An Intrinsic Part of Our Lives

The Institutes program became an Intrinsic Part of Our Lives

My daughter, Clementine is now almost two and a half, and not a day goes by that the learning program is not an intrinsic part of our lives.Three weeks after Clementine’s birth, we began with the physical, reading (English and Chinese) and swimming program as outlined in the books on those respective subjects, followed by our math program at three months and then our encyclopedic program at around four months. 

At such a young age, I wasn’t able to gauge the effectiveness of the reading, math, or encyclopedic programs, but at 3 months Clementine was able to hold onto a dowel off the ground for 30 seconds as illustrated in the book and she enjoyed swimming and could swim underwater.

Her manual dexterity at a young age was incredibly advanced, feeding herself and drinking from a cup at five months. She also had an amazing ability to focus on something. 

Also of great joy to us was our ability to communicate, I began with the yes, no cards, and quickly moved on to just communicating with her, by asking her questions with one response a tap on one hand and another a tap on the other (for example: she might be pointing and making noises at one direction and I would say, “do you want ice?” and show her my right hand or, “do you want something to eat?” and show her my left hand).

Inspired by her progress, but with many questions, I enrolled in the How to Multiply Your Baby’s Intelligence course. The course was inspiring and gave me the necessary encouragement and tools to take our home program to the next level. (I should note that my husband attended the course a few months later). I came home and we started a music program in addition to our other programs.

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Aware that we were beginning to have discipline issues, i.e. playing with cat food from the cat food bowl, bopping another child on the head etc., I decided to enroll in the Graduate Course held two months later. That again, was an incredible program, and I began to include many problem solving opportunities into our program, introduced the Italian language as the third language I was teaching and most importantly I introduced “the Law” to our family. 

I will focus primarily on explaining on how “the Law” changed our lives. Literally after a week of introducing “the Law”, Clementine never took the cat food out of the bowl again, but instead on her own initiative would pick up stray bits of cat food and put them back in the bowl! 

I was relieved and still am relieved to not be one of those parents who constantly has to say, “no, don’t do…”, “no…”, “no…”, I would find that utterly exhausting. Instead, Clementine is a wonderfully behaved little person and when a new issue arises, our most recent one is the whining sounds she has learned to make, we just make a new law, and the problem over time is solved. I can’t wait till we begin our civil code program. 

At two, I was astounded when Clementine picked up a pair of chopsticks and proceeded to use them perfectly (I don’t hold my chopsticks correctly and no one made an effort to teach her, we do not use chopsticks every day, possibly 30% of the time). She has been feeding herself with a fork and knife and spoon for over a year and is very adept at spreading butter on bread.

Her manual competence is very high as is often demonstrated by her ability to open and close lipstick and turn the lipstick base so that the lipstick will come out to the right length, not to short, not too long, and then proceed to turn it so that the lipstick itself recedes and can be covered properly. 

She also holds her pencils and pens perfectly. Clementine started violin lessons at two, she knows three languages fluently, English, Mandarin Chinese, and Tagalog (one of the languages of the Philippines) and as much Italian as I know, which is a year’s worth of Italian following the Institutes texts.

Clementine and I have invented a few brachiation games (though her favorite is still the “Go Fish” brachiation game), we write in a diary, have been practicing writing words both using a white board and tracing over our words as well as the tracing tools the Institute sells. She is a fantastic swimmer, and can swim at least nine feet on her own. 

We have started our goal of 100 somersaults and I have so far counted her up to thirteen in a row by herself. She can recite a handful of poems, though “Happy Thoughts” is her favorite to date, and she loves to sing and dance.

Ballet is a particular favorite and once I saw her fascination for the subject, I introduced that into our learning program. I introduced Bit cards of ballet positions (fifth position her favorite at the moment) and Bits on famous ballet dancers. We incorporated the music program into her love for ballet and she has become very familiar with Swan Lake and Sleeping Beauty, both the music and ballet itself (which we watched on video).

She adores doing all the mimes for ballet and has a love for singing in all four languages! I am constantly amazed by her math abilities and she possesses very strong spatial perception/recognition. Her focus at age two also often surprises me. 

Yesterday, she sat through three hours of “the Sound of Music” the play at a local theater and was completely engaged in the performance (of course, she had already seen the movie and was familiar with the tunes). Most interesting is her ability for word play, something she has demonstrated since she began speaking. 

For instance, we were looking at a ballet book the other day and she pointed to a dancer who was costumed as the “Firebird”, she asked me to say out loud the word “Firebird” but then made a joke saying “no, Fireworks”, with the emphasis on “works”, something that we had seen earlier in the day and she laughed, knowing full well that the dancer was the “Firebird.” I could go on and on. We are so happy to be able to be a part of The Institutes.

By: Elayna, Hawa

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