Sunday, April 16, 2006

New Easter Tradition

We're in a different zone now so planting coincides nicely with the Easter week. Today the Easter bunny brought the children each a set of gardening gloves and a seed set. We have planted the sunflower house and now we're onto the butterfly garden! WOOT WOOT!

For you guys who haven't had the pleasure yet of experiencing a sunflower house, here is the book that initially set us off a few years ago:

Bunting 's Sunflower House

Here's my children and a couple of cute guests in a young one we were growing a few years ago, and one of the girlie as well.

And here's some forum discussing it:

Garden Web

It's basically a plot of sunflowers, set in a square or a circle. When it grows, it becomes a playhouse. Similar to a bean teepee (which we do as well), you just grow something they can play with and eat

Thursday, April 06, 2006

From a homeschool board

They had a getting to know you day, and this was that post.

ETA my old homeschool page. Haven't really updated with the newer homeschool pix. These are all from our life in Charleston!

What are your kids’ ages and pseudonyms?

G – 5.5 ; N – 3.5; D - 15 mos

How long have you been home schooling? Is there a story behind it?

We have been homeschooling for about 2.5 years. When we lived in Charleston there was a public Montessori school for which G was wait-listed. Determined that she would not be out of her element when she started, I researched Montessori and started homeschooling her. When N came of age, (the first sensitive period in Montessori is 3-6 yrs) I pulled him in as well. D has his own little sensory shelf in the schoolroom now as well.

When I started to see G respond to the work, and blossom into this amazing little learning machine with little encouragement or effort on my part, two things happened. I began to BELIEVE in the truth of the prepared environment and the children’s house, and I realized I no more wanted to share watching her learn these things than I did her first steps.

I honestly feel that there are school and environments that could provide G with an excellent education of which I would approve; however, to private school my children would require 1500.00 a month. That’s crazy talk.

Does your home school have a name or a mission statement?

No, but I do fancy the phrase “Free Range Childhood”

What is your general home schooling philosophy?

The child wants to learn, and it is my job to encourage them and assist them wherever their fancy takes them. I want to teach them the facts and the nuts and bolts early so that they have a platform later for philosophy and discovery.

Children are far smarter and more capable than society in general gives them credit for.

Do you use a curriculum?
No. We do, however, pattern much after Montessori. We incorporate Waldorf-influenced art and puppetry, and classical reading. We use Music Together curriculum when we need a structure fix.

Do you or your children have any special interests or hobbies that influence your home schooling?
Music is a huge focus in our house. The children are learning instruments and constantly enjoying music. We are currently discussing with them what outside classes they want to take, such as when G took ballet for a year. We are looking into a homeschool scouting group that is forming here.

What is your typical daily routine? weekly routine?
We act like unschoolers. I am dismayed that their best work cycle appears to be in the early evening, when I am most tired!

On Mondays, it’s totally a no-structure day. They get carte blanche TV time and whatever they want goes.

Tuesdays is farm and friends day and we usually go out for lunch.

Fridays are usually play dates of some form or another.

Do you have any special methods/tips for planning? household organization? storage? record keeping?

We do not keep records, other than the whole brag book kind of thing. G was never registered for schools so we are completely under the radar until she is 8.

I do keep manuals here for how to introduce the Montessori materials, and we try to plan ahead to participate in community festivals and holidays as much as possible. We maintain memberships to the children’s museum and the science center.

We have a room that is solely for the school materials and my desk. It’s way cool and we decorate the walls with the alphabet and with their art.

Tell us what you did today!

Today they all have colds so it’s a down day. They made paper crafts just after breakfast, we made crayons with the crayon maker. Later they will finish painting some wood crafts we bought, that they have already primed.
Yesterday G counted to one thousand for the first time.

Me? It’s laundry running day!

Thank you!

I belong to Montessori makers ( a yahoo group) and yes Michael Olaf is a hero. I purchased the insets, the sandpaper letters and some golden bead material, but everything else is either made or tweaked to the purpose. I use Le-Chin's Montessori notebook and Montessori's Handbook.

I think the pure education aspects of Montessori work in our home--the analytical thought, the child-led curiousity, the older child-younger child modelling, etc-- but the reason I say we are Montessori based is because I cannot sustain the peaceful environment we're supposed to have. My house is not always chaos, but it's definitely not neat and clean on an hourly basis. It's not quiet, and it's not usually beautiful.

You have really given me some placenta guilt for not showing what they're doing lately. I need to get a new page up!