Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Holidays Are Fast Approaching -- will we read?

My kids got out of school today for winter break. What am I going to do with them for two weeks? Well, I do like I do in the summer. I plan. I have to...otherwise it is a 6 hour day of Wii and TV.

I expect, as always, the first few days of our "routine" will be met with resistance. But, as always, after a few days, they discover mom's not bending...we might as well give in, and actually, it is kind of fun.

I block out times -- downtime (tv, etc.), reading, writing, games, and exercise. Within that block there are lots of choices. For example, writing can include coloring, stamping, painting, and stenciling. They can do crosswords and wordsearches.

Games can be anything from a board game to legos, to building with playdoh. Exercise may mean going to the park or taking a bike ride...or going to the gym with mom and playing in the kids club instead of watching the movie.

I like to cook with my kids too, while we have the time. I like them to learn the math part of measuring, and the reading directions part of recipes. I like having them learn to make something from a few ingredients, and enjoy it.

We have theme days too...for example, for Nick we might have an alphabet letter day, where we do things that start with that letter, eat foods with that letter, etc. Other days might focus on a person or persons...for example grandparents...we would write to them/about them, share stories about them, play games they have given us, and I will teach them to make a special food that I remember my grandma making. This can be really simple...and a great way to start traditions.

Now the TV/downtime is about an hour and a half in the morning, and then it is off until after dinner. Ouch...a full day! They can do it, trust me...but stick it out the first couple of days.

Reading time is 30 minutes their free choice, and then another block where we read together. I have to make a confession. Ugh...I don't read to my kids at bedtime. It just doesn't work for ME. I know a lot of you are so got the ritual going when your kids were babies. I just find that I am completely exhausted and falling asleep as I am reading it. I don't have the energy for discussion. But that's me...I am a morning person.

So we tend to read together at the dinner table. Scott and I usually eat later, so I sit down and read with the kids while they are eating. It does two things...gets them to sit and eat, and also sparks good conversation. They talk about the book, and often time tell me things about school and friends that come out through the topic of the book. I pick books on purpose -- themes of bullying, lying, see what comes out and how we can talk about it together. Funny how books will do that, huh...

So this week my goal is to read a Christmas themed book each night until Christmas. I have chosen a few from the large basket of Holiday books up in our media room. The kids have been looking at them all month. I will change out the books for a new theme in January.

Keep me they are:
Tonight: The Gift of the Magi
Friday: Too Many Tamales
Saturday: A Coat for Anna
Sunday: One Candle
Monday: Christmas Cookies: Bite Sized Lessons
Tuesday: The Xmas Extravaganza
Weds: Tree of Cranes
Thursday: The Polar Express
Friday: Great Joy

Let me know about some of your favorite holiday books and how you share them with your kids.

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