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Manic Monday Mom

Today seemed hectic to me.  I think it was the lack of sleep.  My family has been passing this bug back and forth for almost two months.  I had the cold a week ago, now Jerry-the man of the house-has it again.  The cold means sore throat, coughing, achy body, runny nose, and horrible lack of energy.  You have these symptoms ALL day and ALL NIGHT. I am a light sleeper so naturally am unable to sleep through any of the symptoms Jerry or I may have.  So when my alarm went of at 7 am I was not able to drag myself out of bed.  At my second alarm (8:10) I woke to get Jerry off to work.   This is also when the kiddos wake up.
I did a 30 min work out then read my bible until 10:15.  Still being unbelievably tired I rested for 15 min before getting up to make breakfast for me and Athena.

Now this is not usual routine.  I am usually dressed and starting preschool at 10:30, today I was starting breakfast.  No shower and still in work out clothes. Ugh.

I do want to take a moment and mention that most of my blogs will not be this lengthy.  I wanted you to get an idea of what I do and how I set things up so in future blogs I can simplify without confusion.

I was excited to start preschool today, I had some new ideas I wanted to try out and started transforming our living space into the classroom.

 Every preschool day I set up what I call "stations".  These are areas of learning activities for the children to use during their free time.  I always have a reading station (which I would like to change periodically to get the kids excited about reading but have a hard time coming up with ideas for my small space), dramatic play, and a sensory type area.

Today for the first time I had a new reading station idea. We have a curved sectional couch with six seats. I separated the two seat section from the four and created a 'quiet reading nook' by the corner.  I added pillows and blankets and of course the library books.  I was so excited! (I do get excited easily).  I envisioned the children giggling while cuddling with their favorite blankets and a book.  That sadly did not happen.  Athena was not phased by the furniture move and Spencer (once arrived) saw the area as a new place to drive his hot wheels.  
I was a little bummed the station was not visited today.

Next I collected articles of clothing, shoes, and umbrellas for the dramatic play.  This was a first too and this caught the kids' attention.  They followed me around, jumping, as I collected asking what we were going to with these things.  They were excited.

We are studying seasons and this dramatic play is set up to allow the children to dress up and pretend they are in different types of weather.  (I hope to get a pic tomorrow.)  I displayed the clothes out on the stairs-scarfs on one 'shelf', shoes on another, coats, etc   I had the small area in front of the stairs and behind the 'reading nook' for space.  I went with stairs so the display would be more like a closet.
Athena tried on everything at least once but always had an umbrella.
Spencers favorite was the umbrella and his rain boots.
Both of them really enjoyed pretending together.

Ahhh see the rice all over the floor! 
For the sensory station I put out a tub of rice with measuring cups, spoons, and old pasta jars.  I pointed out that rice started with Rr  the current letter we are learning.  This station was also a hit!  I do have to say I am happy I have wood floors or this station may not happen.

The other little guy in this photo was not with
us today. 

The rice was spilled or dumped on the floor at least 5x.  I kept my broom handy to sweep it back into the bucket.  By the 3rd spill I noticed Spencer was having difficulty keeping the rice on the spoons.  He enjoyed transferring the rice but by the time he got the spoon to his jar it was almost empty.  I was getting frustrated, he did not.  I was ready to take the rice away but know preschoolers learn best with their hands and reminded myself they were enjoying it, nothing was getting ruined, nobody was getting hurt.  It was just making me anxious.  It was me not the kids.

To solve this I got a 9x13 casserole dish and had Spencer help me pour some rice into it to cover the bottom.  Then I placed a couple cars in the rice.  It only took a second for him to catch on.  He immediately added his other 6 cars.
 Perfect.  Less stress for mom/teacher, still happy kids.

Spencer arrived around noon.  He stays with his dad most nights and I have him during the day until 6pm or later.  He arrived late today.  When he arrived the kids ate lunch (surprisingly Athena was hungry after just eating breakfast.)
At this point I was still in my work out clothes and setting up the stations.  If I start preschool too late in the day Athena is easily distracted.  She is at her best first thing in the morning.  If I took the time to shower and get dressed we would be starting preschool much much to late.
I am not sure if this was a good decision or a bad one because I have also noticed the kids respond better when I am dressed nicer with my hair and make up done.  One of those 'you get treated how you dress' concepts which is true even with young kids.  (I also love getting pretty.)  Today I was teaching in work out clothes with my hair in a ponytail. No makeup.
Result, we had a few struggles.

My mom is a seamstress and made me preschool teaching aprons.  They are adorable! Sedona Style is the link to her webpage.  I will get a picture soon.  They are styled like a vendor apron with many pockets with many sizes but the fabric used is fun for preschoolers.  My mom gave me a wonderful idea when I started teaching my kids at home.  She said the rules are different when you are teacher then when you are mom and to help the kids remember wear an apron to symbolize the difference.  When I wear my apron the kids call me Miss Stacy or Teacher.  They must raise their hand to answer/ask questions.  This helps keep the chaos to a minimum and helps the children recognize attitudes that are appropriate for teachers.  For example, as a mom when I ask the kids to do an activity they can give their opinion on what they want to do and if they want to do it, as a teacher I am asking them to do a specific activity with out as many options.

I have a schedule hung up in the classroom.  The kids can't read it but know its there and it gives us a routine.  It is mostly there to remind me what to do so I don't get scatterbrained and try to do everything in one day when I look at my worksheets and lesson plans.  This way I have my lesson plan and then we can do each activity in an organized manner.  Before I had my schedule up we would not get activities finished because I would rush things to try and get everything done in a certain amount of time.

First we sing The Good Morning Song to each other.  Then we watch a couple videos that correlate with what we are studying.  I put a link up of the YouTube channel I use the most and will link the individual videos we watch.  These are a favorite of the kids.  They dance and both of them sing along to the songs.  It is a great opener.  It gets out energy in a healthy way and they are exercising!  I have them act out different things from the videos.

While they are finishing the last video I set out their name tags and behavior cards.  I also put their first lesson on their desk.

I do not spank during preschool.  Depending on the level
of misbehaving we discuss it at the end of the night and decide
 together what should be done.

On our schedule Math is first.  I put it first because concentrating is at its best in the morning. I bought little math workbooks at The Flower Factory for $1.  We do not use them everyday but today we did.
Handwritting and vocab is next.  We have been working on our Rr books and finished them up today.  Athena copies the word on each page.

In the picture you can see the name tag with all the stickers on it.  I like to give out a lot of stickers.  They put the stickers anywhere they want on their name tag.  They know (mostly) what each sticker is for and love adding to their collection.
I bought Teacher Sticker Pads at the dollar store that have 300-500 stickers in them.  That is a lot of stickers for a buck :).

Today between math and handwritting the kids were allowed free time.  I don't usually give free time this early into preschool but the kids were antsy because we started late.

Circle time follows. This is one of my favorite things to do with the kids.  It is usually very interactive and they usually pay attention.  I was planning on finishing up the new calendar I am putting together but did not have time due to the rice messes.  :/.  I felt unprepared.  We read Snowy Days today and sang a cute little snowflake song on the magnetic board.  That was it.  The day was getting late and I was very anxious at this point.

Art was set up on their desks after more free time.  I got a 'discovery pack' from the library about seasons and weather that had a mini book of snowflake stencils in it.  We made snowflakes and hung them on our mural.  Once art was finished it was 4:30.  I told the kids we would end there.

Twice during the school day the kids were fighting, grabbing things from each other.  Spencer starts whining and Athena yells.  Not a good combo.  I put them both in timeout when this happened.

With preschool over I had a lot to clean up and got to it.
I was finally able to sit down and relax (which was much needed) at 500.  Jerry would be home anywhere from 6-730 so I knew I did not have much time to sit.  Of course once I sat down to try and calm my nerves Athena started yelling in the house after being warned about it.  So it was time for another time out.  She must have been exhausted too because it brought on an abnormal 45 min crying fit.  
Once that was over I was up again cleaning the kitchen and preparing dinner.  Luckily Jerry came home around 630 and watched the kids to give me a little break while I cooked.
Spencer was picked up soon after.
To end the night Athena and I played pretend.  She played mom and sang to me and taught me about God.
I would say it was a good reminder to me about what is important.  My heart was warm from how proud I was to hear Athena teaching me about God.  During the day it might get hectic and seem like things are not getting absorbed but tonight I saw that they are.


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