Tuesday, August 20, 2013

More about our new "Right" school

 I keep thinking of how often my Mom would do her own projects and that would make me want to do the thing that she was doing (when I was about 7-ish)... I'm sure I drove her a little crazy with that... as my own girls do at times, BUT they are old enough to do some of their own yarn projects with me now.  My 7 year old is crocheting chains and even made a ladder with two crochet chains and pipe-cleaners for rungs (for her doll house seen in a previous post.)  My 5 year old is finger knitting.  Which is just a crochet chain only using your finger.  I found this adorable video on how to "finger knit" and the little girl has such a cute accent.  My girls wanted to watch it over and over again and whenever they finger knit they say it just like she does.  "Wrap it rooound, knock it ooof, and push it dowwn."  She says "on" I think but they go for the rhyme which totally works.  My 2 year old just says "Wrap it roooound and push it down!"  over and over again.  It's so cute I don't mind the repetition.
And this is how the little-one works with her yarn.  I sat and crocheted while she cut up a long string of her favorite yarn (her favorite color) and tossed it about over the couch and onto me and picked it up again and called it "noodles" and cut it up some more.  Hey, it works.  I had to vacuum the yellow lint off the couch afterward but we are talking like TWO hours of project time for me and happy "together" time with the Littlest.

This is a little random, but we like making our own sushi (don't freak out, it just means "sweet rice" and we make the seasoned rice and roll it in the nori and add lots of yummy things like canned tuna or ham and cheese.)  Anyway, the girls were wanting chopsticks so I got them some chopstick helpers and they practiced using them with poof balls. 

The Oldest, made another car out of a cardboard box so that she'd feel like she was really driving when she played Mario Cart on the Wii.  Last time she made an amazing moveable steering wheel and this time she stuck with the one for the game, but she added a new element to this car.  The windows are all covered in tape so that they look more realistic as windows.  :}

We went through the whole book "Quick as a Cricket" by Audrey Wood and wrote words for The First-born to make pictures with.  The book goes "I'm as quick as a cricket.  I'm as slow as a snail.  I'm as small as an ant.  I'm as large as a whale..." etc.  So we just used the words "quick, cricket, slow, snail, small, ant, large, whale," etc. for her to put around the dinning room.  I was quite impressed with some of the pictures she came up with.

I did help her with some of the last words of the book "put it all together and you've got me!"  With "all" we said "all the colors are all around All" to help her remember that word.  And the "together" is a lot of elements from all the other ones she made pictures for.

 So I started to read this book called "Project Based Homeschooling"  It's a good read and not just for homeschoolers!  I think this would be helpful for any parent that wants to encourage their child's creative side and just who they are as a person.  The book is a bit repetitive, but I did get a couple good things from it so far.  The main one was to have a work space specifically for your child.  It needs to have all their supplies and project things readily available so that they can be independent and not have to constantly ask for where things are or go too far to get the things.  I came up with the table shown above and made it out of a shelf and 2 by 4s that we bought at Lowe's.  That was another project moment by-the-way when I was putting it all together and the girls were all practicing their hammering skills on some ply-wood that I happened to have!  I was quite thankful that day that we now live in a ground floor apartment as they made quite a noise with all the hammering. 
She was so excited when I moved all her stuff into the cupboards by her new desk and was beyond thrilled about the beeswax clay that I'd gotten for her for this next year (she's totally into clay of any sort, so this was just a fun new medium to get into.)  I hung her art on the wall and have noticed how she looks up at it when she works from time to time "for inspiration"

She is responsible for keeping it tidy and so far has done a fine job with keeping it manageable.
 Another idea from the book after creating a workspace for the child was to make sure and take pictures of what they create.  This is great in two ways because then they don't feel like they have to hold onto everything they make if they want to take it apart and do something else.  Also, it SHOWS them that you value their work.  After I have so many pictures taken of what she makes I'll have to get prints for them and let her hang them up or put them in her craft/art scrapbook.  Showing a child that you value what they do rather than just saying the quick "good job" says so much more to them as they work.  She has been so much happier I think working at her table when ever she wants most of the day!  Oh, also note that the work space needs to be in the heart of the home and not off in some corner alone.  Especially for my oldest who thinks she's being punished when she's encouraged to play in her room for a while.
With the Oldest's work space all set up I had to figure out how to make the middle and youngest have a nice spot too.  Actually this table works better for two than for three anyway.  Now the Oldest doesn't have to worry about the youngest messing up her art or breaking her crayons.  The middle one loves her easel and has been doing quite a bit of art on her own as well.  I'm happy to say that I moved ALL the girls stuff out of MY craft wardrobe and *I* have my own spot as well!  I've got my sewing machine downstairs now which made my cramped closet much happier.  :]

One thing I was quite impressed with that she came up with on her own was creating three dimensional chairs and a table for her clay people.  She used her pearl beads and designed all the parts.  I ironed the parts and then she hot glued them all together to create the 3D chairs!  I observed her counting as she worked to make the pieces just the right size to fit together perfectly.  Real life math people!

Random baby in the dryer.

Just today the oldest decided to do her origami and made some colored paper crayons.  She was wondering what to do with them and I suggested that we whole punch them and use them as decoration above our new chalk board!  I used chalk board spray paint to cover up my ugly white board to make this lovely chalk board to be all "Waldorfish" Since I LOVE how they use chalk board art in their classroom.  Got to have some of that with my creative girls!

And guess what that fancy new chalk board did?  The oldest said that she thought it would be neat to put lots of words on it like they do for kids in highschool and she started to write some.  First it was "Us" then she wrote "up up up up" then decided to branch out and write "God" (which isn't on the wall so she had to spell it herself.)  I suggested that she could write "is love" after that so we could have a memory verse on our chalk board.  She was all over that, and then later saw the word "Well" on the subtitles for a Tinkerbell show and wrote that.. and also the word "go."  Now.. you might be thinking this isn't a big deal for someone who is 7, but it IS a big deal for her who was so burned out by the way we were doing language arts!  The spelling and reading and writing were not her cup of tea to say the least.  She'd been thrown into a depression I think by the school we were doing and I wrote about what it was like when we first were getting out of that, but now it's about how far we've come.  It's all about building a positive relationship with the printed word.  You don't want your kids to hate reading or writing and avoid it at any cost, right?  No, you want them to be motivated and to try to write or read on their own.  You want them to want to, yes?  Well... We are there!!!

By the time we start the new program that I got for this next year (that is geared toward right-brained learners) I think she will be totally ready and love it.  My middle one is going to be all over it too.  I can tell, as she's been trying to write words for quite a while now.  It will be a little nicer to teach them at the same time too instead of having to juggle two grades.

Well, there you go.  I'll post more updates later as our schooling progresses, but so far I'm more and more encouraged by this new direction our school is taking. 

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