Monday, February 27, 2017

Alice in Wonderland : Poetry teatime

You can do a poetry tea time ANY way you want!  You could do a picnic poetry time, or go to starbucks, or not have tea but have some other favorite snacks instead.

Today I chose to go with an Alice in Wonderland theme because my 5 year old happens to be really interested in all things Alice in Wonderland.  She wanted me to read her the book and we have watched many movie versions of it as well.

When coming up with ideas I go with the ones that will be the easiest (in my opinion) and that will have the biggest impact.  So, the "eat me" and "Drink me" and letting them come up with a costume if they wanted was basically the full plan, but a I will talk about a few other details as well for people to see how this rolls out in real life.

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Party School! & 11th Birthday

This picture is still hanging up!
We have always loved read aloud books!  My favorite part of doing school is reading aloud to my kids and back in the day, that was almost entirely picture books of course.  At some point when my oldest was about 8 I started reading other choices like the "Little House on the Prairie" series, and all the Narnia books.  At first I had to stop often when I saw their interest drifting and "set the scene" as I called it.  I would stop and ask if they knew what was going on.  Somehow they'd gotten lost so I re-capped for them.  I would describe how the setting looked and whatever was going on that was such a big deal in the story!  Generally as they listened to the re-cap they were then re-engaged so they wanted to hear more of the story! Also, beginning with the Narnia books I started adding in watching the movie versions and listening to the audio versions that I could find to go along with reading the stories as we read the seires!  It just made sense that they could follow the books and enjoy them more if I could engage their imaginations in more ways than just my own voice.  We talked about how the movie versions were different from the books and in what ways.  Some things we discovered we liked more in the movie versions and some parts we enjoyed more in the books.  Last year we read through "Heidi" and watched ALL (and I mean all!) the movie versions we could along with documentaries about the Alps!  Their absolute favorite part of the book that they quoted over and over was never in the movie version as satisfactorily.  Last fall we started reading the Harry Potter series aloud and watched the movies after each book.  Some great talking points came up and going deep with my kids in conversation as we enjoyed these together!  The movies lose so much of the whimsy that is in the books, but again, it is great to observe these things and enjoy them in different ways.  We finished the series in January near my oldest daughters 11th birthday and she wanted to have a Harry Potter theme party!  What better time to continue this literature rich adventure than with a party!  It was epic, but at the same time actually pretty easy to set up.  I will share my secrets to setting it up with ease. ;)

Fun-schooling: the Early Years

Too often, people think that academic learning and school should be hard.  Like if it isn't hard and tedious then they aren't actually learning.  Yet, in reality we should work to the level of success!  

We should find every day life and interests to enjoy together.

Tie books to movies to games to art to field trips.

Be curious with your child about things they find in nature.

If they have a question you can say the truth that you don't know and google it to find the answer together!

Grab a huge stack of books from the library on a subject and don't worry about reading through them all.  Flip through or skip parts or read as much as they wish for.

I so often focus my research and homeschooling efforts into my oldest (because she is the one in the front to usher in each new stage!) that I got to thinking how I don't write as often about what I have been doing or have planned for my youngest.  She will be 6 in a few months and mostly has been benefiting from what I do with my older two.  I have done so much research over the past 7 years because of homeschooling my oldest, and we have tried several different curriculum choices.  Only now I feel like I've finally found our sweet spot and after all that testing and research (and research again!) and testing some more.  I feel like I can recommend my favorite choices!  BUT, the point isn't to do what works for other people, but to find what works for you and your family.  So, just know this is what works for us!  I hope it helps other people as well, but you are on your own journey and it will look different from mine.