Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tot School--Our Return, I Think

[This was written the end of August, but thought I'd post it now anyway.  I didn't take the time to go find any pictures, though, sorry.  I have some updated things to post soon, but this is what we were up to in St. Petersburg just before we headed back to the good ol' US of A.]

Well, believe it or not, we've actually been doing our "Tot School" activities for several weeks now.  I however haven't had much computer time, and the blogs were the first thing to slide.  Face to face time with my little man and his little sister have been much more important.

And on a rather random note, it's been too hot to turn on our computers!  Crazy, huh?  So when I did have some time without the kiddos (I love that that's plural), I didn't want to turn on the laptop.  You wouldn't believe how much hotter it makes the room, not to mention my lap.

All that to say, here's what we've been up to the last few weeks:

We've been sitting still and reading lots and lots during the heat wave--no central air meant hanging out in one room and not moving around a whole lot.  Isaiah has to take a medication that prevents him from sweating, so we have to be extra careful when it gets this hot.  My husband made us a Redneck Air Conditioner to help us survive, and no we didn't make up the name.  You can see videos about it on YouTube, though ours had a distinctly Russian flair because Thomas had to "rig" a good bit of it.  It made the one room at least bearable to stay in.  Thank you, Honey!

So what did we read?  Lots and lots, but a few favorites were Moonpowder; Dr. Seuss' ABC's and Old Hat, New Hat.  Isaiah also continues to love "reading" his Russian Bible and flipping through his magazines.

We keep working on developing those fine motor skills.  My mom brought him a peg board when she came over.  I had been wanting one for quite a while, but I couldn't find one here.  We use it for all kinds of things!  We sort, work on colors, strengthen hands by pulling apart, develop fine motor skills by stacking, the list goes on and on.  But I can't neglect Isaiah's favorite activity:  moving them from their bag to a box or bucket and then back again.

Mom also brought over a puzzle that we had purchased in the States to use at OT, but it didn't make it back with us in January.  Isaiah actually likes this puzzle,  it seems, something of a small miracle.

He takes out all the pieces very well and hands them to me.  Then we put in all but one piece together.  The last piece he does by himself.  This seems to cut way down on frustration and gives him a definite opportunity for success!  As he gets better at this, then I'll have him do 2 pieces on his own.  The 6 pieces all at once was just overwhelming to him, I think.  Mama had to do some learning in order to cut down on frustration for both of us!

We also discovered a great website with flashcards for all kinds of words.  Kindersay.com is a free site that has words in different categories for learning all kinds of things.  If you register with them, you can also upload family pictures to have in an album.  I haven't had time to do that yet, but I definitely plan on it.  Isaiah loves looking at pictures, so this site is a hit!  If you want to visit it, it seems to work best for us in Safari, so you might want to try that browser if you are having problems.

Isaiah has always enjoyed looking at the pictures on my iPhone.  He loves being able to scroll through the pictures himself.  Well, we were given an iPad, and we are so excited about the educational possibilities that we see with this piece of technology!  We had tried downloading some games on the iPhone for Isaiah, but the screen is just too small for him and his developing fine motor skills.  Also, all the programs have way to many options to start with, and he would get frustrated with the overload of choices.

My husband has been able to develop a few flashcards for Isaiah on the iPad to review colors and shapes.  Isaiah LOVES it!  Thomas is hoping to develop some applications for Isaiah and other kids with special needs because, as I mentioned, the apps that we've found are a little overwhelming for our little man.  If you have any suggestions, feel free to let us know!  Leave a comment or shoot me an email!

While my mom was here, I had a great talk with her about how Isaiah learns best.  I'm composing a post about it in my head, but we'll see when it actually makes it to the computer. :)

So for now, we're getting a new routine for our family that involves feedings and diaper changes and continues with the old stuff, too.  Of course, it will all change as we head back to the States on August 30.  Then we'll add in physical, occupational and perhaps speech therapy for about 4 months.  Never a dull moment around here!