My friend, Katie, has fabulous ideas. You should check out her weekly Tuesday Tip on her blog. As I've gotten to know her over the past couple of years (via the internet and a brief visit in an airport!), I've learned to steal as many of her ideas as I can. She is a few steps ahead of me, and she is way more organized than I think I will ever be.
Here is my favorite idea of Katie's: teach your kid to read.
That was something very intimidating to me. I wondered how in the world I would do that. She made it simple.
Starting at age 2, do alphabet flashcards until they learn to recognize all their letters.
At age 3, begin teaching them all the sounds of the letters.
At age 4, begin teaching them to blend letters and form words.
And BAM! your kid is reading before kindergarten.
I was a little slow on the uptake, but here's how it went for us.
He knew his alphabet already when I started although he would confuse similar-looking letters (b/d, g/q, f/t). At age 4, I started working on sounds with him. He learned all of those and started to blend letters into words. I quit for awhile because he seemed really frustrated. Right at age 5, I picked it up again, and in 45 minutes, he was sounding out words like a pro. He continued reading, and now we are flying through the kindergarten phonics and reading; so far, it has all been review! We will slow down once we come into unfamiliar territory. I am excited for that day to see him learn MORE new reading techniques.
At age 3, I started making sure she recognized all her letters. Then, at 4, when we started "school" for her three weeks ago, I started working on letter sounds. In three weeks and 5-10 minutes a day, she learned all her letter sounds. Last week, she started sounding out words. These kids have amazing brains! We need to take advantage of them!
So, Katie, thank you for encouraging me in this; it has paid off, and I am so thrilled that I got the opportunity to teach my kids how to read.
Now, Lucy may be a different story because she turns two right before the twins will be born. :)