Monday, February 27, 2012

WHY???


I remember the days, not that long ago, when I allowed myself the pleasure of day dreaming a bit about homeschooling my children. You know the 'perfect-world' type of dreams. We would notice and discuss the world around us. Discovering answers to questions together (in a timely fashion, no less). I anticipated learning to be easy, ordered, completely stress free and lots of fun.

Now, though, I understand learning from the other side of the fence. And I've discovered that those picture-book day dreams sometimes do happen, on the odd occasion. But reality dictates that life isn't always quite as orderly as I would like. The questions which get asked as we are running out the door to get to swimming lessons on time, have the ability to take my breath away in amazement while at the same time leave me trembling in horror at the thought of having to answer them!

You know THOSE questions - the ones which can't be passed off with a sidelong glance or quick comment. The ones whose answer is either way too much to even contemplate, or maybe need a quick visit with 'google' first or more often than not in our household, they are dedicated to Daddy.
A few which have come from our home recently:





Well, as yet, I haven't pulled all my hair out in exasperation. I must admit to discovering a pretty clever idea while reading this book. It's been getting a lot of use while making my life a lot easier. It's our WHY Board. Isn't it nifty?


Questions can get added at any time of day or night, by anyone who so desires. And better still - I don't have to search through my mental database for the answers quite as often. Sometimes the questions remain for quite a while. Other's may be answered in a conversation just an hour later. Some may never get answered. But the whole point is that they are getting asked. The best thing is that the incredible minds which reside in our home are getting a constant workout in a productive way.


This one was vocalised while taking a trip on a train. At that particular moment I was rather busy with getting 4 children and one pram off the train and keeping us all together in one of  the busiest train stations in this part of the world, so a half-hearted comment was produced. I kept thinking how great it would be to actually demonstrate this - so onto the WHY Board it went. And thanks to Daddy and Thomas the Tank Engine, the "stretcher parts" on a train now have a totally new meaning.





It's such a simple idea, fun to have on the kitchen wall and makes the greatest conversation piece for all who are around!!






Linking up with friends:


Photobucket

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

On Our Shelves

An assortment of activities - carefully planned, created and chosen for the current week - sits on Alexander's shelf. All waiting for a turn, sitting in silence while yelling "pick me, pick me". Each morning as school time ticks by, the decision becomes a very serious affair. Each different basket, box or tray holds a challenge for the young man in question. The Montessori training shows it's value in full light as my boy decides, with concentrated deliberation, on his chosen 'work'. He proceeds to work away at the chosen task with interest until the challenge is conquered. At which time it is replaced and time has come for yet another decision, which activity this time . . . .  ?




"I can do 'real' puzzles now!" he exclaims in triumph.



Combine animals, habitats and a matching game and the result is many discussions and more learning than I had ever anticipated. After all, a frog may live in the lake and in trees, a beaver is just a very strange looking creature never previously encountered by this boy, and ducks, should they go with the lake or the farm? Such great dilemma's we encountered here.

This file folder was from here.


He has been really interested in numbers lately, so, being a very thoughtful, observant Mummy, I decided to find some number activities for him. I started with matching activities from 1 to 5, thinking this would be the right amount of challenge without being just too complex.

Oh dear, us Mum's get it SO wrong sometimes. He proceeded to find the extra cards and match the numbers up to 10. THEN found a book of dot-to-dots using numbers up to 20 and completed the entire book!! Obviously he has been learning all this while I've been looking the other way, somehow! Just how does this happen?

This number matching activity was free from here.


The old faithful peg board has made it's appearance once again. It's timeless appeal has been enjoyed for about 30 years now. Crossing a couple generations and many children in between, it is still a favourite activity, enjoyed once more by the young ones of the family.


Boys and Building are a mix which blend together very nicely indeed, I've discovered. 
This box of timber has created space ships, motor bikes, cars, trucks . . . . . and so much more.



This isn't technically one of our 'shelf' activities but it's been brought out by my girl once again and I've been so impressed by her concentration as she completes each weaving project. Last time she worked with this her attention span was rather limited and frustration seemed to mount by the minute. This week though she has really delighted in the repetitive weaving.




Saturday, February 18, 2012

Favourite Things

Favourite things is my way noticing the little moments in between the hussle and bussle of life. Those beautiful, little moments which I want to hold in my memory.


Moments Like:


My Corner - It's been a long awaited dream to have a comfy chair somewhere in a cosy corner of our home. It's just for me, "Mummy's Corner" it's been christened. Oh, how I'm enjoying it. Beauty, books, coffee, candles, flowers and me - it's a good mix!



School folders all decorated and organized. It's such a simple little thing but it fills me with joy when I look at the lovely way these folders are decorated and knowing that inside them is an organizer's dream (rather than a heap of papers thrown in some unordered fashion!).




Breakfast by the water. It's a beautiful little cafe we discovered 4 years ago and somehow took us that long to experience the delight in this quirky, atmospheric, beautiful place.

Swimming, paddling and picnicing on a beautiful Queensland summer's day. Life's good!


It's been a big day for one of us. Such contentment as he sleeps in the midst of the picnic happening all around him. Bliss.







I'm linking up with:

friday favorite things | finding joy

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Drawing Lessons


Drawing - just the word sends shudders down my spine. Not me. Definitely nothing more than the most basic of stick-figures comes from my hand. Never really has in fact. I do remember trying oh so hard in high school art, trying being the word to note here. My sketching ability hasn't improved with age regardless of all my good intentions. I do admire my Grandmother's ability with the brush and watercolours but somehow I'm sure I missed inheriting the artistic gene.





My children on the other hand - now here's a different story. My biggest boy loves drawing and does a pretty good job of it too. (It's a secret, so please don't tell - I've been known to be a slight bit envious at his effortless ability to make a blank page tell a story so elegantly.) My girl is a doodler and her drawing repertoire is influenced by princesses, butterflies, pink, swirls and hearts. My Xander Boy decorates his papers with the cutest people, usually him with his Mummy (ahh so sweet!) complete with rather large belly buttons. Hmmmm.

So.....   


I decided to be rather brave this year and 'teach' them drawing. Stop laughing now please. Me. . . . 'teach' . . . . drawing. It's a rather humorous idea, I do concede.

But, we've been working away at this long enough now to feel the initial excitement may be wearing thin and the real feelings are showing through. And I'm rather impressed. Yep. Impressed I say. Surprised and impressed.

Drawing lessons are the most anticipated afternoon of the week. It's devastating when it gets postponed a day for whatever reason. Now that's saying something. And the most impressive part of all - the drawings are rather good. Even my 4 year old's unconventional grip on the pen seems to wield a picture worthy of including in his art journal. After it's been the centre feature on our wall first of course. 


This book has been so easy to follow. A little bit of preparation on my behalf - but then I'm trying to 'teach' a 4, 6 and 8 year old while learning myself and looking after a crawling bub. All at different levels and well, no wonder I need to be prepared. I had heard about this book via the grapevine a couple times last year so decided to take the plunge. And I'm so glad I did. It's fun, it's enjoyable, it's easy and even I feel like there might be a glimmer of hope that my stick figures might become something a little more glamorous.