Our Egypt Unit Study

We LOVE Little Passports. If you have not found this company yet, you have to visit their website!

My children await their monthly package in the mail to see which country the characters Sam and Sophia will be visiting next.

I made this video to show some of the activities we did in addition to the Little Passports website links.
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Skx7VmCwYFo&w=560&h=315]
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Sunday Surf~Notebooking and Lapbooking

Sunday Surf with Authentic Parenting and Hobo MamaI’m joining Authentic Parenting and Hobo Mama for Sunday Surf. Share your best reading of the week, and link up your post at either blog!

For more great reading, visit Hobo Mama or Authentic Parenting for the latest Sunday Surf and linky.

Happy Surfing!

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Well this week I didn’t get much blogging or online work done at all.  I’ve had a few writing assignments due this week, my father came to visit and my husband was away. So I was exhausted for the entire week.  I also had one sick child during the week, and now another today….the life of a blogger, homeschooler and mother! *Yikes!!!

Anyway, I did do quite a bit of research this week on notebooking and lapbooking resources as I am creating my first webinar series on Lapbooking.   Here are some great links I have found:

 

The Lapbook Diva-11211-final

Lapbook Diva~ this one is mine, but I thought it would fit well in this surfing post since I don’t have it linked anywhere else on my website at the moment.  A compilation of videos of the Lapbooks we have created, along with information on Lapbooking.

 

Teacher Files ~ a great website with clipart images to use in your notebooking/lapbooking projects.  If you make books with your children they are also great!

 

The Notebooking Fairy -- printables and how-tos with a pinch of pixie dust

The Notebooking Fairy~ I was thrilled to have found this website! I am considering to move into more notebooking with my oldest in our homeschool, and couldn’t believe the free stuff that Jimmie had on her website.  This is a great resource!

 

HomeschoolShare.com ~ my favourite place to get FREE lapbooks!

CurrClick

Currclick ~ I love this website for everything homeschool related! You can also find some free lapbooks and notebooks available along with others for purchase!

 

Happy Sunday!!

 

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Moments to Remember~Brothers

This week we’ve had a full week back to our homeschool since the Christmas break.  We finished our Egypt study over the holidays, and started studying Australia and just getting back into our routine and regular weekly activities.  This photo captures how my oldest decided to just pick up the book and read it to his little brother while I was preparing lunch.  He doesn’t read all the words as on the page, but I love the fact that he feels confident enough to read it the way he remembers the book, and that his little brother loves the story no matter what.  This was one moment in our week that made me smile.

Once I heard what was happening, I snapped this picture quickly and he looked up and said “Mom, I don’t think it says Ned, it says Ted”, and I said, “yep, you’re right.” He kept reading to his little brother.  So even though I can’t get him to sit and read to me, at least he reads to his brother, and obviously the time I do spend with him is teaching him something.

Reading Together

Moments to Remember was developed as a simple way to look back on our week as homeschoolers and find photos that encompass the memories we want to remember. 

The week may have been tough, there may have been more bumps than smiles, but in the end these are the moments that keep us going, the ones we need to remember.

Food Revolution starts at home

I’ve recently been watching some shows of Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution just out of curiosity.  Now, I am somewhat of a food nazi, if you asked my husband he would agree.  There have been ‘discussions’ we’ve had about what the children should and should not be eating.  Although I may be the food nazi in our house, my children have eaten refined sugar and other sweets, but to be honest if I wasn’t so sleep deprived I probably would lose sleep over it!

I need to arm myself with information to get my point across to my husband, so here I am watching old videos of Jamie Oliver.  I came across this one, and its my favourite!  It’s about 20 minutes, but take the time, get a cup of tea and enjoy this presentation that sums up my basic philosophy around teaching children to eat healthy.  Jamie Oliver is my food nazi buddy!  Leave a comment about your thoughts on this video.
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Potty Learning With A Toddler

This post is part of a Toddler Carnival over at PhD in Parenting Blog.

I have 3 children that have graduated from diapers, and we all made it out alive after the potty learning phase.  I often hear many parents say how much they dread potty ‘training’, and many parents seem to put it off for way longer than necessary for reasons of: they think their toddler isn’t ready, they don’t want to fight with their toddler, they think their toddler doesn’t know what a potty is, they have another baby on the way, they moved, boys are harder so they wait longer, girls are easier so they wait longer, and many other reasons!

I have a different belief about pottying, and I am a strong believer that the differences between boys and girls is just a myth.  However, I do believe that personality plays a part in the entire experience and learning curve.

Our Pottying History:

I bought my first pair of Fuzzi Bunz cloth diapers when my oldest was 2 years old and I believe that is what started my interest in my children’s ‘voiding’ behaviours, and my addiction to cloth diapers.  By the time my middle son was 9 months old I had a huge collection of cloth diapers, knew what Elimination Communication was and also had my own online cloth diapering/natural parenting business.  Although my oldest was ‘trained’ according to mainstream approaches, my youngest two boys were graduates of EC’ing- or Elimination Communication.  You can read more about this technique on my post here.

However, in this post I will address how you can ‘survive’ this time in your toddler’s development and provide you with some tips on how both of you can come out of this with a smile on your faces.  Now, even though I practiced EC’ing with my two youngest, I know that it is not for everyone, however, there are principles of EC’ing that can be applied to your approach to potty training your toddler.

1.  Change your own thinking about this time as potty learning as opposed to potty training.  Children are born knowing when they need to void, however as they get older and accustomed to using their diapers this learning may take longer, for they have been ‘trained’ to go inside a diaper for their entire life.  Just as you both learned at birth on how to breastfeed, learning to use the potty is similar.

2.  Maintain a calm, non-coercive approach to potty learning.  This approach is consistent with the approach to parenting that this blog is all about, so it applies to potty learning as well.  Whenever you give your child a reward (sticker, treat, happy dance) for going on the potty this distracts them from the ‘learning’ part of it by giving them an extrinsic reward.  Instead of your child learning to use the potty based on their own internal needs, they will learn to do it for external gratification (the reward you provide), and to please you.  What do you think happens if your toddler is having a day where they don’t want to please you?  If they have been mainly using the potty to please YOU then it’s not about THEM anymore, and you may see them regress from any progress you have been making.

3.  It’s all about communication with your toddler.  This time of potty learning is enhanced when you learn to communicate about it with your toddler.  Learning together may mean reading books, modelling use of the potty, acting out with dolls and toys about pottying.  It doesn’t stop there…oh no!  Talk with your toddler about the pee and poop that comes out of their bodies and where it belongs.  If your toddler is pooping in a diaper (hopefully its cloth), you can plop that poop into the toilet with your toddler in tow to help them learn of where it goes.  If a toddler sees you putting their dirty diapers in the garbage, they will think that is where it belongs, and frown upon any attempts at trying to get them to sit on the porcelain monster in the bathroom!

4.  Start off on a small potty near or beside the big potty, with short visits or play times on the potty.  Even if the child is wearing his/her clothes have it out and being a part of the house.  You can offer short visits to the potty where they will sit with you where you can quietly sit together and read, play or doing something together.  If you notice your child using the potty – at the moment acknowledge it by saying “you are peeing!”, making the sign if you use sign language and making the ‘pssss’ sound.  They can start associating this communication to their action.  This way you bring their attention to what their body is doing at that exact moment.  Be mindful if they don’t want to make potty visits, to not coerce your child or bribe them to try a potty visit.  Instead, offer more potty visits throughout the day…eventually they may agree!Poty Games

5.  Create a basket of toys/books or trays with activities that are just for potty time.  These are things you do together only during the times you bring your toddler to the potty.  Aside from books, our favourites have been: magnetic boards, puzzles, coloured pom poms and a toilet paper roll, counting beads, and musical instruments.

6.  If the idea of EC’ing interests you, consider giving your toddler some diaper-free play time, but only if you can be calm about it, and not follow him/her around for fear of them ruining the carpet  You will want to make sure it is an area where you don’t mind having to clean up a mess if they do have a potty “miss”.  This is an opportunity for you to communicate with your toddler when they do void.  If they do pee or poop – try not to panic and resort to cleaning up right away! Again, you will explain “you’re peeing”! and have them notice it, then just clean it up without a fuss (even if its poop!).  If you can clean it up with toilet paper and put it in the potty that will help with their learning as well.  You could also have a small pot, diaper or wet pad nearby so you can scoot it under their bum or have them squat over it – even in the middle of their voiding.  This diaper-free time will heighten both of your awareness of when your toddler may need to use the potty.

No matter the age of your toddler, remain positive, enthusiastic and supportive as they learn to use the potty.  Be mindful that the longer you wait, the more difficult it may be for your toddler to learn, for they will be “un”learning having to use their diaper.  So jump in with your toddler and start learning together! It is a wonderful journey to share together!

What is Elimination Communication?

When I get asked about Elimination Communication I have a sort of  3 second elevator speech that I have developed.

Elimination Communication is infant pottying where you offer potty times to your infant/child throughout the day.  You can practice full-time or part-time and it is a gentle approach to teaching your child to learn to use the potty.

That is my short answer!  My long answer includes many different aspects of Elimination Communication, of which only a few will be highlighted in this post.

So what is Elimination Communication, and is it only for “crunchy”  hippies?

Elimination Communication is for any parent who wishes to take on a more natural, gentle, non-coercive approach to potty learning with their child.  It can be practiced even if you work full-time or out of the home, therefore allowing you to implement it part-time, full-time or even occasionally.  Elimination Communication is grounded in the belief that children are born knowing the sensation of going to the bathroom (Gross-Loh, 2007), meaning they are not naturally going to prefer using a diaper.  Like all mammals, an infant does not prefer to soil where they sit, play or eat.  However, industrialization and the introduction of diapers, and making parenthood ‘easier’ has meant that we leave our children in diapers (in my opinion way too long!).

How do I practice Elimination Communication?

There is no wrong way or perfect way to practice it.  However, finding out as much about it as you can will help you feel prepared and supported.  Finding a supportive person or partner will make the journey even more enjoyable.  Some people decide to go for diaper free times, and some do not.  You can read about how we did it in my posting here.  You can practice it whenever and wherever, depending on the age of your child/infant.

No matter the age of your child,  you need to become aware of his/her patterns when using the bathroom.  This means you need to make observations.  This is much easier if you allow a diaper free time for your child/infant (even in mobile babies).  It does not have to be all day!  A few minutes to half an hour or longer, whatever you need to start make observations about your child.  You may want to keep a journal to record such observations that right before your child peed, they paused in their playing.

Next, you may want to start offering potty times at specific moments in the day: upon waking from bed or nap, before nap or other transition times, before bedtime/nap time.  Follow your child’s lead and their own comfort level while pottying them.

Practice.  Keep up a rhythm with your child.  If you forget one day…don’ sweat it or stress out over it! Just keep going with your routine and communication with each other.

You can read my blog bost here about Surviving potty training with a toddler.

Will it harm my baby to teach them to use the potty so young?

Actually, on the contrary.  The Diaper Free Baby website lists 75 benefits to practicing EC’ing with your child.  Here are just a few of my favourites:

  • reduces the risks of constipation and urinary tract infections;
  • reduces bed wetting problems in an older child;
  • provides a positive security (and stronger assurance) in the baby for they know that mommy/daddy will respond to their needs to eliminate;
  • encourages a continued trusting relationship through communication about a basic human need;
  • it is good for the environment – eliminating the use of diapers for an extended period of time;
  • teaches children healthy rhythms;
  • is consistent with attachment parenting philosophies;
  • supports the child with increased self-confidence and eliminates or reduces ‘accidents’ as a toddler/preschooler;
  • reduces or eliminates common struggles faced with potty training older children;
  • gives  your child a sense that you respect their needs from an early age;
  • gives parents another way to get to know their child and what they need;
  • enhances the relationship between mom and baby;
  • can be a bonding time with siblings and other family members;
  • EC’ing respects children;
  • can be practiced anywhere!

What if I have other children?

In my experience, I had other children in the home.  With my youngest, whom I started right at birth (occasional) and more often as he got older, the other children were excited to help…and watch!  They were just as amazed and intrigued by it as I was.  By 3 months of age after the baby woke up and we were all getting dressed, the other children knew this was their time to also play and connect with the baby.  I would take off his diaper and we would warm up the room and all sit on the floor and play with him, while I held him in an infant position over a handheld potty (just a measuring cup from Dollarama!).  It was clear, so the children could see when he went to the bathroom and they would often squeal “Mommy…look he’s peeing!”.    Your other children can read to the baby, play baby games like peekaboo or just keep you company.  This was very helpful int he beginning when having to do an infant position because you don’t really have any extra hands.

If you would still like more information check out these books:

Gross-Loh, Christine.  (2007).  The Diaper Free Baby: The Natural Toilet Training Alternative.  Harper Collins Publishers.  New York: New York, USA.

Boucke, Laurie.  (2002).  Infant Potty Training, 2nd Edition.  White Boucke Publishing.  Colorado: USA.