Found Object Lessons

Preschool at my house is a low key, homemade affair. In fact I don't call it preschool at all, it's just life. Sometimes life is pleasantly slow and full of free connections that my toddlers create independently.

My 2 year old was enamored of the newly emptied baking powder container. When I handed it to him and saw how perfectly it fit his chubby hands I had to laugh. It looked made for him. Immediately he sat down to screw the lid on and off and then flip open and shut the flip side of the lid. He looked up at me from time to time to make sure I was sharing the delight. Quickly I cannibalized a board game for plastic counting chips. My son then slowly and deliberately dropped in each piece as I counted for him. We did this approximately a billion times. I was just glad I had only found 12 counting pieces.
Learning/playing in an empty cupboard while wearing jammies; life doesn't get much better.

My two toddlers love the book "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom", by Bill Martin Jr. I don't know which is more appealing to them, the rhythm, or their toddler fascination with all things that fall. One day after reading the book my 3 yo suddenly exclaimed something I didn't understand and ran off. He came back with an old box of wooden magnetic letters and proceeded to open the book to the inside cover and match the magnet letters to the drawing. The fonts were almost identical. Not a formal lesson, not an object lesson, merely a free found-object lesson.

This post is linked to Thirsty Thursday- have fun.


The Great Penguin Search

While I was out schlepping the girls to their band practice my 17 yo, Luke, stayed home to babysit his youngest brothers. While I was still out I got a phone call from Luke that raised the hair on my head. There was a strained quality to Luke's voice that had me on instant alert- until I realized that his voice was strained because Luke was struggling to speak without laughing.


"What's wrong, are the Littles up?", I asked in a panic.

"Um, yes I just called to-"

"Have they eaten?" I interrupted.

"Yes, they're fine, I just wanted to tell you that I was explaining to them about penguins and showed them a bunch of pictures on the computer." Luke continued, now snorting more uncontrollably.

My hair settled back on my head and I was able to listen to the rest of the story.

Evidently after Luke showed his little brothers pictures of penguins and explained that penguins live in cold places on ice, he then left the den for a moment. Passing through the kitchen on the way back to the den he discovered the two yo standing on a stool in front of the wide open freezer searching inside it for... penguins.


Chartres Cathedral

In 2000 my husband shot this footage while on a job in France. The amazing thing is that the audio was captured by the video camera.

Very peaceful. Enjoy.

This is part of the Mom Link Round up, enjoy all the links!


Where Charlotte Mason Left Off

At the beginning of September my 15 yo and I were working on her goals for the school year. Science is not her favorite subject; it became late and we got a little punchy. We ended up designing a video-education curriculum for high school sciences.

Actual facts and real information contained in the following curriculum are entirely spurious and purely coincidental:

For Horticulture- The Happening

Astronomy- Deep Impact

Physics- The Matrix

Biology- Evolution

Geology- Dante's Peak

Climatology- The Day After Tomorrow

Oceanography- Waterworld

Criminology- Minority Report

Pschology- Rear Window

My apologies to Charlotte Mason.


Veteran Home Schooler?

I’ve always found it a curiosity that the term “veteran home schooler” has become a title signifying required respect. “So and So, a veteran home schooler, is giving a lecture on how to teach Klingon to fulfill high school language requirements,” or, “so and so, a veteran home schooler talks about how to make algebra your child’s newest hobby.” The term “veteran homeschooler” alone is supposed to denote authority, competence and success, and cause you to buy their seminar/product/philosophy/tutorial.

To my twisted mind it always brings up an image of a 37 year old woman wearing a denim jumper and flak jacket. In my imagination the "veteran" is talking into a microphone to a bevy female spectators as she shoots a barrage of flashcards out of a cannon into an opposing ditch filled with her offspring. The offspring are warding off the flashcards with an assortment of shields made of pots, pans, Harry Potter hardbacks and Bionicle warriors. The bevy of spectators file up to buy the flashcard system as soon as the children are led off for a snack.

Am I perhaps a tad cynical? Am I experiencing a wee bit of home schooling burn out? Perhaps. However, ponder a moment. How does one cross the line from home schooler to “veteran” home schooler? What are the requirements?

Is veteran status earned merely after a certain set number of years in the trenches? If so when do you start counting? At birth, at age 5? Are years home schooling with greater challenges weighted like A.P. classes are? For instance, every year you home school while pregnant or nursing could count as 2 regular years. Every year spent teaching beginning reading counts as 2 1/2 years, etc.

Does veteran status require a certain number of children in your home school? If so, are you disqualified from ever achieving veteran status if not all of your children are home schooled or if you only have 1? Are you given faster promotion to veteran if your children are unusually close in age. What about extra credit for an especially aggravating child?

Does graduating your oldest from high school instantly qualify you as a veteran? Does it count if you didn’t home school the entire 12 years? Relatedly, does veteran status require having your child/children accepted to college? Or does it require having children accepted to Ivy League Universities? What if they drop-out of college to move to a remote missionary post? Can your veteran status be revoked?

Who is the accrediting body anyway?

I prefer another term, "Mother." Hopefully "Mother" connotes love rather than war, as well as implying warmth and dedication. I want to be a mother, a good mother. One that just happens to also organize my children's education at home. One that doesn’t claim to know everything but is willing and ready to learn with my kids. One that doesn’t’ have to run in circles following the latest guru; one that can fall down and get back up.

However, if I ever have twins that are still nursing while I'm concurrently teaching reading and high school chemistry all while traveling in an R.V. on a history tour of America- I want the appellation of "veteran" instantly granted.