Another school year is ending. My 4-year-old wrapped up preschool a little over a week ago, and today is the last day of kindergarten for the 6-year-old. The 9-year-old has a half day on Monday (!); I told him it would mostly be a party day and he should go for that reason.
We have experienced a few aspects of real progress this year. The 6-year-old is reading and reading well. He tore through a dozen Captain Underpants books. They are graphic novels, but they are also about 200 pages long. At the start of the school year he could read just a few words.
He and the 9-year-old have been taking piano lessons. The 9-year-old made it all the way through the first Teaching Little Fingers To Play book (culminating in “From a Wigwam” — truly an early piano classic). His favorite part of lessons is singing while his teacher plays show tunes. So when I bought new piano books, I included the Disney tunes edition of Teaching Little Fingers To Play. It arrived yesterday afternoon and my son spent the evening playing and singing various songs. It’s fun to sightread once you learn you can accompany yourself! So we have achieved progress there too.
Also, all three of the big kids tried broccoli yesterday. I already knew one liked it, but the other two tolerated it.
I won’t win parenting awards for this aspect of progress, but the toddler now has a favorite TV show. On the mornings he has woken up around 5 A.M. we’ve put on Thomas the Train episodes, in the hopes that the parent on duty can catch 5 minute cat naps on the couch. He actually sits there and watches the “choo choo.” Indeed, he is so taken with Thomas that he keeps pulling adults into the TV room, tugging on them, pointing at the TV and yelling “choo choo! choo choo!”
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Brookings released an interesting report comparing how 2-4 year old children spend their time in formal care settings vs. informal care settings. There are always tons of caveats about this, because “informal” could mean a nanny with a college degree in early childhood education, or it could be an unlicensed home-based daycare with 10 kids and one harried caregiver. That said, in general, kids in formal daycares watch a lot less TV, and are much more likely to do reading and math activities.
I recently read Time Warped, which is a book by Claudia Hammond on how we perceive time. It had a number of interesting ideas in it, and pointed me toward some interesting studies I had not seen. One I will look into more: the idea that rushing makes time feel like it is going by quicker. I find that repeating the mantra “I have all the time I need” can be helpful.
I also enjoyed Carrie Willard’s post on 18 things she’s learned in 18 years of parenting.
The BLS informs me that the American Time Use Survey will be out next Friday! Stay tuned!