Friday, August 24, 2012

Getting Ready for Grade 1

It is hard to believe that Summer break is almost over. 60 days went by like 6 days. And in about a week, Aaliyah will be starting Grade 1. In order to keep Aaliyah in the learning mode, I had started Aaliyah on a Summer Bridge Activity workbook sometime during the last week of July. The SBA work book covered letter and number recognition, reading, writing, addition, subtraction, telling time, counting cents, nickles, dimes, counting by 2's and pattern recognition. Today, Aaliyah has finally completed her Summer Bridge Activity workbook. It feels like a big accomplishment. Of course, doing the activities all by herself without me asking her to did not come by until she was more that halfway done. But the day she chose the book over

watching T.V, I knew she has finally started liking the activities. By completing this book, she has not only made me proud, but has hopefully gained a little more confidence in her ability to do well in grade 1.

When I bought this book for Aaliyah back in the last week of July, I did not expect that she would actually finish it. The workbook seemed like a huge task. Something that would just end up in the bookshelf with all the other workbooks, unfinished, untouched. But she and I somehow managed to cover the workbook on  regular basis. Since she was doing me a favor, I had to sit with her to keep her focused and keep Ayaan from distracting or bothering her. There were days when we missed doing a single page, but then we caught up the next day. As she started getting interested in the workbook, she did not need me by her side. With trial and error, I found out that the time right after breakfast worked best for getting Aaliyah to work on her letters and numbers. Once a routine was established, she started doing her pages all by herself without me telling her.
Apart from the routine, incentives worked. Letting Aaliyah decide where she wanted to go for an outing worked as a good incentive for getting Aaliyah work on her pages quickly and neatly. Going to the library, going for blueberry picking and going to the beach are some of the activities that Aaliyah had chosen as her incentives. I asked her where she wanted to go once she completes the whole book. She decided to go to McDonalds. Honestly, I was not too thrilled about her choice. I didn't want food to be her motivating factor. But, it is what it is. She loves food and she chose what she loves. Getting her off this "food loving" mind set is a task in itself.

The workbook was a learning experience for Aaliyah as well as for myself. Aaliyah is more confident about her writing skills and her math ability. I am also certain that she has learned that hard work really pays off in the end. As for me, I have learned that routine helps, incentives work only if you let your kid choose them, and kindergarten was just a piece of cake. Its going to get tougher and more challenging pretty soon.

Grade 1 is just the beginning of her academic ladder which will intensify as she moves up. I wonder how far I would be able to help her. I have always hated math and I  just dread the day when Aaliyah will come to me with a real math problem. I just hope that Aaliyah gets a good math teacher at school so she can nurture a love for the subject and not be like her Mommy. And when she will laugh at me for being more math savvy than me, I might just laugh with her.

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