Ok, I let them out…

I finally got off my behind and took the girls outside. My kids are six and three and personally I would have no problem letting them play in the back yard alone. They know where they can go and what they can do and aside from the occasional “she took my toy” we have no problems. Unfortunately, because I live on the main strip through town and because my in-laws are terrified of someone driving up and snatching my kids from the yard, I go outside with them. And I sit…. for sometimes hours, doing nothing. Sometimes I’ll rake leaves or try and take a book or even my laptop. These are the days they insist upon interacting with me constantly. So I gave up doing “something” by myself for watching them play by themselves.

I guess today the cold medicine had finally kicked in and I decided to TRY and do something with them, preferable something educational. Taking some advice from a few other moms I broke out the sidewalk chalk and started writing math problems out for Sam. She quickly noticed and began writing the answers beside the problems. It wasn’t until I got to 7 + 7 that she started getting lazy, wanting me to draw dots for her to count.

I made an attempt to show her that 2 make a pair and 4 makes two pairs, and 2 and 4 are even numbers….but… she thought I was coloring in a hopscotch for her and her mind went off of math and back onto playing. So I gave up for a few minutes, stole off into the laundry room and moved the laundry into the dryer.

I returned to find them running around the house like crazed chickens. Jo’s little legs didn’t stand a chance at keeping up with Sammy’s long legs and Sam was taking way too much enjoyment out of lapping her twice. I must have been inspired by the ideas I keep reading on all those great homeschooling blogs because I quickly stopped Jo and yelled for Sam and informed them we were going to play a new kind of Simon Says. I sat down on the picnic table’s bench and shouted “Simon Says touch something that starts with “T” !”

Sam seemed confused for a minute then darted for the tree. Jo, not yet familiar with her letters, promptly followed her sister. “Simon Says touch something that starts with a “B”!” Despite the ball, basket, bike and bucket in the yard, right in front of them, it still took them a while and what she found was a BUG. Well, it’s a b word! She threw me for a loop when “Simon” asked for a “G” word and she touched the ground, with a smile.

She played for about fifteen minutes, running to and fro; I think Jo lasted about five. At least I can say that I kept my promise of taking them outside AND we did get some work done. Now if I could only get around to finishing the cookies!

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10 responses to “Ok, I let them out…

  1. Go you! I takes practice but you will find plenty of ways to teach them things that do not include paper and pencil.

  2. Does the “am I really teaching them anything” feeling ever go away?

    I like the games and alternatives, but I guess I’m still the in PS mindset of “what do I have to show for it”?

  3. Alphabet Simon says is so much fun! We have adapted that game for math, science. The possibilities are endless!

    I guess it is something everywhere. We have stray dogs here alot, because we live in a wooded area. It is in the city limits, so we can’t take care of the problem ourselves, so we sit outside too. Our cul-de-sac is full of families or grandparents, so there are many eyes on our kids to keep them from running off or getting kidnapped, but we have at least one pit bull attack a week in our tv news viewing area, so I am a bit freaked out.

    Merry Christmas!

  4. Oops, I missed your comment. It does go away over time once you realize that you have two smart girls to show for it. Example: My 7 year old can tell you all about Egypt, the government, the burial traditions, life as we think it was, and so on. She has not done one worksheet on it, but she has learned new words as we read, and we wrote some of those for writing practice and spelling practice. She has looked up info on the internet (research skills), read books, worked on an Egyptian artifact replica project, and so on.

    Here was a question that was posed to me a few years ago. How did you learn most of what you know? The truth is I had to learn how to learn in order to find it. You know Kaden has cancer, before his diagnosis I did not even really know what chemo was, I could not read a lab report , I had no idea what cancer really was. Now I can answer all of those questions, and most of my knowledge came from either asking the docs or searching on the internet or at the library. I have very little to show on paper for my time and energy spent learning this stuff, but I can rattle off that info from memory very quickly, and if I need to find the answer for something I know where to look. This is what learning is all about. Discovering how to find the info that you need to complete the task, and then remembering that knowledge for the future.

    Some people need to write everything down so that they can see it in order to be able to memorize it and recall it later, and others do better just hearing the info. It all depends on the child and their learning style. Obviously we all need to learn how to write and follow directions on worksheets, but they do not have to do that at 5 years old. It will come. Enjoy playing games while you can. After elementary school they are less likely to learn through games, and then you will get very tired of book work or at least that is what I hear.

    One other example: How did the girls learn how to be kind, loving, and obedient (most of the time)? Through modeling and talking through the “why we need to behave”, not through formal book work.

    Ok, I’m done, it took me a while to get past that too, but once I did we began having alot more fun learning! I now let their imagination be our guide in learning, and let me tell you we have learned about some strange stuff lol.

  5. Wendy, you need your own blog honey! Whew! I LOVE the support though! Keep it coming!

    I’m thinking I need to find moms around here that are actually doing Kindergarten and DON’T have older kids. All the groups I’m on are teaching Egypt or Latin or Something Else Big and Important….

    We read a few books, and we count stuff….not hours on end, but she knows her shapes and she’s figured out how to us a inch ruler, and she has NO interest in learning about the five senses or the Pilgrims. She has a great interest in money, pretty much just the different backs that are on the quarters and nickels. I’m sure I could turn this into something wonderful, but it’s hard to pull out a U.S. Map while I’m driving down the road and she finds a quarter in her seat. We had a five minute discussion about the Wright Brothers today because she a N.C. quarter. Hmmm… maybe I should break out our New Book of Knowledge or something…

    One thing she does love, and we’ve done it twice this week, is chatting with my mom (Nanny) on Yahoo Msgr. She reads more than she types, but she’s getting better. It’s just about the only thing I have to “show” my mom that she’s learning anything. (and if I get asked about P.E. ONE MORE TIME!)

  6. LOL! I get the ‘you need a blog’ alot, but I would not know what to write. Instead I live through so many others hehe.

    If you ask me our kids get way more PE than public school kids.

    I remember when Caitlyn was just starting kindy, and a little girl just one year old came over. She was reading, spouting off Latin, writing, and so on. I thought that Caitlyn would never be to that point in just one year, but she did it, and Sam will too. Never underestimate the difference a year makes.

    Ok, I will leave you alone now. I have 6 dozen cookies to make for a cookie exchange tomorrow, and the field trip to another town will take most of the day, so that leaves tonight. UGH.

  7. I read that you were playing hopscotch, have you tried to put the math problems in the hopscotch squares.
    Donna

  8. Wendy- I have a cousin, four years old, who is bilingual in Spanish, because she’s from a bilingual home. It makes me feel bad that I didn’t do that with Sam and Jo more but oh well (I guess Dora can only do so much !) You guys do go out more and do things, we haven’t been out to the park in a while because it’s been cold and Sam isn’t taking any classes yet (dance, gym, etc.) Good luck with the cookies 🙂 We made some over the weekend and I have ONE MORE BATCH to make that I think may NEVER get done…

    Donna- Thanks so much for stopping by! Yes, Sam was trying to play hopscotch. I’ll have to give putting the math problems in the squares a try, anything to get her learning something.

    My issue with Sam (and JoJo-even though we just do ABC’s) is that some days I feel the tail is wagging the dog. I start to teach her “pairs” and she decides she wants to do workbook pages. I’m all for following her interests, but I cannot be prepared to discuss the history of flight (from the N.C. quarter) if I have spent my time preparing to teach her something totally different.

  9. We only go out more, because I cannot stay cooped up in the house with my wild kids lol. Life with boys is crazy, and the only way to keep them from killing each other is to get them out and engaged in something. At home I get distracted by the dirty dishes, laundry, and so on, so I do not keep them busy all of the time. We also live in TX, so it is only cold about 6 weeks out of the year.

    Bilingual we will never be, because we only speak English in our house. We do have friends who have learned several languages and speak them in their houses to keep their kids in practice of them, but I am not that dedicated. Yea, call me a slacker. We are all working to learn sign language though, and that is a fun family event (not going as well for me as it is for the kids). I feel very inadequate if I try to compare our school to others, so just have fun with it, and remember the important things is to enjoy your time as a family.

  10. Big Hugs again to Wendy!

    Ok, so I can forget about trying to cram a second language into her vocabulary, and I’ll focus on actually getting dressed and taking them to do something… hmmm… I can learn spanish in my pj’s though! Just kidding… I’m not feeling so slacking now…

    I do have one homeschooling friend in town who totally thinks I rock because I let my girls do crafts. Her’s do a lot of bookwork…

    The individuality of homeschooling is what I love, but for a first time home schooler it does make thinks nerve racking until you get a little confidence about it.

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