Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Education We Choose

The great and wonderful thing about home-educating the kids is the freedom to explore a great diversity of interests in the manner we choose - the manner that best suits each child.  To connect with them on their terms, so that real learning occurs.  Not to be tied to whatever is on the agenda for a group of 30 kids in classroom A or B.  And, not even to be tied to MY agenda. 

My kids have a hunger for learning!  It is soooo evident with my littles, especially Miss A, who is five.  Here are some of the highlights from her day:

Science Tuesday
I purchased several Magic School Bus science kits for the littles.  Nothing formal here!!  All hands-on, living science.  Today we began using the kit "Secrets of Space" since Miss A has been really interested in planets and the night sky.  This kit is perfect for about ages 5-7.
  Its a really wacky 3-D of the solar system - she painted each planet according to its properties (eg Mars is red due to the iron in its soil) and positioned them according to distance from the sun. She LOVED this. So simple. And WACKY! 

Phonics - Spell to Write and Read (SWR) by Wanda Sanseri
Really focusing on the basics, letter formation and phonograms; putting sounds together to make words.  We do this in a number of ways.  Love the dry-erase whiteboard that comes with lines already marked - what we call the sky, the fence, and the ground - all reference points I learned about somewhere along the way. So the letter t will start at the sky and go down to the ground.  The letter a starts at the fence.  The letter j starts at the fence and goes into the ground. You get the idea.  I have two boards because M (almost 3) likes to practice her letters, too!  We also use little chalkboards, saltboxes (salt in a shallow tupperware) to form a letter with your finger, and our all-time favorite, Phonogram Bingo. Yeah!  Use smarties as the bingo markers and they get to eat them when the game is done!

Read Alouds
A staple in our family is story time.  Good quality literature, not the "junk-food-for-your-brain" stuff.  I try to incorporate a wide range of topic matter such as living math or living science, poetry, literature, etc.   For the littles, I'm using a mix of fun picture books and chapter books. I usually do read-alouds while baby K is sleeping. 

Lots of Outside Time
It was a beautiful fall day!  By late afternoon, it got quite hot considering its October! Can you count four of them on the tramp?

In pursuit of Sanctity
We have been gathering in the late evening with the olders for evening prayer which includes a look at the day just lived.  Looking at our blessings but also our sins and asking God's forgiveness in an "informal" sort of way (then get to Confession).  I think, in my family, most of us are doing this in our hearts and heads prior to closing our eyes to sleep, but we haven't been good about doing this as a family.  Its a good exercise to verbalize what you are thankful for each day!  Attitude of gratitude!

... and a little bit of sanity
I was able to knit ONE row while sitting on the deck watching the kids in the backyard. Yippee!! One row is progress nonetheless!  And tonight I have enjoyed some quiet time and managed to knit THREE rows.  I am almost done this sweater for Miss A and can't wait to post a pic!

Have a great day and thanks for peeking!

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