Monday, September 12, 2011

H is for...

So I decided now that we are back from our vacation, to get to work on "schooling" the kids, or unschooling, or homeschooling, or whatever you call it when you sing songs, play games, make cookies and have fun in some kind of organized fashion. It feels very official with new backpacks, notebooks and crayons for sure. And their rain boots just kill me. We are still plugging away with letter themes. Maybe by the time they are 18 we will be on the letter Z. I am not using any curriculum whole heatedly, or any particular philosophy as my singular guide. I like aspects of Montessori and Waldorf pedagogy and yet I like the organization of a more traditional education. I want to teach my children to read as early as they show interest so that is our area of focus with Anastasia at least, and we are working through "Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons" which is working beautifully for Anastasia. It is short, I skip through a good bunch of the exercises that bore Anastasia, and hopefully by Christmas she will be reading. But if she isn't I am not going to freak out about it. I think that is why I am homeschooling. So my children don't have to fit into any mold, especially a government-run mold. That being said, homeschooling isn't for everyone, and that is fine too. I secretly wish my inner convictions granted me the freedom to send my kids away for 8 hours a day aboard that big yellow bus. That bus always seems to drive by my house when my kids are fussing and fighting, taunting me in that obnoxious yellow sort-of way. Imagine sending my kids off and knitting all day. But instead I make little boxes of sensory exploration:
This is our Apple Orchard Sensory Tray. We are learning the letter "H" this week, which is why there are Horses in it. Also included are apples (plastic and wooden), pails, baskets, Spanish moss from the $store, various wooden trees, scoops, pie tin, pom poms galore, blocks for fences and hidden in the bottom is a bag of cranberry apple tea for that yummy "apple" smell! And then I made a fall box, or as we call it, our Hedgehog box. Beans, silk leaves, wooden branch slices, wooden apples, wooden acorns, mushrooms, pine cones, pom poms (I am on a pompom kick!!) moss, scoops, cups for making fall beverages, wooden hedgies and hidden in the bottom is a bag of Chai tea for a nice smell. Opening this box smells divine!

I also made some Montessori inspired trays of activities. My real hope and desire was to come up with things to keep Isabel busy while I work on reading with Anastasia.

Marble spooning (the leaf dishes were in the dollar section at Michael's).

Pompom sorting with little tongs.

Counting leaves (this is a bit advanced for them right now).

Sticking with the "H" theme we read Hedgie's Surprise by Jann Brett and made Hedgehog cookies as our baking activity. I love the Waldorf concept of daily and weekly rhythm so Monday is our baking day. We sang Happy songs and did the Hokey Pokey and played Hide and Seek.

Oh, and can you believe how big and handsome this little man is? I can't stand how cute he is. He is such a perfect, happy, cuddly baby. He is the kind of baby that makes people want lots of babies. Only I know what other genes are in our pool... and that scares me. hahaha.

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