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Spur of the Moment Learning

Spur of the Moment Learning

Scibble Art and Family Time

I have discovered a book that I absolutely LOVE! It is called the Artful Parent and many of you may know of Jean’s work from her blog, The Artful Parent. When I opened this book, I knew immediately that this was an art book that we could do! The activites are simple, and a bit different from the average kids art projects. The goal of these projects is to promote freedom of creativity while allowing children to try new things at the same time! I love that the projects are pretty and look like real art, not just kids projects! While looking through the book I found so many project that I knew we had to do. In fact, the other evening we did one of them that worked out SO well! The project was almost a game. The kids and I each got a piece of paper and a marker. For one minute we each scribbled on the paper any way we wanted. Then we passed the papers around to the person next to us. Next we had four minutes to look at the scribbles and find a picture in them. We used crayons to color it in. It was so cool to see what each person found in the others persons scribble! Here are some that we did:

DSCN3251Pup’s Scribble~ Bunny’s Art

DSCN3252Bunny’s Scribbles~ My Art

DSCN3253My Scribbles~ Pup’s Art

DSCN3254

DSCN3255

DSCN3256

DSCN3257

DSCN3258Pup’s Scribbles~ My Art

DSCN3259Bunny’s Scribbles~ Pup’s Art (Mermaids)

DSCN3261My Scribbles~ Bunny’s Art (Mermaids)

DSCN3263Bunny’s Scribbles~ My Art

DSCN3264Pup’s Scribbles~ Bunny’s Art (Giraffe)

DSCN3265

My Scribbles~ Pup’s Art (Fish)

 

What loved so much about this project is that the girls loved it, then had a chance to be really creative, and it was SO easy for me to just do it spur of the moment! A lot of the projects in the book require a bit more preparation, bit there are some others that are really easy to get together! It was such a great way to spend some fun family time with the girls while not needing a whole lot of prep. I think that we are going to have alot of fun this year with projects!
Do you have a favorite resource for art with kids? I would love to hear your favorites!
 Happy Summer!

 

Go Fly a Kite!



Today spring showed itself for real! It was 60 degrees, sunny and windy! We even had our first crocus! The girls found some kites in the garage and I suggested we head out to the park for some kite flying! It was always a tradition in my family to fly kites on Easter at my Grandma’s house. Its not Easter I know, but I realized that I dont think that my girls have ever gotten out to fly them! Yikes! So off we went! If you didnt see all the ice on the lake, it would look just like spring! However, I know that it is only a tease! We will have snow again by mid week (or so they say)!

 
After we put the kites away, the girls wanted to explore the ice pack on the shore of the lake! So we did. Who doesnt love HUGE chunks of ice! Dont worry, no one went out on it, we just stepped on the edges!
 

 
I hope you had a happy weekend too! We are back to school and work tomorrow! See you then! Happy {almost} Spring!


Old Time Mill (and some electrcity examples)!

Today we headed out to a park for a walk in the sunshine, the fall colors, and the fresh air! It was such a great day we went out by the Maumee River and it was beautiful! I tried to get some cute pictures of the girls for some of my frames and I think I got a couple! We walked along the river and watched the water, looked at the leaves, and just were! They loved looking at all the different bridges we came to and we even got to wander over one. I love the magic of bridges. They seem so full of new places to go and explore, plus they are so pretty!

 
As we walked, we ended up down by the old mill! The building is various ages depending when there was damages, but the oldest part is nearly 165 years old! WOW! It was closed when we were there, but by luck, we ran into a volunteer who was doing building maintenance and he let us in and gave is a tour! He was just fabulous and showing is what was there and how it was used for many different things over the years! Not only did it grind grains into flour, but it was a saw mill (it is still used as that) and it also had a generator that powered all the electricity in the ares for a while! Yes it has quite a history! Bunny really thought it was cool to see the generator and with the study we did earlier in the week about power plants, she thought it was interesting to see how it worked! He also showed us all the ways that grain grinding has been done. He gave Bunny a handful of wheat which she took home and ground up with our mortal and pestle to make her own wheat! It was really fascinating and such an awesome opportunity to see all of this on our own!
 

This is the generator that ran the electricity.

Here is where they water from the canal to run the generator.

Here is the different kinds of grains with the flour they make! It was interesting to see them side by side.

Hand grinding flour.

View from the third floor.

 
It was such a great family day and I love having these moments together. I know I say that every time, but it is really true! I guess we are park people! 😉 I hope you are enjoying fall and all that comes with it. I will back tomorrow with some ideas and plans for our studies! Stop on back then! Happy Weekend!




Ocean Research

Today we headed out to the zoo again! This time we were ready to really look at the underwater animals! Bunny, Pup and I have been reading all sorts of books about the ocean and so it was fun to go and see all the things that we had read about! Bunny was really interested in the turtles! We started our adventure with lunch sitting by the cheetahs. While we ate I asked Bunny to tell me what she thought she would like to know about turtles. We talked about it for a bit and came up with a small list of things we wanted to find out. Where turtles vertebrate or invertebrate? What is their classification (reptile, amphibian, bird, fish, mammal, or invertebrate)? What do they eat? Where do they live? What do they do? I was impressed with her list (I did help her a little). She is changing and having questions. It is one thing that I really want to work on this summer with her. To help her rediscover the joy of finding answers and having questions about things. It will take some coaching in the beginning, but I know that she will get it! After finding our research questions, we headed off to the aquarium! It was fun to watch all the fish and talk about the different areas of the ocean! We saw a sea turtle, crab, starfish, coral, sea horses, jellyfish, and a bunch of other amazing sea creatures! The girls loved it!

After all of our fun in the aquarium, we headed out to see the amphibians (we decided that turtles were not amphibians) and then we headed to the reptile house. In the reptile house we found turtles! Hooray! We decided that they must be reptiles (and obviously vertebrate). Just to be sure, we asked a zoo keeper and they confirmed out theory about turtles being vertebrates! So we found that out! While we were there we saw the crocodile, and some great snakes. There were some zoo keepers that had snakes, and cockroaches out for the kids to look at and pet (ewwww for me!). Both the girls looked, but they didn’t want to touch the snake, and they did touch the giant cockroach!

As we headed out of the reptile house, we saw the giant tortoises outside! They are really cool to see (and big enough for the kids to ride)! They were eating , so we stopped to watch them for a while. After that we wandered back to a part of the zoo that we don’t normally see! What we found was a barn with windows that you can see the zoo keepers working with some of the animals that are not on exhibit! It was really fun to watch them pull the animals out and look at them or feed them! Both girls were really fascinated by all this activity and we talked about how there are keepers in all parts of the zoo who do thing for the animals in the background! Pup was really the most interested and I think that with her deep love of animals she will be interested in this for a long time! Bunny liked watching it all too, and we are thinking of signing her up for classes at the zoo.They are only once and month and the kids get to see the animals up close and learn about them! Perfect! I think both kids thought it was great when the zoo keepers who were working stopped and held he animals up to the window so that they could see them! Bunny really loved the hedgehog! I didn’t get any pictures of them, since I didn’t know what they would think of it! So after that we headed even further back and discovered that there was a native turtle exhibit! How perfect is that? All of the turtle native to our area are there and we read about all of them and watched them! It was here that we discovered that some turtles are herbivores, some are carnivores, some are omnivores, and some start out as one and become the other as adults! We also decided that turtles can live almost everywhere in the world with water. And they eat, swim and, sit on logs. We were able to answer all of the questions we had! I did tell Bunny that there was one more question that I had. I wondered what the difference between a tortoise and a turtle was. Bunny said that a tortoise is bigger. I looked it up when I got home and discovered that a turtle lives in or near water, can swim, and lays eggs either under water or on the shore. They also each meat or plants depending. A tortoise however, lives almost entirely on the land. They cant swim and live in difficult terrain. So that is the difference that I found!

So we had great day exploring our ideas and I think that both girls had fun and learn alot! As you can see, school may be out, but the learning is still going! 🙂 It is my goal to do things like this during the summer! To inspire learning and joy in it is an awesome thing! I hope that your summer is going well and that you are having great learning adventures! Happy Schooling!



More Summer Ideas!

Well I am sorry for all of you having to listen to all of my ramblings, but I am still thinking of how summer (and next school year) is going to go. I was all set to continue doing light school during the summer, but after our last day of school, I think we need a break! Bunny told my mom that she doesnt want to ever talk about Montessori ever again! 🙁 I am sad that I all the work I ave done to make things fun , she still doesnt want to do it. So We need to rethink how we are going to approach our work time! For the summer, we are not doing school work in a formal down in the school room. We will read, play, and explore out interests. We can relax or learn like crazy! When I think all about what Bunny and Pup learned this year, I realized that what they learned the most about where the things that they wanted to learn about. Pup learned her numbers because she loved them, Bunny learned SO much about plants because she planted maple seeds during playtime and watched them grow. They still needed a couple of presentation to help pull it all together, but they learned on their own. So this leads me to really think about how I do things. I think I got caught up in trying to cover all of the album material and to finish our Waseca study. While all of these are really awesome, it wasnt meeting my kiddos needs.Bunny covered more then most Kindergartners, and even some first graders this year! She is smart and is learning like crazy! As I have read through my theory album and through some of Maria Montessori’s work and I realize that I am over thinking and complicating things here! Maria Montessori was a scientist and thought it was really imperative to observe the child at all time! She was willing and able to try something and to throw it out if it didnt work. Sure the albums are important, but they are after all guidelines, not a bible. There is more to Montessori then albums and materials. It is a way to think and observe the child so you meet their needs and inner drive for knowledge. I think that I got away from that and started to focus on the materials and presentations instead. Both of these things are good, but if you only do the presentations and use the materials, it just becomes a glorified curriculum plan. Without deep sensitivity to the child and lots of observation the method doesnt work out super well. This is where I made my mistake this year I think. I set a plan, I made work for the girls, and I had things they needed to do. I put too much on their plates and pushed. We did alot of work, they learned alot, but it wasn’t really driven by them, so the work became a chore and in the end we are all done. So we need to regroup! Rethink how to make out classroom more them and less me. I read in my theory album, I read that in the elementary year, having a list of the things the child needs to know by the end of the year is there so that the child can help make sure they know what they need to know. After that the work is up to them! Whatever they want to learn about is what they do! How simple is that? So long as Bunny does what she needs to be done, she can learn whatever she heart desires! This takes some of the pressure off of me to find work and she can reignite the fire! So that is our goal for the summer. Easy, fun, and really following the child. I hope that together our relationship will really improve as Bunny and I have been rather upset with each other. Pup usually just rolls with what is going on! 😉
Today we kicked off this plan and it has gone beautifully! Bunny has a real interest in the ocean right now, so we headed out to the beach. Never mind that it was only 56 degrees (it was 98 two days ago! Welcome to Ohio!), we went out there and had a blast listening to the lake, playing in the waves, and building things with sand. I even grabbed a few books to read while we were there. They loved it! Both my girls talked about it all day and Bunny said it was the best day ever. What did they learn? I dont know, but I dont need to! My job is not to know everything, its just to sow seeds of information so that they can sprout when the time is right. But I can tell you one thing, I spent the whole day with happy, smiling, peaceful kids! What’s better then that!

We ended the day making pizza and both girls were so excited with the chance to make dinner! 🙂 It was a really fun summer day, and it its essence, very Montessori! 🙂

So that is what is going on here! Even though we arent doing any formal
 school work, keep stopping back this summer for all the learning fun! Right now we are learning about oceans and I foresee alot of great work with that! So I hope that you all are keeping the passion going in your homes! Happy Schooling!


A real Montessori Day!!!!

Today started off just like any other day! We got down to the classroom and started our work time. I had pulled together a few new works today for the the girls before we started and they were excited to see what I was working on during breakfast. I had a project to help teach them about the atmosphere and I had an extension of that about the layers of the atmosphere for Bunny. Both of these presentations were from the Waseca Biome Study. I also bought and printed off the geometric nomenclature cards from Montessori Print Shop! They are really perfect! They are the right color and a great size (and only a couple of bucks. I really don’t have time to make everything.)! I made these for Pup to match the solids to the card. She loves to do this kind of work and I hope that she repeats it. She was happy to have a new “big girl” work!!! Here are a few pictures!

Atmosphere is like a blanket around the Earth! 🙂 Our project was to make a model of the earth. We traced a circle and cut it out. Then used the North and South America puzzle pieces to add some land. Finally we used cotton balls to show how air is the atmosphere around the earth!

This is Bunny’s!

This is Pup’s!

After we did this, I laid out this layers of the atmosphere example! It was a cool presentation to explain how there are different layers to our air!

Aren’t these cards great? I love them!!!!!!

Pup also worked really hard on drawing her very own little work! She has been drawing people and she drew everyone in our family! I was proud of her and she was super proud when we made it into a book!
Dad

Me

Bunny

Pup
Now after I finished the layers of the atmosphere with Bunny, she went back to the world project we did! She wanted to add some stars to the outside edge of the earth since that was space! But then she was really interested in the continents that we traced and she went and got the South American Box. This led her to look at and draw some of the animals in that box. In the box she found a parrot and decided that she wanted to make a book of all the parrots in all the continent boxes! She worked really hard to color each parrot she found and copy their names. I used the Internet to figure out what parrots eat and which bird we considered parrots. She asked the questions and we found the answer together! As she was working on her book, she told me that she really wished she could see some real parrots!!!! Well…..I told her we could an we packed up to go to the zoo! Bunny and Pup was so excited and Bunny wanted to add all the parrots we found at the zoo to the book! So off we went and it was so fun to find different parrots that were in the zoo! Bunny and I discovered that they eat nuts, seeds, buds, and fruits. They like to nest in holes in trees, and they live in warm environments! Bunny really absorbed all of this information and she really did add some of the parrots to her book when we got home! Here are some pictures and Bunny’s Book!
Here are the stars!

She worked so very hard and I really wanted to show you the pages of her book! I also added the pictures I took at the zoo and the pages she made from those pictures.

This is the “report” that we added to the front of the book!

Today was such a great experience for all of us!!!!! I got to see Bunny starting to think like a elementary kid and Pup just keeps learning new things every day! Today was such a great chance to see how a Montessori classroom can work! Bunny was learning one thing and then used all of the materials in our classroom as a jumping off point to explore more!!!! She really took off on this and I really hope that it is just the beginning of deeper study! Gosh learning is so cool sometimes (I am a Montessori nerd I think!)

Happy School Everyone!!!!!!!


More Snowflakes!

Well we are finally getting a bit of snow!!!! Yesterday, the girls saw the snow and were all ready to go out and check it out! So off we went armed with our back paper (to catch snowflakes on) and our magnifying glasses (to see them better). However, it just was too cold and snowflakes were more like snow bits. 🙁  Later though we going to store and the snow started again. This time however, the snowflakes were perfect! 🙂 We weren’t outside, but the snow flakes were sticking to the windows of the car and the girls were able to see them there! It wasn’t where I thought we’d have our lesson,  but it worked! It really is amazing how perfect snowflakes are isn’t it?

My little investigators! 🙂

See? Snow bits!
 I didn’t get pictures of the snowflakes (I was driving)!

So it was a really great homeschooler moment yesterday! You always need to be ready to learn because you never know when it will happen!  I love being able to learn on the go! How do you change your lessons to adjust to a little issue with the learning?
I hope you all had a wonderful school week! Happy Schooling and Happy Snow! 😉

Homeschooling is Amazing!

Pup playing! She has engineered a great little house here and she is even making sure her babies are reading!

Learning sounds and writing words!
Today we learned “ar”, “ou”, “ie”, and “ch”

She wrote a word all by herself! She always surprises herself when she does that! 🙂



Well today we had alot to do, and places to go. I knew that we were not going have time to work. So I did something moms have been doing for ever, I schooled on the go! Now being a Montessori mama, I don’t have any workbooks or worksheets that I rely on. We play games instead! So today while we brushed our teeth and made our beds, we did multiplication, addition, and subtraction problems with our fingers! While we ate breakfast, we learned some new sounds! While I cleaned up the dished and started dinner Bunny wrote new words. While we were driving in the car we talked about manners and other grace and courtesy lessons. We were able to learn even though we weren’t in the school room! This is something that I have been seeing in real time this week! We are learning all the time, whether we are at home, or at the zoo, or even in the car! Kids are amazingly capable of absorbing vast amounts of information no matter where they are! Society views learning as something that we drop our kids off at school to be done by teachers, and while this is true, its not the only way kids can learn! All parents have had that moment when their kids says something that you never knew they knew! Kids are always learning and applying information to what they already know! It is so cool to see them start to make the connections and then to see their face when it all clicks and they know it! Nothing is better then that look of pride and joy in new knowledge and skills! As parents we are really blessed to see this in its purest form! We are able to see the sparks of interest that starts in our kids and we have the ability to fan that spark into a fire of learning! As homeschoolers we are blessed with being able to be a part of that in a deeper way. We can take the time that would be spend learning other things and apply that to what our kids want to know the most! Learning is a special thing that sometimes requires flexibility if it is to be effective. I know that if I focus on what is most interesting to my kids in a certain moment, then I am able to pass on massive amounts of information to them! Things like reading, writing, and math need to be done most of the time, but most everything else can be woven into what is important to my girls. For example, when Bunny wanted to learn about igloos and polar bears the other day we did! And we got to learn geography, biology, zoology, weather, and of course reading and writing! All in one day, and she learned it well! What else can you ask for! So I guess the point of my long ramble here is that our kids are always learning and always growing, and if you watch out for their moments of interest, they can learn anything! So to all of you our there who are doing their best to help their kids learn everything they can, I applaud you and wish you the best! We are blessed with opportunity and we cant forget that! Happy Schooling everyone!

Taking Time Tuseday~ Arctic Learning Fun!

Well today took a fun and very different turn then I thought it would! That is all the fun of following the child! The girls headed down to the school room mid morning and got to work. After a small bit of time, Bunny started working with packing peanut sculpture. She and I (I couldn’t resist it) both made a snowflake shape, but they weren’t the strongest shape. Then she decided to make an igloo. I thought that was a good idea and let her get to work (without me)! She did an amazing job building the whole thing. She made a roof and everything! Well I thought that she would love to get out the Arctic Toob Figures to put in her igloo and I was right! She loved it. This got us started talking about the difference between the Arctic and Antarctica. We started by talking about directions (North South, East, West) and about a compass. I told her how a compass is on a map to help us see where things are. I then showed her a bit about how  compass works. This is a work that we will have to revisit, but it helped with the discussion about how the Arctic Circle is in the Northern part of the world, and Antarctica is in the southern part. After that I took her up to the computer to check out some pictures and videos of the people in the Arctic. Well, this led us to also looking at Polar Bears in a video and she really took off on this theme. So I found a PBS Nature episode about Polar Bears and we watched it during lunch. I was surprised to find the girls sat through it all and Bunny really was absorbing the information.

Pup was hard at work today too!

Here is Bunny working really hard on her igloo!

Pup pulled out the continent boxes! Although she pulled things out of all the boxes at once (creating quite a little mess) she also laid the animals out on the continent puzzle! Too cute!

Here we are working on where the Arctic Circle is.

Here we are watching some Arctic videos on the Internet.
 This one is where some natives are building an igloo!

Here is lunch and Polar Bears. Lots of information and fun!

After Lunch I wanted Bunny to draw a picture and she thought that was a great idea! She made a polar bear, and narrated a report!

Under the Polar Bear is a seal in the water.

and on the back is an igloo!


Well, my next move was a spur of the moment and a bit crazy! I decided to take the girls to the zoo to spend some time with the Arctic animals there, especially the Polar Bear! So we bundled up (It is only about 22 degrees outside here) and off we went on our Arctic adventure! It was great! We had the zoo pretty much to ourselves and we really got to sit and study the polar bears and the seals in the warm Arctic building! We watched the bears wandering around and we sat and read some books we brought with us while we did! Then we had a chance to see one bear up close when he sat down against the window! The girls loved it, and it was great to see the bear so close, to see his paws, his ears, and his thick fur. It was such a great, peaceful learning exprirence. Especially since we were able to see seals in the same building. This allowed us to talk about food chains and we followed the food chain from sea plants to fish, from fish to bigger fish, from bigger fish to seal, from seals to polar bears, from polar bears to men (some Arctic natives eat polar bears).

Here is our polar bear.

See how close they were able to get? It was really cool!

Here is a seal. They are really hard to get a picture of since they are moving so fast and they are under water!

After our time with the polar bears and seals, we headed back outside to see the arctic wolves!

Arent they cute? Bunny was interested since she saw a few of them in the Nature video that we watched. They were hunting caribou.



We talked about so many different things today and it was really wonderful! I love spur of the moment learning that is all about following the child! I think that the girls learned alot about the Arctic today and I love it when they can really experience things for real that you are learning about! I love so much that Homeschooling allows us to do that. Learning is an amazing journey and I love being able to have so much fun doing it! Happy Schooling!

Simon Says~ The Weather Version!!!!

Well as promised here is my post all about my new way of teaching about weather! I have made the focus on this week’s theme more about the nomenclature of the different types of weather. So I was trying to find a fun way to help the kid remember the names of different storms and weather. I thought that a game would be fun, so I made Simon Says~ The Weather Version! 🙂 Same rules as regular Simon Says, just we are going to be acting out weather. The actions I had were:

Rain
(fingers wiggling)
Snow
(fingers straight out and plopping down)
Cloud
(arms in an oval above her head)
Hot
(fanning face)
Cold
(arms around body shivering)
Wind
(blowing really hard)
Thunder
(clapping legs)
Lightening
(karate chopping air)
Tornado
(arms by sides and spinning around in a small circle)
Hurricane
(Arms wide out and spinning in big circles)
Sunshine
(arms in an arch above your head)
I, of course was Simon, and I played a few rounds with the different weather terms to help the get the idea. Then I took it up a notch and we did the different actions in the order that they would start in a storm! For example a hurricane it starts as really big wind out on the ocean, then it get bigger and starts blowing and spinning and raining (I had the kids blow, then spin slowly and get bigger by slowly putting their arms wide doing their rain fingers at the same time). For a thunderstorm we did rain fingers, and then thunder claps and lightening strikes and of course added in wind (it is a favorite). We further broke down the thunder by being clouds that are bumping together then doing the thunder claps! 🙂 For a tornado we made hot and then cold wind, then we started spinning and blowing!!! 🙂 It was a ton of fun and I think it is a fun, fast moving way to talk about different types of weather. The kids all loved playing it! Bug and Pup especially! So if you have any other ideas that I could use I would love to hear them! I kinda ran out of ideas faster then they ran out of energy! 🙂 Thanks for popping by!
gremo@mailxu.com