Monday, November 15, 2010

Just the basics

I got an email today from simple homeschool about remembering the basics as a spine for your homeschooling. Everything else? It's gravy. I struggle as every homeschooler parent does with the "what if" question. 

  • What if we're not doing enough?
  • What if my children aren't being challanged enough?
  • What if they decide to go to public school one day and they learn that I have handicaped them both socially as well as academicly? 
  • What if they can't ever get a good job or go to collage?
  • What if I've ruined my kids by keeping them home?
  • What if....What if.....What if....

"The bare minimum a family should do is to surround your children with literature and to do math at least once a week."  ~Jena

"Education is not something which the teacher does, but a natural process which develops spontaneously in the human being". ~Maria Montessori

So whats the minimum you need? What is 'enough'? Books to be sure. I don't think anyone would argue that having books (fiction & nonfiction) in your home is a good thing. It promotes literacy, it increases vocabulary and attention span, it prompts the imagination. 

After that? I vote...

Craft supplies! All things can be accomplished with craft supplies. (including math) It provides endless entertainment, puppets for stories, hopscotch makings, things to count and cardboard numbers.

Remember the basics, everything else is just gravy. 

Monday, November 8, 2010

Preschool Main lesson books

Main Lesson books are something used in waldorf schools and provide a space for all the childrens best work as well as a living textbook made by the child themselves. Traditionally a waldorf preschooler would never have a main lesson book as they do no formal lesson work but I like having a place to keep 'samples' of his work throughout the year. It provides a good place to see progress over the years and it is a built in scrapbook.

First page of our lesson book. Letter A. sticks from the yard which Loch put into an A form and I helped glue down.

The #1. Represented by a painted 'sun' and a painted (and glittered) number one.

'Things of Summer' Objects collected on a walk and glued onto the paper with his crayon colored grass.

F for Feathers H for House - Loch lacks the fine motor control to be able to write, draw, or paint letters and numbers so instead we make use of our glue and craft items.

Michealmas dragon nature collage and a picture of Loch making orange playdough.

The number four represented by squares. This particular square collage is a robot, with a hulahoop.

Fall collage and painting

First 'lapbook' inspired to make a halloween lapbook. On the left is a candy matching game. Middle is a story kitty, story was verbally told to me and I wrote it down, on the right is a spider colored by Loch and I wrote in the answers he gave me about that spider. (Where he lives, what he eats, number of eyes/legs etc)

Friday, November 5, 2010

A lesson learned

Yesterday was the waldorf pre-k coop day and I learned a lesson I hope to try and remember.
Loch is 3 1/2 and has never ever ever liked circle time. He didn't like it at 8 months old and he doesn't like it now. This of course can make things like library story times or waldorf play groups.... challenging. I've tried to come to grips with it and I stand in the circle with the baby and Loch goes off and plays with sticks or what have you. The rule is that he can do pretty much whatever he wants as long as he doesn't interfere and disturb the people that DO want to participate in circle time.

Yesterday it was par for the course, them comes the walk around the field, Loch wants to go! (Yippeee!) Okay we get about 20 feet into or group walk, 'we' get distracted by a sign with a picture of a goose on it. I wait, I wait, I do the baby jiggle dance and try to urge Loch to catch up to the group. I take a breath.


No. Instead ' we' lay in the middle of the path and make snow angels.

Okay fine. Take a breath mama. That's okay. But after 15 minutes I'm cold and I want to go inside for craft and snack.

' we' want to lay in the snow forever. Begging, pleading, bribing, nothing works. A little lightbulb goes off in my head. I start singing 'The ants go marching one by one' and start marching down the path. At first? nothing. No response at all but the baby things it is hilarious so at least he's happy and interested. After marching down and back three or four times the boy child starts to wonder what is crazy mommy is doing... he stands up... he looks. he creeps up..... I make another turn and start down the path again.

"Wait Mommy! Wait for me!"

YAY! He is comming! he is even smiling while he does it! Wooooooooooo!

My lesson. Take a breath. Remember that his priorities are different from mine. Remember that when time isn't a factor, that when we don't 'have' to be anywhere to just relax. Let go. Try and enjoy the ride. And when in doubt start singing. If nothing else at least the baby thinks I'm funny.