Monday, June 09, 2008

Unitentional Learning

It Summer Break in our home and we are loving it.
At first I had these ideas of schooling until the end of June and then I thought about how ridiculous this was. What did I really hope to accomplish by dragging it out? Well, I let it go and I am so thankful I did.
You see my kids are thriving at the moment. I am utterly amazed at how much learning takes place naturally, without any prompting.
Such as, the boy asked if I would play a game of Monopoly with him. With no school to do, of course I agreed. For hours, we counted dice, money, doubled, added, strategized and HAD FUN. I told my dad this and he exclaimed, "Then I had an excellent education playing canasta, monopoly and chess through the years!" I agree.
Then there is the toad. While playing in the yard, the boy found a toad. He brought it in, startling me as he held it out over my bed. He was thoroughly pleased and asked if he could keep it. We brought up the critter cage, a 10 gallon aquarium with a screen top. I had purchased last Summer while we were observing the caterpillars. I told myself that it would serve as a home to any critter the kids wanted to house. So currently, it home to George the toad and two others, still unnamed. We went to the pet store and purchased crickets by the dozen. Turns out that toads love crickets and can eat them by the dozens. Their sticky tongues lashing out like a sticky hand you may get out of a 25cent machine. We have learned that toads only eat what moves. A cricket can be perfectly still in front of its nose and be unharmed but the moment it moves, even the tiniest bit, it is goggled up. They are also very good at burying themselves completely under the gravel. I thought my husband had taken one back outside, which hubby declared he had not. So after looking and looking, I lifted the aquarium and found him completely covered. Pretty cool, these toads. We will watch them for a few more weeks and then release them back in the yard.
Another sighting of unintentional learning, yesterday at breakfast. Little girl chose an apple for her fresh fruit. I cut it into slices and placed them on a plate. Then on her own she decided to make fruit kabobs. She got a banana and a kabob stick. Carefully cutting with a plastic knife she cut the banana and apples into small chunks. Then she placed them on the stick, apple, banana, apple, banana. "Look mom at my pattern," she said. Sounds like learning to me.
So many cool things like this are happening in my home. It thrills me. What really tickles me pink is what happened yesterday afternoon. I was curled up on the couch with a good book and the kids were playing quietly in their rooms. Then the boy came out and found me reading. "Mom, I will be quiet. Can I sit in the chair and read books?" Of course! So he sat down and read. 5 Books! For nearly an hour! This is unheard of in our home. He proudly colored in three of his circles on the Summer reading card and smiled at his accomplishment.
I think this Summer is going to turn out just fine! Alive with learning.


Jules said...

Such a special posting, I love to read learning through life type postings.

Oh, hi, I'm Jules by the way :o) I home-educate my 4 children in England.

Jules x

Irritable Mother said...

This sounds perfectly delightful!
I love that you have a "critter cage" on hand. Good thinking! *grin*