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Archive for the ‘education’ Category

Science Rocks

I recently started doing simple science experiments with the kids. I really thought this would be all about Keagan, but Eden’s been having a blast too. Albeit,he’s getting more out of it, but the fact that these little projects keeps both kids happy AND occupied makes for a happy mama.

These have been super simple projects, Mixing oil and water, seeing if things float, that kind of  thing. I ask Keagan questions and answer his, trying to let him learn more from the experience than any “instruction.”  We’re all having a good time and Keagan is learning to love science. How great is that?! At this stage it’s just about thinking about how the world works. And keeping my very busy kids occupied.

I really hope I can continue to keep a lot of hands on activities as part of our daily lives. I think that there is so much to be gained through observation you make on your own versus that which you read in a book. Don’t get me wrong. We totally heart books around here. It’s just great to try things out for yourself 🙂

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We don’t own a television. Any time this comes up, after whoever is hearing this for the first time picks his or her jaw up off the floor they ask me “What do you do all day long?”

Another shocker to many is that my kids won’t be attending school and that, at least for now,  I am “unschooling” Keagan. *and Eden, learning begins at birth, right?

So I thought I would show what it is we do all day long and how we learn without any sort of formal curriculum or lesson plan.

Our day in words and pictures 🙂

We planted a tree.

We learned that even big things start small.

We planned our garden. We learned that food does not come from the store and that hard work has its benefits.

We played on the playground.

We learned the being flexible comes in handy in life and that patience is a virtue. (It’s hard to wait your turn for the slide!)

We explored.

We learned not all who wander are lost.

We looked at bugs. We learned that ants “go really, really fast.”

We played in the dirt.

Mama learned to let things go.

One of us napped in the sun.

We all got our vitamin d the old fashioned way.

We picked flowers. We made wishes.

We learned the world could use more wonder.

We hugged trees. Literally.

We learned to revere nature.

Keagan cut himself.

We learned a deep breath and a good snack make most problems feel smaller.

We met our neighbors. We talked. We learned that a smile goes a long way in life.

We played. Keagan with a doll. Eden with a truck. We defied gender stereotypes…

and realized how silly they are.

Some seriously window coloring went on…

and we learned that art comes in many mediums…

Sometimes even baby sister’s face.

We relaxed.

We loved one another.

We learned that the little things in life matter the most.

We played. We laughed. We colored. We sang.

We read books.

We learned that fantasy can help us better understand reality.

We played with pom-poms. We counted. We sorted. One of us learned what fuzzy tastes like.

We learned that some items have any uses.

We cooked. Okay. I cooked. Keagan “helped” and Eden snacked.

We counted, measured and timed as we did so.

We learned that sometimes hard work tastes really good.

We ate. We laughed some more. We played and sang some more. We tickled and loved. We lived.

We learned that your family is the people who are there for you at the end of the day.

All in all it was a pretty good day.

I don’t think we’re missing out on anything without the TV. I don’t think we’re missing out on anything without the boxed curriculum or preschool.  I think we’re doing just fine and making the best choices for our family.

What do you think? 🙂

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For the next two weeks Keagan’s homeschool theme is Halloween. We started today and we’re both already having a lot of fun!

Since we’re still going to do some letter work the next two weeks, we started with an “h” collage this morning.  Then we read three books to fit our letter theme, “Harry Hungry!” by Stephen Salerno, “Hippos Go Berserk” by Sandra Boynton (one of our favorite authors around here!) and “Halloween Kitten” by Mary Packard. The latter we found at the thrift shop for only a quarter- and it still had two sheets of stickers in it. I used it  as an into our Halloween activities.  After we finished the book, I wrote “Happy Halloween” on orange construction paper and Keagan used the stickers from the book to make a collage.  He loves sticker collages, but we don’t do them often as I think stickers are pretty wasteful. But hey, they came with the book, so we went for it. 🙂

After that, I cut some ghost shapes out. Keagan glued them on to black construction paper and then drew faces on them. I think they came out pretty cute. I’m also really happy that he’s stopped being afraid of ghosts. I contribute this to another thrift store find, a copy of “Gus was a Friendly Ghost” by Jane Thayer.  He’s insisted that I read it to him every day, several times a day since we picked it up last week.

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After that, we made a paper chain as a countdown to Halloween. Keagan loves to use gluesticks, so this was great for him.We talked about how we’d rip one link off every night from now until Halloween and then he’d go trick or treating. I explained to him that he’d dress up and get candy for the faeries and he’d get a gift the next day. He said “that’s right, Mama,” so I guess he’s on board with the idea of swapping candy for whatever a faerie might bring him.

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He’s napping now, but later on I am sure we’ll be back at it. I’d like to come up with a baking/cooking project he can help with that actually looks Halloween-y. I am not sure if we’ll come by it. We recently had dairy added to the list of things he can’t eat (a food already avoided for the household, but not strictly restricted previously for Keagan) and it seems that so many of the cutesy Halloween foods use cream cheese or sour cream etc. Maybe I can make goat’s cheese work.

Homeschooling has become so much fun with a holiday theme. I can’t wait for Christmastime. I am thinking all of December will be devoted to Christmas. There’s just so many possibilities and since we get to make our own timeline at home, I think we should embrace the joy of the season.

Well off to enjoy what’s left of naptime with my very awake six month old. I’ll leave you with Keagan’s art wall, something of which he’s oh so very proud.

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This week is “L” week for Keagan. Our main theme the week is leaves. I don’t schedule a ton of activities for Keagan, as I believe in child-led learning, especially at a young age, however, I plan a simple activity each day.

This week’s plans:

Today Leaf Rubbings (already done, he loved it!)
Wed: Leaf Walk, collect leaves for the rest of the week and talk about them, their colors, the autumn, etc
Thurs: Leaf collage
Fri: Tree activity, I’ll cut the base of a tree out and let him glue leaves on the top.

I skipped Monday, we had playgroup and afterward he ended up at the hospital (that’s my next post!) so we took the day off.

At some point, we’ll make a collage for L, we do one for each letter (cut things out of magazines that start with our letter for the week and Keagan glues them…. he doesn’t want to cut yet)

We may also make a Lion mask, depending on his interest, and we will read some lion books and talk about them a bit.

As we go through our days, I make an extra point to read books that fit with out theme, write the letter of the week on paper before he colors on it, find coloring sheets in his books that fit the theme, etc as well as talk about anything he finds interest in related to the theme. When there’s a good opportunity, we take a “field trip” like the leaf walk. We went to the pet store and bought a fish on “F” week and went to an apple orchard on “A” week etc. I don’t do the letters in order to make all of this easier. I am saving “C” for Christmastime and we’ll do “H” the week of Halloween, “T” the week of Thanksgiving. We’re going to do “Z” soon since I can’t think of any field trip other than the zoo for it and it’s going to be too nasty to go to the zoo soon, but we’ll run out of letters before the weather is nice again. I am saving “S” for when there is snow, but that will have to come without plan, since snow is hit or miss around here most years. If nothing else, I’ll save it for a planned trip to the mountains.

Anyway, there’s the rough idea of how we do “preschool.” Keagan likes these activities and the theme really helps to motivate me as much as teach him. We have a lot of fun together doing these things and because it’s flexible, it is very easy to work around Eden.

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I know before I was a mother, I had quite a few thoughts on parenting. I thought I had a good ideas as to how I would parent and I thought I had good reasons for these ideas.

For example: I thought that letting a baby cry it out for awhile was a totally normal, healthy practice. After having a child, I ended up hating “cry it out” and I actually ended up co-sleeping with my son. Co-sleeping scared me before I had a baby. But I don’t think I would have ever been rude to someone who chose co-sleeping for their family.

I also used to think that the baby DVD’s on the market were great and thought I would be using them when I had a child. Instead, we got rid of cable and my son has never really watched much tv/ movies. We have no plans on getting cable back. The more research we do on kids and TV the less we want Keagan around it. I know I would have thought someone who made this choice was a bit weird before I had my son, but I would not have tried to tell them they were parenting wrong.

I also thought breastfeeding a toddler was a bit odd. I knew I would nurse. I planned to for at least six months and probably about a year. Now my son is 13.5 months old and we have no plans of stopping any time soon. I educated myself about the benefits of nursing and I changed my mind. I know that being around nursing toddlers surprised me a bit. I found it a bit off putting, I will admit. But I never would have been rude to someone who chose to breastfeed beyond infancy. I think I have always understood that every family functions differently.

This weekend I came across someone who was downright snappy with me about nursing my son. I won’t get into details about it, but I was shocked at how rude this person (who does not yet have children) was to me. I know it comes out of fear and ignorance, but wow. I just tried to smile and reminded this person that the benefits of nursing don’t end the day a child turns one and refererred to the WHO’s recommendation to nurse until two. The person stopped talking but glared at me the whole time I nursed my son.

Maybe I am remembering myself a better person that I was, but as ignorant as I was about parenting before I was a parent, I NEVER was rude to someone. I know that it’s hard to understand how other families function, but I can’t imagine being rude to someone over something that didn’t affect me at all. I get plenty of flack for nursing my son from multiple sources, and I try to keep my head up. I know that what I am doing is right. I tell them the short version of why I am still nursing and most people just shut up and get over it. Most are just confused, not rude. This was different though. This was flat out rude.

I really hope I was never like that. Being a parent changes you. It’s changed me so much that I can hardly imagine ever being the person I was before I had my son, but I have always valued respect. I don’t care how ignorant someone is on a subject, they should always be respectful.

/end rant.

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Keagan’s third tooth cut through today and he was hardly fussy at all, thank goodness! I knew it was close. It’s his first top tooth and it has me worrying a bit about biting during nursing! I am sure it will be fine, though.

In other baby news, Keagan said a new word today! Dog! He loves our dogs, so I am not surprised that “dog” is among  his first words.

This is Max and Roxy 🙂

Max and Roxy

So far Keagan says:

Mama, Papa, Hi, Yeah, Boob, Dog and Boo (book)

Go baby, go 😀 It is so incredible to watch him learn and grow. He was so proud of “dog” tonight. He said it over and over and squealed with joy. It makes me so happy to see my little man thrive. I know it’s nothing amazing in the grand scheme of things, but to me it is such a miracle to see the way children (especially mine!) develop all around. Language skills are such a wonderful gift and it’s so amazing to watch these skills come into being. In the not terribly distant future, I will be able to hold a conversation with my little man. Wow.

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“Parents give up their rights when they drop the children off at public school.” -Texas Federal District Judge Melinda Harmon

I don’t plan on giving up any of my rights to my child, thank you very much.

Sheeesh.

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