Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Flash Card Fun

When my oldest munchkin was learning to talk, I jumped on the "teach him to read" bandwagon.  I was determined to make him a "baby Einstein".

I had him writing short stories about his trains when he was four.  We sat while the Gymnastics Queen napped and wrote letters to family.  I worked with him to ensure he was ready for school. 

In hindsight (always 20/20), I overworked him.  And yes, he did well in school.  He still does.

Is he a genius? No.

Is he brilliant?  Yes.  But because he's mine.

Will he change the world with his exceptional brain?  He has already changed my world by being in it.  And he is more exceptional every day.

Knowing how to write his letters early was a great accomplishment, but there was no reward.  No prize.  And he would have learned how to write much faster if I waited until he was ready.

The point to all this alphabet rambling?

I learned to let my munchkins be.  What a miraculous lesson.

My semi-relaxed parenting style (I am not relaxed about mess, manners or routine) has meant my other munchkins haven't been drilled in reading and writing before they could speak. 

Unless you count Sesame Street.

We read together for together time and to show them what a joy reading can be. 

I went from I have to teach him to read!  He must learn before all other children his age to prove what a phenomenal parent I am!  to  Man, kindergarten starts next week, I hope he knows his alphabet...did we even buy bookbags?  Do I even know what day school actually starts?  What planet am I on?

What a difference four munchkins makes.

This year, as LLG entered kindergarten as one of the younger kids in his class, it became apparent he needed some extra help.  He struggled with sight words.

His teacher advised me to write them on flash cards, and to keep the review brief.  Just a few minutes a day.
I wrote the sight words on note cards.  I sat with LLG in the dining room, and I flipped them upside down on the coffee table.

My Mommy Brain had a momentary flash of brilliance.  I almost hurt myself.

I would make this a game. He had to flip them over, one by one.  If he could read the word he kept the card.  If he couldn't, I kept the card.

Winner would be whoever had the most cards.

Moopa breezed through every few minutes destroying and throwing the cards.  This added an element of an attacking Godzilla to our little game.

It was exhilarating.

Protect the cards!  Here she comes!  Noooooo!  It's Baby Godzilla!
He had to move quick before Godzilla wiped the table clean.

I intended this to be a short, five minute exercise.

We played until he read them all.
Now we play a few days a week, adding words as they come home.

Amazing how as much as I try to teach my munchkins, they always teach me more.

They have taught me to chill out and enjoy the ride.

To keep life fun.

They have taught me they will learn in their own time.  And when that time comes, to help them master what they need to progress.

And that coffee tables are not an optimal place for flash card games when a Moopa lives in the house.

Its "Hump" Day!  (That is still so wrong, and I still can't resist)

HaPpY WeDnEsDaY!


  1. Lovely story of parenting and letting the child be in our rushed "how to parent" world! Good job!

  2. My "obsession" was nutrition. I had absolutely no idea how to feed a toddler solid food and I went over-the-top with making sure he (Oldest Boy) had a protein, carb, and veggie at every meal. And then I had three more...Let's just say that "chocolate" is a great incentive to eat something healthy! ;)

    My kids teach me something every day - I just have to be willing to learn from them. Good post!

  3. I have to note: My husband nicknamed my third "Whoopa" until she complained enough last year that she was too old. (7) lol.

    Moving on...

    that is so true!! About everything.

    With my first I couldn't wait for her to walk, talk, potty train.

    By my fourth, I knew it would all happen eventually. And I didn't WANT it to sooner than later because I know the AGGRAVATION that comes with those milestones. ;)

  4. Great post and a great idea! Hey I just passed along a blogger award to you, so drop by my page and take a look at the rules, thanks!

  5. The game idea is a great way to make learning fun. Thanks for stopping by to see me!

  6. I taught Kindergarten for 24 years and it rankles me to see what we have done to little kids in school over the years. Wanna make sight words even more fun? Create a 'coconut tree' of sight words going up the wall in his room. Make a monkey with clip art and his photo for a face. see how fast he can 'read/climb' to the top. Tape the monkey to the first word he misses and then start at the bottom the next day and see if he can go higher each time. : )


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