Saturday, June 22, 2013

How we play (our curriculum)

So many people have asked lately what curriculum I am using for my homeschooling. I can honestly say, play is my curriculum! not the kind of "play" where they sit in front of the TV or iPad or other electronic devices (we limit these and use them sparingly so they feel like BIG TREATS when they get to use them)

But rather the kind of play that uses their imagination, life skills such as sharing and talking things out when someone hurts you. I find myself encouraging my children to "tell it to them" instead of "telling on them" when they are upset at someone for taking a toy. I'm right there encouraging them but they are using their words, not mine.

So how can play actually be a good foundation for a curriculum for my 2 yr old and 4 yr old?---all you preschool teachers might be wondering. Well, here's how:

When they do free play I am involved to either observe, encourage or interact.

They have free unlimited access to creative tools such as crayons, markets, scissors, paper, blocks, cars, trains, balls, stuffed animals, and books.

I read to them and with them OFTEN throughout the day. At least 3 times of me sitting down reading Bible stories, library books, hi-five magazines etc!

I answer every question they have. EVERY QUESTION! If I don't know the answer I look it up.

We play music in the background, we sing, we have dance parties, we play instruments LOUDLY, and we make instruments too!

We do crafts together...cutting, coloring, gluing.

We pretend to be race cars with our paper plate steering wheels, trains pushing our kid chairs lined up, trucks hauling each other in laundry baskets, etc.

We creat obstacle courses where we jump on the mini tramp, roll down the wedge mat, crawl through the tunnel, slide down our mini slide, crawl like animals, racing down our hallway!

We go on letter hunts and word hunts around the house.

We count forwards when we are waiting our turn, we count backwards when we play with our blast off space shuttle. We skip count going up the stairs. We count balloons after tossing them all over the house.

We collect and name the shape of the blocks as we put them away. We cut out, trace and color shapes. We are shape detectives with our magnifying glasses.

We learn our colors as we find the lost crayons and cap less markers

We sweep up our messes, sharing the coveted mini broom and dustpan.

We learn responsibility and work ethic by doing chores like feeding the fish and cat, getting dressed, and vacuuming/mopping the floor.

We build forts, we snuggle, we have tickle time, laughing like no one is listening!

90% of the play is child led. Meaning that they draw, build, color, create, explore what they want and I help build upon their learning with those teachable moments.

Yes I have worksheets that roman does...even Brooklyn has a school binder. But the attitude for learning is so great in our house that when I bring out the "school binder" filled with dry erase pages for them to practice tracing, counting, opposites, rhyming, connect the dots, writing letters and numbers, etc...they yell with excitement! And they always have the option at this age to keep free playing and come over in a few mins for the binder work. I keep in mind their attention span and don't expect them to do every page, just whatever their little brain wants to learn that day. I observe, encourage, and sit down with them on the floor "oohing and aweing" at their work.

This is our curriculum. They love learning and I love THAT!!!

Here are some pictures of our play

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Back before the supermarket

I often wonder how life would be different without the supermarket. Markets where people could buy dry goods, like canned foods for example, emerged in the early twentieth century. It wasn't until the 1930s and 40s that the "supermarket" changed shopping forever making it convenient for consumers to get their produce, meat, and dry goods all in one place. Seems like a great idea, and in my opinion it was until our human flesh and selfish desire to be greedy with our convenience took over. We now live in a world where canning is looked at as "a grandma thing to do" and homemade meals are considered any meal made at home (even if every ingredient is FROM A BOX!) We live in a convenience driven society where we rush our kids to soccer, softball, football, swimming, gymnastic, choir, and dance instead of teach them valuable skills of cooking, sewing, wood shop, landscaping, car repair etc
During those times we teach them way more than those skills; it's about the opportunity to pass on Godly values and character traits that can only be found in the hard work of servicing others.

Im a young mom who, maybe like some of you, feel the immense pressure to have it all: big house, lots of stuff, vacations multiple times a year, kids in as many activities as they possible can despite the cost, and a pet or two to round out the American dream. Well, I'm not giving in to that pressure. Why? Cuz it will drive me insane if that's my goal. Instead I have to remind myself DAILY that it's not about me. It's not even about my kids. Its about God. 100% God. What do I trust? Do I trust the Organic certification label on the foods I buy? No, I trust in God to protect me even when the organic label fails. Do I trust in the swim lesson t to save my child from drowning? No, I trust in God to protect my children. Now I'm not saying forego the organic food and swim lessons, but if you just can't afford either then there is a level of trust one should have in God who will provide. I can't worry every day and busy myself or my kids into thinking that life is about running around to multiple events week after week and sacrificing family time and valuable time with God.

What brought this post on was my quiet time the past few weeks. I've been able to consistently spend time with God, reading my Bible before the kids get up. I've noticed a drastic change in my temperament and attitude towards my kids and life in general. Starting the day out praising God as David did in the Psalms and reading a proverb or two for wisdom on how to raise my strong willed children and even reading a couple chapters of a book of the Bible (I just started Isaiah, so it a little rough right now unlike other books that are like stories and so captivating) allows me to really focus my intentions on God's will and not my own. I've gone from being quick tempered and raising my voice often at my children to being peaceful and soft spoken (yet firm).
It has been a HUGE difference. For me personally, I believe my obedience is directly related to my kids obedience. A friend from BSF mentioned that to me a couple months ago as I shared with her my struggles with my children just not listening to me and how mad that made me feel after all that I do for them the least they could do was listen! Really this was my reality. But my focus was all wrong! I was being selfish and my thoughts were guided by always getting them to behave. When the real problem was my misbehavior. I was being a two year old child of God...selfish, stubborn, emotional, and inconsistent. When I stopped doing that and put God first every day (even before checking email or FB) I noticed a radical change in me that was only from God! In so excited to see God work in our lives in the future! I hope this post inspires you to put God first in your life (whatever that looks like for you!)