Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Creating Entrepreneurs and Character Building Through Play Time & Natural Learning

We have been enjoying our little co-op and the kids look forward to it each week. We love what the natural learning environment the kids are enjoying outside of book work, does to aid in developing them as whole individuals.

Don't get me wrong, the structure of focused class time, seatwork and hands on application of what they are learning is necessary and they learn some great listening skills, study skills, self control and the ability to apply themselves to reading, writing, history, geography, science, language, math etc.  through that structure. We think it's important that kids have plenty of play time, social time, exercise and opportunity to be creative and to explore the world around them, both indoors and outside. We want to give our kids a well rounded education and for them to learn to take leadership with their ideas. We want them to learn how to trouble shoot problems and to explore ways to solve them. We want them to experience failure and success and to learn that failures can lead to success. We want them to learn good work ethics and follow through on projects they start and we desire to create an environment in which a strong love for learning is developed.

If you can find another mom who has the same vision as you, it can be a wonderful opportunity to pool your resources and talents and create some amazing opportunities for your kids that can be beneficial in numerous ways.

Brandi and I have similar visions for our kids. We parent similarly and since our strengths and talents are different, but similar, we find they compliment each other which works for a great combination as a teaching team. My older kids help out with their musical abilities, cooking and baking skills and the guidance they give to the little ones. They help teach them which is great for them as it develops their abilities to communicate what they have learned, as well as gives them opportunity to exercise patience, listening skills and the ability to explain things well to varying personality types with different learning styles.

A couple of weeks ago I snapped a few pictures during our music time.

Brandi is teaching them sign language to go with the music they are learning. Natalie accompanies the kids on the piano and I lead the singing and activity time, while Christine and Tim oversee the little ones. The kids are picking up the music and the sign language quickly and they love it. We're preparing them for some nursing home visits so they can connect with some of the elderly in our area and hopefully bless them with their music and possibly even aid in developing some special relationships with senior citizens.

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Levi and Alahna are showing a large interest in developing their sign language skills and because of this, we sit with the deaf community at church on Sundays, where Levi can watch the interpreter during the message and sign along during the music part of the service. He loves it and he is picking it up quickly. He pulls out his ASL lapbook we made, frequently and an ASL book we borrowed from the library and practices learning new signs on his own.

 

We usually have a little bit of fun with music either before we work on our sign language and songs, or after, with the "Hokey Pokey," a little game of  "Head and Shoulders, Knees and Toes," "Skip to My Lou" and sometimes a game of "Simon Says." It's so fun to have some intentional teaching and fun time with my kids and grandkiddos. To see their faces light up with big smiles, hear their giggles, watch them learn new skills and connecting with them on this level, is priceless. Even the little guys love doing the Hokey Pokey and their little bodies work hard wiggling away, with big grins on their faces as they try to follow the music and motions.

 

Yesterday, Brandi's bestie, Kolya and her little guy, Weston, joined us and after music time, we all headed outside to enjoy a sunny, warm, spring day.  The boys were tromping through the woods with shovels slung over their shoulders. They have a digging project going on and they look like little men, hard at work on an important project. After we visited their "work site," we managed to carefully maneuver around the deep and wide hole they have dug and make the short jaunt down the trail to their fort. Their fort really is amazing. It is well thought out, solidly structured and has stood the test of winds, rain, hail and soggy ground. It's really quite impressive when you see it up close. They constructed a teepee style fort and a little campfire next to it. They chose a flat area which is soft on top, yet the ground they chose is firm enough underneath for them to have securely planted the fort into it so it stands solid. Maybe we have a few future engineers on our hands....who knows, but here they are, in front of their fort, proud as punch of their creation!

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The campfire

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They amaze us, with the skills, talents, imaginations and entrepreneur mindsets they possess and we're glad they have somewhere to try out all of the cool ideas they come up with. They are learning through trial and error, what works and what doesn't. They are problem solving, working as teams on projects, planning and mapping out ideas together and then implementing them. They are working hard, playing hard, getting good exercise, fresh air, sunshine, and they are building memories.

We decided to let them spend the day outside yesterday. We checked out their projects, and then took the whole crew for a little jaunt down our gravel driveway where we visited the goats and played with the kids along the way.

When we came back to the house, Natalie had a big pot of chilli cooking away on the stove and it smelled so good! She made her delicious donuts as well and after that fresh air, hard work, fun and exercise, the kids devoured their lunch and asked for seconds and thirds. They burned off everything they ate within a couple of hours after lunch too.

 

So, what do you think, are our kids getting enough socialization? :)

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Poor Jack took a little tumble and landed on a rock. His Auntie Natalie brought him in, cleaned him up and his Mommy and Aunty Kole, had him all fixed up with a couple of butterfly bandages and some tape in no time. He fell asleep a few minutes after these pictures with his Aunty Christine were taken.

 

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Brandi's sister-in-law, Lee and her new baby,  Riley

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Riley is adorable and so sweet. It was such fun to hold and snuggle a newborn again and it was nice to see Lee and Kolya too.

The moms, hanging out and enjoying a little visit in the living room. I couldn't get Lee in this picture, but she was relaxing with the rest of them.

 

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Jackson loves his little buddy, Weston. He was giving Weston big, sloppy kisses on his cheek and Weston didn't seem to mind at all.

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The kitchen cook and her minions

 

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Natalie painted her nieces' finger nails. Hailee was quite pleased with her pretty pink nails.

 

 

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I found a few pictures of Rich's birthday at Red Robin, that I forgot I had:

What a fun night that was and the kids all wanted pictures with their Dad. He was a good sport with the coffee filter hat and I have to say, I think he rocked it rather well!

 

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If you are thinking about home schooling, or just getting started....or if you are a few years into it, but feeling overwhelmed, I just want to encourage you to hang in there. Take a few days or a week off and relax, re-group, re-fuel and come back with a fresh perspective. That's the beauty of home schooling. It provides flexibility. It doesn't have to look the same every single day and you can take a break from books so your kids can enjoy some variation and avoid burnout. If you have any questions or frustrations, please feel free to share them. If I don't have the answers you are looking for, I am connected to a community of other blogging, home school moms and I'm sure that with so many other personalities and experiences in the home schooling community, we can get you hooked up with someone who can help.

Enjoy your blessings today. Each day is filled with blessings if we take the time to open our eyes and hands to receive them.

((((Hugs))))

Jana

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