slightly more rebellious attitude in T (5yr old). Considerable resistance to mommy, grandma, and grandpa (oddly enough, daddy does not get to experience this very much) (And A(1 yr old) is like this too, we actually do not know who is feeding off of whom.)  Some of this may just be the standard testing of boundaries, another may be the fact that he is now picking this up from other kids (peer pressure really did not do anything to him in preschool). I remind mommy that this is incredibly mild compared to most 5 yr old or kindergartners. Of course, this does not help. Neither does the fact that teachers (school and outside) routinely comment about how well behaved T is.
Self defense exercises
Back stance during self-defense testing
Taekwondo is continuing along. He is still quite good for his age. One benefit of going up the ranks is that most of the kids in the middle color belts are a year older than him and better coordinated. So the standard surrounding him is better than him. Another development is that I started taekwondo as well, and once a week we go to the family class together. The general comment is that he is watching me with a big smile the entire time we are in class.  Since he is a few belts ahead of me, he gets a kick about going into teacher mode when we practice at home. We have been getting some training gear from the school because of students that we have referred to them. So our house is generating an overall background noise of martial arts and Star Wars. Mommy is not sure about how that happened in her house.

His sense of sequence still needs work. He essentially has three time periods, past, now, and future. And, consistent with age, all things past tends to get mixed together.

School is still working on finding his level. We are happy that they have continued escalating his reading. The books he is bringing home from the school library are getting harder. Actually, I think that they are too hard, because he discovered the Star Wars section of the library. Fortunately, we have a reasonable amount of appropriate books at home as well as what I read to him.
Round kick during sparring
Round kick during sparring
A is adding willful to being a babbler. And that means she can express desires deliberately and strongly in two languages. I commented that with T we pretty much got a pass on the terrible twos and threes. While A can communicate (which does eliminate a good portion of tantrums), we are not going to get a pass on this one.

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