Titus, his very name makes me smile and giggle. He is affectionate as he is funny. He runs around all day doing ninja kicks, saying funny stuff, and running up to us with hugs. He is also an introvert, although while Maddie is an Introvert/Introvert, Titus is an Extrovert/Introvert. He can sit and have conversations with almost anyone, but he prefers to work and learn closely with his daddy, grandpa, and Uncle Tim in that specific order. Titus is a farmer and builder at heart, he is constantly drawing inventions on paper and telling us in great detail what those inventions jobs are. His inventions almost always have a purposeful functionality to them. Thinking through how he can make his life and the lives around him easier. You can hear his heart and words ask am I brave, strong, and do I have what it takes. He needs us to tell him yes indeed he is brave, strong, and he does have what it takes. He needs to hear us say he does not have to nor will he tackle life on his own. We are here for the long haul!
He has always been able to watch someone do something, then go, and do what they did. When he was a year and a half he watched someone open a pop bottle, take a drink, and put the lid back on. He toddled over to the table, took down the pop bottle, opened it with his tiny fingers, and then screwed it back on. Mark and I looked at each other and said we need to be careful what we do in front of him. Learning is fairly easy for him, letter formation, number recognition, and sounding out words come fairly easy to him.
This year during his interview I asked him the same questions as his sisters. What did he want to learn, what did he not want to do this year, who are the people he likes to spend time with, and what is he interested in. He said he wants to build, farm, and drum. He told me he wants to spend time with daddy, Bahpa, and Uncle Tim, in that specific order. He also told me he wanted to start learning to read (showing an interest in love of learning). With the information he gave me and based upon the goals my husband and I have for Titus we came up with a game plan for him.
He does his chores in the morning like the girls do, he does his worksheet (which consist of cutting, gluing, and letter/number writing. The rest of the day he is free to build with legos, link-n-logs, or other building toys we have. Last spring we worked together as a family to clear a space for a garden. Titus then used his own money to purchase seeds and plants from our local hardware store for our garden. He and I went on a mommy and Titus date and since he was using his money he was the one who picked out the veggies, flowers, and fertilizer for the garden. We went home and began preparing to plant the garden! He was able to get a small scale experience of the joy of farming. He and his sisters were in charge of watering, weeding, and taking care of the garden throughout the summer. They were even rewarded tomatoes, cucumbers, and even two pumpkins from their pumpkin patch. We tried planting green beans but a rabbit I named Stew ate them, it’s luck we didn’t turn him into stew. During the gardening process they learned perseverance, patience, and to stick to a job until it’s done. They had to use a ruler to measure the spacing needed between the plants, Maddie read the directions on the back of the package, and they were rewarded in the fall for their hard work! Titus learned that not only was he blessed by his willingness to spend his money wisely, but he was also able to bless our family and friends around us with our garden abundance. Giving him the gift of farming, yet combining it with learning elements that are important to Mark and I in training him how to be an adult.
During the winter I would like to help Titus plant potted plants to keep around the house. They will be his babies to water, fertilize, and prune. This is a wonderful chance for Titus to learn responsibility early on. Learning to care for himself while learning to care for another living thing. This helps feed his love of farming indoors in Minnesota, purifies our air in home, and encourages learning as we research and talk about the various plants in our house. Learning about their origins, learning the science of how much sunlight to water ratio they need, and keeping a science journal to watch their progress.
Encouraging his love of building. There are simple building kits you can buy that include simple and direct steps allowing Titus to be able to see a reward in his work. Mark often does these projects with him and this gives them special and important one on one time. Titus learns to follow directions, take directions, and guidance. He also learns what happens when he does not follow directions, projects do not turn out the way he had hoped they would.
It is important to Mark and I that our kids learn early on the academics it takes to make their passion a success. When they can see that their sit down work has a purpose in the real world it makes the work more than tolerable, it makes it important to them. We have seen our kids begin to own their sit down work because it allows them to do real life faster. It allows them to skip count, making sure they have all their horses in the right pen faster. It allows them to be able to write letters, notes, and emails to important clients. It allows them to communicate properly making sure harry monsters are not growing in miscommunication. Gently pointing out and creating learning opportunities for them to see real life purpose in sit down work.
Titus’ new interest is playing the drums and the guitar. Before he can start either of those he is going to have to take piano lessons like Maddie did. I am excited to be able to give him the gift of practicing as often as he wants to. I am excited to watch my budding farmer, creative inventor, mighty machine driver, and his love for music to come alive. God has given Titus gifts and talents specific to him. He has a perfect plan for Titus and I want to be the mentor that allows him to pursue whichever direction God leads him. Who am I stand in God’s way with what he wants to do with his precious son.
Titus’ Required work:
Worksheets (2 at the most a day)
Structured learning time
Titus’ Inspired work:
It will surely be an adventure to watch my hands-on farmer, builder, and musician on his journey! God has great things in store for my compassionate, amazing young man!
I love how you are able to help your kids discover and evolve their interests. If Titus wants to be a farmer for a day this spring during planting season let me know! He could learn about GPS, corn, soybeans, selecting seed traits, etc.
Val, that would be awesome! Do you have any suggestions on any great books that would help dive into!
I just smile seeing Titus come around the corner. He cracks me up. I love that you have tailored things for your kids strengths.