I haven’t updated on Bella’s schooling lately. We actually haven’t done much in the past two months. I decided to go with more of an “unschooling” approach than I had been. Bella liked school and wants to learn, so I thought she would ask to “do school,” as she puts it. My plan was to not do specific letter/color/number/etc. oriented teaching unless she asked, but to continue our usual baking/cooking/cleaning/life “teaching.”
My plan went awry.
It turns out that Bella is quite content to just play with Declan. She doesn’t ask to learn something new unless she is reading an alphabet book, in which case she wants me to teach her all of the letters right then. She also started “acting out” more often (Bella? Bad? Never!) and had way more unused energy. And with this two-month-long experiment, I learned something. I should have stuck with what we were doing. Yes, it took extra time. Yes, it took extra thought. Yes, sometimes we did skip a day or two because it just wasn’t fun or convenient then. But it worked.
Bella is the type of child who needs more structure than just the breakfast, lunch, nap, supper, bath, bedtime routine. I’m not going to plan our days down to the minute; no “math at 8:15, letters at 8:35, shapes and colors at 9:05” stuff for my family! However, I am going to have a plan for each week.
We are going back to school. Bella and I both need it!
Last week was “H” week. Among the many activities we did was learning to draw and cut out hearts. I taught her the “raindrop” method (so named by Bella): fold a piece of paper in half, draw a “raindrop” on the fold, and cut it out. She cut out three hearts total: a white, pink, and red. I drew the heart on the pink paper; she drew the others.
I attribute her growing cutting skills to having a “cutting drawer” in our kitchen. It’s simply a plastic drawer that holds anything she’s allowed to cut. I give her scrap papers, junk mail, wrapping paper, ribbons, yarn… anything that can be cut. She’s allowed to cut whenever she wants to with two main rules: cut only at the cutting drawer or table and everything you cut needs to be put back into the cutting drawer. There is one exception to the second cutting commandment: artwork does not have to return to the drawer. Artwork like the orange grass and brown-colored orange land she glued to paper as a base for a house. 🙂
Practice makes perfect, and Bella wants perfect. So she practices at her drawer every day, several times a day.
One of the (many) gifts Bella received for Christmas was a “Build a Snowflake” kit. My Aunt (who made the kit) found the idea here, on Making Learning Fun. Bella uses our felt board to make snowflake after snowflake. It’ a super great activity for shape recognition, fine motor skills, and visual discrimination.
Making Learning Fun truly does have marvelous activities – and it’s free. The only downside? Trying to keep a loving 10-month-old from bothering his sister while she’s playing with those activities. 🙂
I have an addiction: Pinterest. I love to browse the education board. I find so many cool ideas! For example, I found these DIY pipe cleaner flags on Pinterest. They involve number recognition, counting, and fine motor skills; I love projects that do more than one thing!
This is one of Bella’s favorite “games” right now. And it was so SIMPLE to make! To begin with, I cut each pipe cleaner in half. I sliced a pretty piece of blue paper into 3/4″ x 2 1/2″ strips. I folded each strip in half, then numbered them on each side of the fold. A little glue from a glue stick, scotch tape to “laminate” the flags, and I was done!
Bella was hooked right away. I adore seeing her excited little face when I introduce a new learning toy!
She understood right away what she was to do. And, um… notice her OCD showing up in this picture? Colors must stay with colors…. no mixing pink and orange beads on the same pipe cleaner for her!
Bella and I both really enjoyed school today! We started with singing our Bible verse – Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the earth” – to the tune of “Are You Sleeping?” We then read parts of the creation story, days 1-3 using numbers with creation pictures in them. Every time “God saw that it was good,” we did a thumbs-up. Continue reading Homeschool Preschool, Day 1