Striving to give my kids a Head-start

I am a big believer in educating my children.  Some people think that  I am excessive when it comes to it, but I believe that if you want your child to succeed in life you have to start early.  If I want them to get into an Ivy League school, they have to succeed in High School, to succeed in High School they have to be on top in middle school.  To know what your are doing in middle school, you have to have your ducks in a row in elementary school. You cannot understand what is going on in elementary school, if you have not learned the basics in kindergarten and preschool. So, my children’s education started the second I found out that I was expecting.

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When I was pregnant the first time, I would listen to classical music and put the headset to my belly, so my baby could listen to it, because I read that it could support fetal brain development.  When my first daughter was born, at six weeks I signed her in Gymboree classes.  I bought all kids of black and white baby monitors and hanging things to put on the stroller to stimulate my baby’s brain activity.  We did baby yoga and massage since she was born.  We started baby swim lessons when she was six months old.  I read to her every day.  I bought teach my baby math.  I downloaded different baby apps on my ipad and iphone to help her with vocabulary and language learning.

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I don’t know if it really advanced her in her developing, she was just like every other baby.  When I read a baby book on what I was supposed to expect, my daughter was a baby by the book.  She didn’t do anything sooner or later than it was expected.

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When Anastasia was 9 months I found out that I was pregnant, I was still trying to concentrate on her development, but I wasn’t so over the top crazy anymore.   We were still doing swimming, local library classes, Gymboree and a music class.  When Anastasia turned one I signed her up for gymnastics.  I was still buying all the educational toys, games and puzzles.  We had tons of kids books that she would love to read.

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Soon after my younger daughter was born, at the age of two, Anastasia started her preschool.  From her preschool I was turned on where to buy good supplies on what kids were learning at what age.  Probably at the age of 2.5 I started to introduce workbooks, from which we would learn colors, letters, shapes and numbers.  I called it homework books.  I tried to make it fun and interactive.  Our homework time is a special time when we sit together coloring, learning, talking, it is a very special one-on-one time.

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When my daughter turned three, she already knew all of the shapes, colors and letters, she could count and recognize the numbers up to 15.
At three, I started to develop some other math skills like pattern making, addition and subtraction.  In terms of language we were working on sequencing, opposites and rhymes.

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At four, she could sound all the words and understood the concept of multiplication.  She started dancing, tee-ball and competitive swimming.  This past summer, I singed her up for ceramic classes and Anastasia loves art.

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She just turned five, we missed the California cut off for kindergarten, so she is not in kindergarten until next year.  This year, I started working with her on sight words.  I also try to come up with some fun scientific experiments for her, to cover the science education.

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With all that said, she started Pre-K this year, and I volunteer there every Monday. I can see that all the work that I have done with my daughter,  helps her a lot.  She doesn’t have to stress out about the academic part of school and she can just concentrate on developing her social skills.

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With my youngest daughter, I wasn’t as active, just because I already had Anastasia I could only do half of the things with the baby.  We still did the library and the music class, gymnastics and swimming.  Because my girls are only 18 months apart, they can be doing a lot of things together at the same time.

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Today my little one is 3.5, she can count till 30, she recognizes numbers to 10, she knows all of her shapes and colors, she knows her patterns, opposites, rhymes and sequencing.  We are working on letters and phonics.

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I started doing the workbooks with her too, and she loves it.  After we drop her sister to Pre-K, Tatiana runs home and says we have to do homework. We usually last for about 20 minutes.  When I go for a run, I put her in a jogging stroller, give her the ipad with educational games and she does math and language for another 30 minutes.

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I don’t know if all the prep work I have done with my girls will make them more advanced in one area or another, but I know that I did everything I could to set them up for success.

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