Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Nature Science and other Goings-On

My children have a love for nature. A love, that I enjoy nurturing. So in that vein I spent this evening, my normal evening for attending a bible study, out shopping to create a nature science kit for the girls and I to use this summer. My intent was to collect in one bag all the necessities for examining and studying the local insects and plant life in our yard and when we go on our walks. And I give myself a thumbs up for tonight. My plan was to purchase some insect nets, collection boxes, magnifying glass, a small notebook, mechanical pencils and various identification books. At Dollar Tree, gotta love the stores where everything is $1.00, I was able to purchase 90% of the items. Granted they are plastic and if they actual survive the entire summer intact I will be amazed, but with my girls it doesn't seem to matter how much I invest and I would rather lose $1.00. After that success I decided that I couldn't call it a night so I headed on over to the bookstore to look for the identification books. Another success, although not nearly as cheap. I managed to find just about every book that was on my wish list. And, bonus, ran into the local homeschoolers group that I had lost contact with since March and had never been added to their contact list. So I was able to talk to the president for awhile and give her my information to be added to the mailing list and find out where the next park day was going to be.

I came home to find all girls in bed. Good Daddy!! So I actually get to sit and relax a little bit tonight.

MB and I have been working on this butterfly study and I believe that this is going to be our long term, summer project. When I start to think that her interest in it has waned, she suddenly comes up with more ideas. Her latest is for us to cut out a basic butterfly pattern from construction paper, but then take toothpicks and paste them down on the wings to simulate the veins that run through butterfly wings to keep them stiff. We ran out of time and energy today to get to this, but hopefully it will be our project tomorrow. It really psyches me up when she comes up with ideas like this, it reinforces that her creativity is still there even though it seems to have been missing over the last few months.

The phonics stuff is beginning to take shape. Today I experienced one of those AH-HA moments. During the lesson MB kept playing with my watch which has a stopwatch feature. After sounding out the little story one time she wanted to just be done and not do anymore. She wanted to play with my watch, basically. I asked her if she wanted me to time her to see how fast she could read the story the second time. She agreed. MB did GREAT! No stumbling, no pausing. Just read through it. This is the second time that I have noticed that when she stops thinking about the individual mechanics of reading and just reads she does great. Now I just have to convince her of that. So my job is to figure out how to best use this bit of information.

The past two days I have even managed to make a little more time for interaction with the younger girls. Things I have read about homeschooling with toddlers around say to play with them first, give them something special to do during the 'class' time for the older children. It is a wonderful idea, but in my case it it the opposite. K and little EM, so far show a much greater ability to entertain themselves than my older child, MB. So I have tried to make a point of getting MB started on some project each day that can occupy her for some time, then I can go do things with K or EM. We are not talking about large periods of time here, as their attention spans generally run 5-10 minutes. But still I am able to get down and do something with them without MB getting right in the middle of it. Even so, I have heard a couple of times "When do I get to do something with you?" Then I have to remind her that we just finished X, Y or Z together, and it has worked.

K is really starting to show an interest in her letters and we have spent some time with the magnetic letters naming and tracing them. She has also gone from reciting her numbers 1-10, to counting objects. So the more little bits of time I can have to reinforce is wonderful. MB has been helpful in showing K different things and I can truly see the possibility in the future of MB helping me teach the younger two. Today I over heard MB teaching K how to do a front somersault. It was such a sweet moment to my ears, considering how much time they do seem to spend 'poking' each other's buttons.

I am off to put together the nature kit while everyone is asleep.

Peace to all,


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A family of six living and learning. You might catch us outside in the mud or working on crafts. We always seem to be on the go, come on and join us.