Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Unwind #1 Ready for the Game plan?

Hurray!!!! This ("Unwind")is our series name to categorize all the blog-posts related to our evening 1 hour fun time :)

You thought I really took this long to decide? hehehe...Not at all!!!! I had kind of made my mind before I click the Publish bottom in my previous blog post. (For those of you who missed the first two scenes of the movie, you can go read here and then here. I hate to miss the first few scenes of the movie however bad it is. Its more like a deciding moment whether you want to stay glued to your seat for the next 1 or 2 hours :). Same here i guess!!!! Go read them however bad they are :) but do comeback once in a while because we are the process of improvisation.)

I am a working home. And my kid goes to kindergarten. We are physically parted by few kilometers and for few hours in the day.This makes our evening cuddling time more important than anything else. Its my de-stress mantra!!!! and my kiddo already has a masters in the art of hugging, kissing, and pleasing his mom :). So we need that 60 minutes of mommy-kiddo time. (mommy-kiddo time starts from evening till night but this particular hour of the day - mama doesn't do any chores and kiddo doesn't turn on any gadget)

And we slowly started finding ways to keep our feet grounded in one place, doing something that is interesting to both of us. Sometimes we sit and watch a cartoon movie together, sometimes we go out to bicycle, sometimes we sit do a puzzle or LEGO. But we slowly learnt by experience that when we repeat the same activity in near future it kind of becomes a routine, which both of us don't like. Yeah, we cant stick to patterns!!!!

That's when I started reading about, researching about, googling (Love this word!!!) about (which is more apt) teaching concepts to kids. I didn't want to teach him phonetics, cursive writing or mathematical tables. I left those to the experts. I felt these are easily(best) learnt by kids when they are taught in group and by those who are professionally trained to do this. Miss. Lexie is already doing a great job!!!!!

I took the concepts from Homeschooling websites and decided to follow unit studies. Unit studies are really fun and informative to these little hyper-active cognitive brains. It kind of caters to all their Ws and Hs. And we progress little in language, numbers, science and arts at the end of every unit study. 

We don't follow textbooks but of course we read a lot of storybooks related to the topic of our unit study. 
Then we  watch Rhymes (I think he is little too big for them now, but i still use them if I have to make him rote something) interesting videos, or cartoons related to our study subject. (To my surprise I found many of the kids storybook has read aloud with cartoon images by the authors themselves which makes the study time more fun for us). 
We do use iPad to play Apps related to our subject again. 
And a lot of coloring, tracing, drawing on papers. 
We make the place more messy by cutting, pasting, gluing, etc. We follow "Excuse Us!!!! This place is Messy as we are busy making memories" (Of course no excuse to mama who has to make the room as the tidiest corner of the home for next day's fun :( as part of her nightly clean routine ) 

I think you would have got the glimpse of what you can find in the upcoming blog posts. Yeah, Loads and Loads of Links and Creativity.

**PS: We don't make this strict everyday. We still go to park, bicycle when its sunny, take a bus to Library, go to Judo and Swimming, freak out on Friday evenings, We sometimes don't do anything productive on weekends. Like all these Unit Study time is just another activity :)

So how do we encapsulate all these memories and mess that we are creating?. Of course I click and record a lot when my boy is on his mission. Then I found this concept of Lap-booking. Trust me I am obsessed now. I really want to do one by myself for every unit study. But I forcefully take a back step and leave it to his imagination. I am sure you too will get hooked too!!!!

More gyan\info\facts about Unit Studies and Lap-booking as we really unwind more!!!!! Lets keep it simple to start the ball rolling. (and by that I get more time to find more about them...hehehehe)

I am for sure every mom will have a story to share on how they spend their cuddling time. How do you spend your evening family time?. My ears are all open!!!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

What's in the name?

Ok...how many of you are going to agree what I say next? Well...as I mentioned in my previous post, we started thinking to name our evening one hour fun time to something we could relate to education, family time, homeschooling (only in the evenings), art and craft and WE ARE STILL REALLY THINKING!!!!! :(

We have a plan, we have even laid down a schedule for the next 1-2 weeks, we have identified what fantasize us now so we have our topics, we have decided how to record our fun time, how to relate everything around that one subject now....BUT we are finding hard time to decide a name for the series. Ok, when I mention we everywhere don't presume its my betterhalf in relationship its my betterhalf in height :)

So now you understand why i named this blogpost so :)

We could easily say what's in the name its all about what's in the content. Totally agree? I hear/see everybody chuckling YES or nodding your head. 

But tell me honestly how many of you get hooked to the name which raises your curiosity adrenaline and unconciously pushes your fingers to click on that link?. Agree again ? (I love all my friends here, you are just like me!!!!) So can we rephrase the blogpost header to Its all in the name!!!!!

You could have guessed it, I am just dragging time and space because until this moment before I am going to write the next few lines, I have not made my mind :(

Then I decided to sit back and think, is not having the name for the series we have planned (hahahah!!!! we are not even sure if we are going to do a series of post related to what we discussed in the previous post) is holding us from sharing the fun we are having?.Then i hear my soul screaming YES!!!! So we are back to square one - what's in the name? lets just type xyz series and start.

Hold on, I hear somebody else screaming from my inside: "Do what you do properly" (well excuse my translation skill, handsdown Google translate is the best :) ) as the quote goes in tamil "seyvana thiruntha sey". So we need a name. 

So lets do it or rather NAME IT!!!!!

Shravan likes LEGO, Animals(did i mention Jaguar from cartoon Deigo is his latest obsession, sometimes we go to Australia to visit Koala, sometimes to China to visit Pandas) Puzzles,(its just 4 days into his new kindergarten and he is already nicknamed the puzzleboy) Cartoons on Nick Junior (blame it on Canal digital subscription!!!!), Netflix, Youtube and exploring apps on iPhone (He selects an app, runs to either of us for password (ofcourse I have trained his brain to be selective and look for the word FREE when he searches), install, play and then the d-moment like it or not like it. Like it move it to the folder Shravan else just hold the app for few minutes and click the cross on upper right hand corner)

Keeping this big list in my small brain, I am thinking of "Let's Create" "Be right back Nick Jr" "Unwind"

What do you think? Could you relate them? Sounds crazy? Anybody has a better suggestion? (hehehe...I could have done this much earlier. having so many more creative minds around, I think I unnecessarily spent more time :)). But I think you need to put in the effort to realise how good you are at certain things by trying our best. Agree? (Thank you for agreeing to agree to most of the things. This is the final one for this blogpost) :) 

What did I finalise??????? Well stay tuned for the blog title in the next blogpost which will begin with this :)

Friday, August 8, 2014

Exploring Subjects without textbooks

Another month to go whereby another year would have passed by and my little Prince shall no longer be categorized as a toddler or a pre-kindergartner. YES, I am a big boy now, a self-declaration by a small 5 year (soon to be though) old.

Now that I am super excited seeing my boy speaking 3 languages fluently, writing alphabets and numbers and living in the animal world (everything that we learn has to have an animal associated with it, be it math counting, a continent or something related to human body). I should really appreciate his knack of getting me explain him any logic with animal as the center of attraction.Its eventually puzzles and LEGOs that can keep him grounded on his feet for few 10 minutes or sometime even an hour. 

And did I mention kids of these age group ( or probably even lesser) are masters of apps be it android or iOS. His hands and brain works more faster than me...LOL :) He can get into Netflix in no time when I say his TV time is over or can please me to use YouTube to watch a rhymes/story and slowly start clicking related videos and finally land in his world of cartoon.

So all these gave me clues as to how to introduce new subjects and facts to him without letting him know that he is indeed learning lot of new things. And wait until the gaga moment when he uses or explains those new facts to somebody else.

I think its this particular age that their brain cells are highly activated, more welcoming to new facts and most of the information is sub-consciously well retained. No wonder they start so many subjects in such early in Indian education.

At the same time I didn't want him to be forced to start learning a heavy curriculum which could kind of hinder their left brain activity.

He has another one full year before he starts his first grade. But I really want his learning process a constant thing and introduce concepts before he could actually read them as chapters, do homework and take exams.

So here are my leads - puzzles, LEGOs, DIY, Apps and Animals. Aren't these good enough to use as medium to introduce any concept to a kindergartner?. I have decided to challenge myself, do some research on list of topics, frame a simple learning worksheet and most importantly make time everyday evening to have fun together!!! and secretly improve my basic general knowledge as well (hehehe...skip that line if you have already not read it)

and more than him its me how needs lot of motivation and the fire which hopefully should not be put off by the Stavanger rains....So I thought I will keep updating this little space of mine here with our progress and it might be useful to few of fellow friends as well :)

Then we decided to name this series of posts with some name to label it and not confuse few dedicated followers with our musings and ramblings. Oops!!! The challenge starts right here....

Friday, February 14, 2014

Rewind 2013 - Part II

OK.Here we go with the other half of my memory refresh of what happened later in 2013. See, I did post it (I can hear some sighing  atlast!!! and I can hear few of my friends gently whispering, "Anu, you promised that you will do it before end of Jan, go check the date today") and I did and found its Valentines day today :). Before we drag on why it got delayed, and blah blah, let me take this post to wish my all beautiful dear friends a very happy Valentines Day :)
We did something very romantic in August, see we really dont believe in Valentines Day - A must visit place every couples wants to go (offcourse!!! Not everybody want to go there with their kid ;)), its the place where you land up when you switch on your dream button (atleast Bollywood ishtyle), with snow falling, you are on top of some hill and your partner comes running towards you (ok ok let me stop!!!) You guessed it right - WE DID SWITZERLAND. (Well, question to all my shakesphere dudes, is it actually right to say we did switzerland, I have heard people using it, but not sure if its really grammatically correct, but i like it !!!). And later in August we had some of our friends visiting from Kongsberg and we did the much planned KONGEPARKEN. One of the good theme parks in Norway. I think we will go there every summer until we are here in Stavanger. It was soo much fun for three freaks who love going upside down and screaming from bottom of your stomach just for fun!!!!
Its the beginning of September (does that starts bell ringing on your head) atleast it did for me as I had to start planning my superhero's superday. And the theme was announced BEN 10!!!!!! and he made it very specific, I just dont want the Ben10 face on the cake, but his pants and watches as well (those were the exact words he used). So my baking skills were on toss!!! But i think it turned out OK, the boy on the cake did resemble Ben Tennyson. It was yet another year with more LEGOs. Knowingly or unknowingly, the entire family is becoming a great fan, addictive Builders of LEGO.

Well something else interesting happened in September, I had a two day meeting (user forum) in a nearby Beach side hotel and everybody had to stay there overnight. Well,it was officially 12th of September for the first time in almost 4 years, I was away from my little hero for a night. It was very emotional but I Guess we kind of managed it well. A BIG THANKS to my big hero (well, you know what!!! He constantly keeps asking me, why you dont Write about me in your blogs and its always just about our little hero, so as I start I did mention him here now :).

Ram's cousin visit was another event to cherish. My little hero assumed him as his big Brother though we kept on telling that he is dad's little Brother. Never mind, as long as they glued really well. When I meant really, trust me they really glued very well. We did visit many of Stavanger's local attraction along With him. And I got an opportunity to explore some vegan cooking for him, Yeah!!!! you heard it right :). Wish he visits us every year.
October i guess was business as usual!!! Monday to Friday work, Courses in the evening and Fun in the weekends!!! Oh yes!!! I took my Norwegian Language test in the end of October. Not as bad as I thought :) I did manage to do well (I should isn't it? After all the 6 months effort of maintaining Norwegian as medium of communication in workplace from 7.30 to 3.30 :) )
November, TADA!!!!!!!!!! Ever since I could remember, the mention of November makes me think of my sweet sister. Nov 15th being her birthday and its going to be more memorable in the coming years as the same day happens to be her Wedding day as well. A very short trip (just 18 days!!! its wedding come on :( ) to India was very tiring but yet very satisfying and memorable one (Now, I am talking like a BIG SIS :) ) and we did the much planned almost delayed for 3 years photoshoot for our little hero :)
Its the beginning of the end of the year and ofcourse a special month to me :) I can hear you guys!!! afterall you are all my best buddies!!!!! A self made special strawberry cake on 6th!!! (but of course it was my little hero who blew the candles, he lives by the motto "All Birthday is my Birthday" simple and straight, isn't it!!!!!). Well its more than me but my little hero who got more surprises in december. His best dude visiting from Kongsberg for a week during Christmas holidays was like icing on cake for him!!!! 
and we welcomed 2014 with more Love!!!!!!


Monday, January 27, 2014

Rewind 2013 - Part 1

Another year passed by like a whirlwind and I just realised this little Space of mine was left unattended for almost 4-5 months now. Not good at all!!!!!! but I am in no mood for any blame game because its still January and I can start fresh, revisit my bucketlist, set new goals or whatever I like.
well then why not a quick recap of fast and fantastic 2013 be the first (Just like last time, well am I setting any trend here? because i dont want to :)) as I am not good enough to keep it going.
The year started with cold breezy winter and all I did most of the January was to pack my boys, get some quick breakfast, run through the new channels and then finally land in finn.no website. Well, to the people outside Norway its a one stop website for everything you want. When I say everything, does it include job? :) You Guessed it right!!!!!!Initially I had some criterias and strategies for applying, but as days solidified my strategies began to liquify :). Its login, apply relavant, somewhat relavant, Could be relevant and not relevant at all :)
Trust me, it did work :) and it was just the beginning of February when I got a Telephone Call from an HR just within 30 mins of applying. I can hear,what in 30 mins??? from all the folks around here in Norway as the usual turn around time is atleast 30 days :) So can I take the previledge or should I say pride  of being Lucky (atleast once!!!!). The month of February was short (yes literally short for me :) - 2 rounds of interview with1 week of intensive PL/SQL (self) training between the two rounds.
The entire March was spent gazing at the post box for my work permit. Well thats a whole different story, so let me not start whinning about it here :) and a quick trip to our very favorite town, Kongsberg for a week to laugh, share, crib,complain, fun with few of my very deary girls out there. I missed gossips!!!! come on, then the trip is incomplete. What say Girls? :)
So once again I became a full time software engineer in April 2013. Priorties started changing or were challenged. Finding time to quick 3 simple meals was more acknowledged compared to that one fancy dish I researched, cooked, styled and photographed once a week while at home.
With so much happening, dont you think we deserve a small break to share all the fun, happiness with the beloved Family back in India? Ofcourse we did it!!! 3 weeks vacation within the first 2 months of employement (hehehehe!!! know you can start thinking what a generous boss I have :) wait for more surprises). and Our Fifth wedding anniversary was happily spent with a Diamond ring and braclet :) what more does a girl need :) (No, No I still have some Platinum to shop).

The month of June was ruled by alarm clock (and so it is till now).When sending Shravan to playschool and going to Office all the 5 days was so damn challenging, I started my evening Norwegian course twice a week. (Once again, generously sponsered by my company, Oh yeah!!! It was one on one) Did I mention that my kiddo got super adjusted, learnt to say bye in the morning without any whinning, wait patiently (ofcourse some cookies or muffins to munch in) until I Cook dinner in the evenings, bid bye once again in the evenings when I had my courses.
July was more of holidays rather than working (well for most of Norway). It was 3 weeks off for Shravan and his dear mother couldnt stay with him (God damn!!! why the hell did we took that 3 weeks vacation in May :(  but as i mentioned my sweet pod made a quick and sweet friendship with a mom-daughter duo which was a double blessing to me. And we managed to have some serious fun over the weekends. Two long roadtrips - Lysebotn and Kinsarvik (jump to facebook and check out my albums as Pictures speaks more than Words) !!! OMG!!! It was so much fun. We should do more of these this year.
How about making this as two post? I dont want all you guys spend too much time reading my ramblings and have "whats new here, it happens in every house" kind of grim on your face and "this girl talks too much" thought on your mind
But to hear more about our Switzerland trip, yet another trip to India, D-day of my lovable sister, A move within Stavanger, Shravan's evening fun activities and about my yet another blog Space....did I say Food blog, no right!! because I want to keep it Secret for little more time (well actually spend little more time to improve my designing skills)  - STAY TUNED!!!! Part 2 in a day or two!!!!