" Some days we paint with large bold strokes, like when someone finishes a book report or gets a piece of music ready for performing. Most of our days are softer in color. A little dab here a little dab there, following a rough draft, but allowing ourselves to paint outside the lines when we want too. " ~ Deborah Jean
Wednesday, September 29, 2010
Friday, September 24, 2010
From Faerie Houses and forts to furniture made with " nature's offerings" ( and a few choice pieces of scrap wood from behind the shed) our 12 year old daughter created her first piece of WOODLAND ~ FURNITURE!
I'm still shaking my head at how she did it... I know, with a hammer and nails of course! And a great amount of IMAGINATION and INGENUITY!
She fashioned the arched detail with branches and twigs.
And the legs from left over stumps she found in the cut wood pile.
This post has been entered in the next Hands on Homeschool Blog Carnival hosted by Jimmies Collage on October 11th 2010!
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
NOTE TO HOME TEACHER: Let go for now, and RELAX. He will READ and WRITE someday..:) I've learned so much from our son. He has taught me more than anyone that learning happens when the student is ready and in their own way. Even more, he has taught me that patience is key , no matter what or how you are learning. He's doing great! I'm still a work in progress however.
I worried ( of course ) that perhaps I should be making him "work more" but my heart told me other wise...He was happier ( not in an I got my way happier, but with a peaceful joy ) with busy hands and I knew he was building other things too. He was building the confidence he would need to learn other skills as he grew older.
It's no wonder I fell in love with Charlotte Mason's gentle learning approach for the elementary ages. I was so thrilled to discover that some of the ideas I was experimenting with intuitively were the very foundation of her teaching philosophy. She was a firm believer in making it a daily habit for short but well executed lessons, then on to other things usually outside IN NATURE that would engage and delight the child for hours on end. She encouraged Nature journals, and Narration which we soon added to our " bag of homeschooling tricks". Narration has gone by the wayside as our children have grown and become strong independent readers, but I'm happy to say nature journaling is still alive and well and encouraged in the Oak Meadow curriculum we currently use.
fast she finished, NOT if the answers were correct or even legible. Most of the time she was right and sometimes I could read what she wrote, but the best part of the whole exercise was to watch her beam at her accomplishment's!
NOTE TO HOME TEACHER: ... This girl loves a challenge and thrives on seeing things through to the finish line... She's taught me a lot about being competitive. She has a thirst for learning and the drive to get her anywhere she chooses to go... I knew this when she was three. She's a builder too. Blocks, paper and tape were her favorite items to use when she was in the "construction" phase of her growing up. She would whiz through her " busy work" then get her hands busy as fast as she could building something. Sometimes the living room was turned into a private fort just for her and her favorite stuffed animal friends, and other times the floor would be covered with paper villages she had constructed from paper and tape.
And to think some people think it's boring staying home with young children!
To this day our children still build with their hands. It's nothing I instilled. I just nurtured what was already there and natural to begin with.
Building anything is pure PLAY to a young child and can be the same for you if you are still open to it!
The art of playing and a love of nature is something I hope will stay alive in our children all of their days.
* the point of featuring these hand painted NERF GUNS IS for ARTS sake only. I think they make an interesting canvas, don't you?
Busy Hands busy work or both? I would love to hear about what your children create with their BUSY HANDS!
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Whether you are just beginning to explore homeschooling or you are an " old pro ", there is much food for thought about the varied teaching philosophies and approaches to homeschooling. In addition, there's no shortage of curriculum's and learning materials to choose from which speaks volumes for how much the homeschooling movement has grown. For many homeschooling parents the choices can be overwhelming when trying to choose learning materials for their children. After all, every child is unique in how they gather and process information. This is one of the many joy's of homeschooling!
With a little strategic intuition you can CREATE a happy home and an enriching learning environment for YOUR whole family...
While knowing and understanding how your children learn is important, it is equally important to have realistic expectations of yourself as to how you will approach your homeschooling days. If you know you are not big on routine, or high on structured text book learning, you will have a hard time selling your children on that kind of program too. Don't panic! Just live! In other words, learning happens all the time. While you are busy reading late into the night then lying awake the rest of it worrying, your children are growing and learning anyway... Finding your style takes time. In the mean time...
- Share your interests and passions with your children. Do you love to read, draw , sing, paint, ride horses, garden, watch baseball, sew, knit, run, swim,?
- Read allowed to your children daily.
- Go to the library and let them check out books they like. Tuck in a few you want to introduce as well.
- Plan fun field trips! Visit nearby nature centers, art galleries, natural history museums, science museums,
- Schedule time with family and friends along the way. Invite grandparents to science fairs, art shows,music recitals and important ceremonies or award nights for your children
- Volunteer, care for animals, garden, create, dance, make music, grocery shop... you get the idea!
LEARNING and LIFE go together!
Sunday, September 12, 2010
Nothing says back to school more than a wave goodbye to neighborhood friends as they board the school bus while we slowly return to our tried and true homeschool routine. I'll admit, we've had some bumpy starts in past years. As a homeschool teacher and mom, I'm always excited to begin a new year. I love the feeling of a fresh start, new books, untapped areas of learning, and the sense of adventure as we enter into a new season of learning. That being said, I've learned that my children do not share the same level of enthusiasm...Even with all the freedom they do have throughout the school year to persue their own interests and passions, the thought of buckling down with assigned work is just that, WORK! So... this year will be different... I'm keeping all that excitement under my homeschool hat, and planning a more gentle entry into the new year.
Take a peak at my Not Back to School tips for a smooth transition this year!
1.) In mid to late August start DE-cluttering your "school room". For us that space is our den. We have book cases and desks that need clearing out to make room for new learning materials.... I toss out what isn't needed, store the remaining school work, art projects in storage boxes and donate the rest. If you're looking to make a few bucks back on your homeschooling books try EBay. If you don't want to be bothered with the selling process on EBay why not donate your books to a homeschool friend, lending library or your church?
2.) Plan a few near-by field trips for the months of September and October. While the weather is still pleasant for being out doors you can visit places that won't be as busy now that tourist season is over. It doesn't really matter if they coordinate with any lesson plan. These trips are just for fun and will be a welcome relief from text book learning to your kids who are adjusting to less outdoor freedom as the seasons change. We plan to visit three places that are with in an hour of where we live. The Cape Cod Potato Chip Factory, The Wampanoag Tribal Museum, and the Cape Cod Art Museum.
What could be better than to start the year off with a little road trip for some good old fashioned inspiration in American Entrepreneurship, History and Art?
3.) If you're like most of us, you probably have several house hold projects that didn't quite make it to the finish line this summer due to having fun! Grab your project list and get your older children involved in helping out! Here are a few examples...
Crown Molding~ Have your child measure the linear footage needed for one room. Purchase materials needed. Make sure you have the necessary tools to finish the job and schedule an installation day to complete the project.
Outdoor Painting~ If you have any outdoor painting that needs doing an older child can easily do some scraping and painting. Make it a family affair! I find if I have a big pot of chili cooking while we are all working together we have something yummy to look forward to when the work day is done!
Yard Clean-up~ Gather up the BBQ and summer furniture, clean and store it away for the fall/winter season...Clean and store garden tools etc...Reward yourself later in the season. Rake a nice big leaf pile and jump in!
4.) If you homeschool you've more than likely been asked if your kids do lessons in their p.j.'s. I'm not ashamed to say that we've had many p.j. homeschooling days while drinking hot cocoa and searching the Internet for an assignment or a word that needs defining. Why not be comfortable? It adds to a relaxed HOME ~ learning environment and we all know people learn better when they are relaxed!
Tell us, how do you get your NOT BACK TO SCHOOL homeschool engines running? Or not?
Here's wishing you a smooth start to your Homeschooling year!
Next Post: Creative Homeschooling ~ do it your way