Thursday, August 14, 2008

Creating The Space For the Little Ones

Through the past few years of our homeschool journey, we have learned alot about our children and ourselves. I've learned that when you provide it, they will come. My children are quite independent and they do not like to ask me for small things all the time so I have created their own leveled space. We have drawers at their level containing puzzles, blocks, paper, writing utensils etc. They have free unlimited access to all these things. They also know that they are responsible for the clean up and maintenance of it all and so far we have been smooth sailing I find my children wanting to do more and read more because they have the ability to grab what they want at any given time. It's truly a blessed victory to me to see children wanting to be creative rather than sit around and watch TV. Some people feel like they shouldn't cater to their children in such a way, but to me that is what having children is all about....creating that space and providing the resources needed for them to blossom and grow.

Teaching Your Preschoolers and Older Children Together

There are a lot of cool subjects that aren't introduced to younger children until they are in about 2nd grade & up and we don't share these nuggets with the little ones because we simply don't feel they are ready to comprehend yet. I'll tell you from experience that they can understand a lot more than what we give them credit for. In order for me to incorporate all my children in a certain subject that would be considered "over their heads", I implement Unit Studies. For example we are working on the Hydrologic Cycle (water cycle) right now to date. We begin the lesson by reading "The Water Cycle(Watts Library". While I am reading this book to my oldest, the younger ones are listening and coloring pictures I drew pertaining to different forms of precipitaion. Once I am done reading a chapter of the book, we have a moment of reflection, going over new vocabulary words and explaining how those terms affects nature and the weather. I even go to the white board and draw examples so that we have a visual understanding to complement the reading. During the begin of the week I had my oldest fill a science beaker(measuring cup)with water and everyday this week she records in her science journal, how much water has evaporated and how much water is remaining in the beaker. When she's dones recording her findings,she works on geometry (currently plane and solid figures,area ans perimeter). While she is working on her math, I read "Down Comes the Rain (Let's Read and Find Out Science)"to my three youngest (including my 1yr old) and talked about what happens when the clouds fill up with water. I also included a small science project with all of them (except the baby because she likes to eat everything), using cotton balls and water. I asked them to describe what the cotton ball looked and felt like before adding the water, explaining to them that the cotton ball is like a cloud. Then we dropped the cotton ball in water completely saturating it and we held them up. When we held them up, the children saw the water dripping from the cotton balls and noticed the cotton balls felt heavy. I explained to them that when a cloud becomes full of water, it becomes heavy and full just like to cotton balls, and the water comes down in the form of rain. With my oldest I explain to her that the water that evaporates travels high in the atmosphere unitl it cools and condenses, forming clouds. Yesterday as an art project, they painted pictures and glued cotton balls on their paintings as clouds. THEY ALL LOVED IT. Today we boiled water and held aluminum foil over it explaining evaporation. Then we used a simple glass of ice water to explain condensation. My 3 & 4 year olds now know that water turns into a gas and travels high in the sky. My 7 year old knows that hot air travels high until it reaches cold air. She knows about relative humidity, evaporation,precipitation,transpiration and collection. We all talk about how awesome God is to create such a cycle through mother earth among other things. Through our short unit study we covered math, science, reading, spelling /vocabulary and the omnipitence of GOD through nature and all things. Mind you, my oldest daughter is 7 yrs old has always been 2 grades above her public schooled peers. You can teach anything to all your children at once. Of course they will all be on different levels, no one is left behind. The younger ones feel good in knowing that they are learning with their older siblings. SO with that I'll say BE FUN...BE CREATIVE....BE YOURSELF YOU'LL BE SURPRISED AT HOW MUCH MORE YOU'LL LEARN YOURSELF