Sunday, June 2, 2013

Learning Space

Many of you have emailed me and asked me more about homeschooling and I have been so honored to answer your questions. One of the questions that many of you have wondered about is "Do you have a special place in your home where you do school?" The answer is easy, "yes" and "no".  Yes, I have finally found the perfect use for our small and awkward loft, which has been a thorn in my side since we purchased this house. It's been Ole's office (that was a disaster) my studio (too small) a playroom for the kids (too loud) and now finally a place to house all of our school supplies and also do work if we choose. No, because we "do school" all over the place. Snuggled up in the family room reading stories, in the kitchen for the messy projects, and outside for nature studies, field trips and really messy projects.  The kids also each have desks and computers in each of their rooms for independent and quiet work, although, that usually doesn't last too long as they all much prefer to be a part of the action. However, this space is working out perfectly now. I have everything organized from curriculum, to art supplies, music & videos, to games and puzzles and of course our collection of books. The biggest problem with this space is I have no wall space to hang up any artwork or maps. So, I have to be creative and come up with other solutions. One of the big drawbacks of a loft space is lack of walls. The kids and I love spending time in our cozy little loft and I am amazed how much stuff we have managed to get into this small space. Thanks for stopping by and visiting.


Saturday, September 29, 2012

The Kaleidograph

The other morning while my older kids with busy with various projects, Henry and I sat down together to have some special time together. I brought out a new surprise that I had received from my friend Scott over at Red Hen Toys had sent to us to try out. The kaleidograph is such an ingenious and clever toy, yet so simple. But isn't that how it always works??? In many cases simple is always the best. This set of cards have various shapes cut out of them and when you layer them on top of one another you can create really beautiful designs. Here is a bit more info about the Kaliedograph from the Red Hen Toys website. Henry and I had so much fun experimenting with this truly unique toy and he has already asked me several times to play with it again. 

Red Hen Books & Toys

Kaleidograph Flora paper toy

Crystalline geometries in brilliant color ... the 9 die-cut cards (and 3 solid backers) of the Kaleidograph™ can be arranged in over 350 million designs. Based upon geometry in nature, the Kaleidograph upholds the tradition of the original creative design toys of the Froebel Kindergarten system that are known to have influenced Albert Einstein, Frank Lloyd Wright, Buckminster Fuller, Piet Mondrian, and design education at the Bauhaus. Like the floral forms found in nature, the Kaleidograph Flora is based on interconnected circular radial forms which can be assembled and overlaid into hundreds of millions of possible patterns. Richly personal and environmentally friendly, the Kaleidograph Flora is a toy for all ages. It fosters creativity, rewards with surprise, and brings out the designer in everyone.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Gifts

Today I brought out an extra special surprise for Abby and Henry to play with. Our dear friend Tiffeni let us borrow gifts 3, 4, 5, 5B, and 6 and asked that I let the kids explore the gifts on their own and only observe.  Tiffeni will be speaking at the 2012 Froebel USA Conference in California in a few weeks and asked if I could photograph the kids for her presentation. I have to say they were completely engaged and excited about each and every one. We started with gift 3 and I let them open the box and find the perfect little treasures hidden within the beautiful boxes. Then onto each other gift one at a time and I just sat back and took in all their play and took lots of photos. They made everything from simple animal shapes to elaborate snowflakes to a "domino" type game and then they each built a fortress and acted out their version a "Yorktown" battle cannons and all! Amazing!! I guess living in such a historic area and visiting local attractions was bound to turn up in their play at some point. They played and played and I finally had to ask them to stop when it was time to start preparing dinner. But they both asked afterwards if they could play with the gifts again tomorrow and if this time they could mix them all up and use them all together. If we manage to get them all put back into the correct boxes it will be a miracle. So thank you Tiffeni for letting us borrow these amazing treasures and Thank you Mr. Froebel for your beautiful gifts! 

I cannot tell you how thrilled we are that we have chosen this style of education for our children. A perfect blend of philosophies from our favorite educators. If only more people knew about Froebel and Steiner. If so, then perhaps, our world would be a very different place and a much happier and well balanced one at that.

Oh, and watch the video it's really very interesting!!!


Sunday, July 8, 2012

Ready For School

The kids and I are gearing up for a brand new school year and we couldn't be more excited! This year we decided to use a prepared curriculum instead of me writing lesson plans for all of them. This year I have four official students and preparing lessons four all of them is just getting to be a bit much for me to handle on my own. We opted to go with Oak Meadow and I couldn't be more thrilled. For the past few weeks since our books arrived I have been pouring over their lessons and doing additional research to add a few more enrichment activities to make it even more fun. I've been working on my own Main Lesson Books as examples for the kids and yesterday I spent several hours at the library gathering even more book for them to pour over. Tomorrow morning we will start easing back into a new rhythm for this school year. My hope is to start documenting some of the fun and exciting projects and activities that we experience here to share them with other families who are on a similar journey. I can't tell you how much the kids and I are all looking forward to this school year.


Thursday, January 6, 2011

Reinventing The Wheel...or Should I Say The Catapult....

Today the kids and I had an absolute blast creating our own homemade catapults using a few simple items...paint sticks, paper cups, ping pong balls, wooden blocks and good ole' duct tape. We have just started a new unit study on inventors and inventions and they are eating it big surprise there, with their dad being and experimental nuclear physicist we were just bound to have one or two that just loved math/science. We talked about simple machines and they were all just mesmerized...even Henry was completely into it. Our first catapults were very basic but then after some further thought we devised a way to improve upon our first model and make it better. We conducted several experiments, took data and had lots of laughs. Afterwards, we read about Leonardo DaVinci and the boys were absolutely speechless and wanted to know more. I can't tell you how much I love that they are so curious and excited about learning, plus can I tell you how much fun it is that every day is pajama day at our school!!!


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Paper Crafting

Today I had the rare opportunity to take the day off and spend it with my dear friend Tiff for a fun-filled day of paper crafting. We had many projects on our list of things to try and this folded paper lantern was at the top of my list to figure out how to make. Tiff was also anxious to give this one a whirl as she loves anything having to do with paper. We had a tutorial that wasn't very good and we both struggled with it until we finally gave up and went on to the next project but as soon as I got home I tried again and this time I managed to get it right!!!! I love these little lanterns. This one is made from one of Henry's recycled watercolor paintings. Now, to put a little votive candle in there and it will be just gorgeous.

Then there are, aren't they!? They are actually part of a Geometry lesson I have planned for the boys so I was testing them out...and now I am addicted. Who knew that Math could be fun and look great too???


Sunday, December 12, 2010

A Visit To Our Classroom

Just for fun I thought I would give you a little peek into our classroom. After 4.5 years of living in this house we finally have figured out the perfect use for our loft....our classroom. Currently decked out in holiday finery complete with dozens of snowflakes falling from the sky. The kids and I just love our special I just wish it were about 5 times bigger! We have everything we need tucked into this small space but I have so many ideas of wonderful additions I would love to add but there just isn't space to go with any of it, as this room is already overflowing. Anyway, hope you enjoy your visit.