Friday, September 30, 2011

Things I Know

So things I know this week!

- The day you arrange a picnic for will be the ONLY day so far of the warmer season that isn't nice & sunny...sigh

- Boxes will always make the best toys, they can be anything. For instance all you adults may not see this cause you lost that special magic years ago, but this is in fact a pirate ship captained by one fearless Captain Bear, and that's the jolly roger waving merrily on high.

- Once you have kids they will take over everything, including that special accent wall you had know the one with the jumble of antique frames & funky photos...the one your guests would comment on at the long dinner parties you hosted. Ja well, it doesn't matter too much anyway cause who has the energy to cook a meal with more than 1 course consisting of acceptable child friendly food. So now there are no more dinner parties, and if you have guests they have to make do with takeaway pizzas, crumbed covered couches and commenting on your spawn's latest work of art applied directly to the wall in ball point pen!

- Your children will always waituntil you're in the middle of cooking dinner before sustaining grievous bodily harm and requiring urgent medical attention (also know as kisses and cuddles better)

- Little heads are remarkable tough and form the most amazing horn like structures when they've been rammed into table corners!

Once you have a calendar & weather board you will carefully have to watch the weather and change the board accordingly...wait is that a cloud passing by the sun?
Quick run you need to update it to cloudy NOW...oh wait, it's passed again, back to sunny days...or was that a breeze I felt?

(BTW - The board is from Edukits and a huge hit with my kids)

Head on over to Yay for Home! and join in with things you know!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

So...Things I Know

Things I know this week:

- Blue & yellow make green

- And now I know Bear knows this too (see attached pics of proof)

- A week flies by far too quickly.

- You can get a tummy ache from having to much fun. I was informed this by Bear after a play date which he apparently enjoyed a little too much :)

- While the week flies by, the occasional day feels like a year and at a certain point in the late afternoon/early evening you may even think time has frozen and you won't all make it through to the next day alive!

- I'm grateful we all lived to see the next day :)

- Toddlers make good teachers, Bear is teaching Evie LOTS of words with the utmost patience, and she is spouting them at alarming rate.

- It is true that you push your first one eagerly through all the milestones, but with the second one you just wish they would stay a baby just a little longer.

- You may even shed a secret tear or two because your baby is getting so big.

- Dad's are awesome and can do all sorts of things you can't. On that note I cant wait to get the storage my Dad has agreed to make for our playroom, it's going to be awesome and satisfy my craving for ORGANISATION!

- Old fishing nets make good hats (more pics attached as proof)

And there is one thing I don't know.
Can Bear read? Today he picked up one of the BOB books we have never read before and told me what the title was "Are You Ready?" and for the next one he he said it was called the "mankeen"...the title was "The Guessing Machine"
But when I asked him again and any other words he didn't seem to know?
Perhaps it was a coincidence?

So...A day in the life of unschooling

So I thought I'd share what a good day of unschooling in our house looks like. And seeing as my last post mentioned rusks and trains I thought I'd use that day!

After all stumbling out of bed & eating a bit of breakfast, we all went to get dressed and I asked the kids what they wanted to get up to.

Baking was the unanimous decision so I decided to make some health rusks I've been wanting to do. We needed a few supplies though so popped off to the shops.

Bear grabbed a kid sized trolley and got all the necessary ingredients, while Evie and I strolled along behind him.
A quick aside here - You know those shops where they have a queueing system with the boards that tell you what number teller to go to when it's your turn? Well Bear loves finding the right till by matching up the numbers, and I think it's a great way for him to learn number recognition without even realising it ;)

Back home to the baking and as you can see the kids had loads of fun measuring, pouring and stirring...note the vigorous stirring which results in ingredients everywhere lol!

Lots of interesting things to learn while baking, questions about various ingredients and why we're using them, measuring and mixing, textures and tasting...and of course the magic of watching a bit of flour, eggs, milk etc all turn into something completely different and wonderful on the opening and closing of an oven door!

While I was greasing pans and cleaning up the kids kept busy and called me over to see their train engine, which they'd built. And what a lovely train it was. We all went on a trip through the countryside and pointed out all the different things we could see.

We passed a farm and saw all sorts of animals there, chugged through a forest and saw fawns peering out from behind fir trees, and in a final bit of excitement we held up by "baddies" who blocked the doors so we couldn't escape. thanks to some quick thinking by Bear though the situation was soon resolved and we all got home safe and sound.

(That wasn't the only trip taken that day, I left the train in place and it grew and grew to include every chair and stool in the house. And when The Dad got home he took a trip too!)

Then it was lunch time and we all got to relax a little, the kids watched a bit of tv with their lunch and I got to catch up a little on the internet.

Then nap time for Evie, and Bear decided to join her (he doesn't usually nap any more, but as he's such an early riser & bad sleeper he often needs one or so a week to catch up) - yay, more time for The Mom to catch up on some work & e-mails.

Once everyone was awake again we decided it was tea and biscuit time, and because it was such a lovely afternoon we decided to have them outside. So we put out our blanket under the tree and enjoyed our snack.

Then it was time to run around and play, the kids spent some time on the jungle gym and chasing each other around. Evie stalked the cat and ended up in the sandpit while Bear crunched leaves, raced his motorbike and kicked a ball a bit with me.

Once a bit of energy was worn off, I decided to pull out a brand new book and we all lay on the blanket to check it out.
And I am pleased to say it was a roaring success.
I bought them The Usborne Big Book of Things to SpotWhat a lovely way to introduce all sorts of things, different environments & the animals who live in them, counting & number recognition, concentrating and looking for all the different things in each picture.

It kept us busy right until The Dad came home, and even then there was a bit of fuss when the book was finally put away.

At this point I was happy to pass over to the Dad and get on with my own things, so they all played together and went for trips on the train.
He took them with him to go get dinner, takeaways - a Friday night treat. and before we knew it dinner had been eaten, little bodies had been washed in the bath, clean pyjamas were on and bedtime stories were being read.

Just a normal day at home.
A good day, a fun day, a learning day and play day.
Nothing special :)

Friday, September 9, 2011

So...Things I Know!

I came across this lovely blog Yay for Home! the other day and after reading some of her posts I really felt such a connection to her experiences, from our similar first birth stories, to subsequent homebirthing, to unschooling!

So I've decided to try join in her weekly "Things I Know" post today.

So here are my things I know today:

1. I am not alone :D
2. Health rusks baking away in the oven make my house smell good!
3. Fridays still feel good, even if you're home all week!
4. Morning sickness is my worst thing ever...but I survive, it does pass, and is is passing at last!!!
5. You can go to the most amazing places on a train built by your children with all the chairs in the house.
6. Music while baking is essential, so is wiggling your bum and dancing around while you're busy.
7. After a visit from a friend with a small baby I'm more glad than ever I don't have to worry about public versus private, deposits & waiting lists, school fees & uniforms.
8. Moving my piano to make space for shelves in the playroom means the war on clutter is well on the way!
9. I'm already more in love with the little person in my tummy than I ever thought possible!
10. Takeaways rock...not having to cook rocks more!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

So...Homemade Activity Book!

Once upon a time Bear used to love puzzles, and he was very good at them! By the time he was 2 he was doing 36 piece puzzles with no issues and even some bigger.
And then he stopped!
Since then he claims he can't do them and if he asks to take them down it's just so he can watch you complete them yourself.

I mentioned this to a friend and she suggested that some children get bored of puzzles once they figure out how they work. For them it's not so much about the picture, but rather how the pieces go together, and once they've worked it out that's it, they're no longer interested in doing any more. I have no idea if this is true or not but it made sense, especially as once he's mastered something Bear usually has no interest in revisiting it.

She did however suggest we try some mazes with him, and so I printed some off and voila, he loved it!
I couldn't keep up with the printing demand though, so I came up with the idea of putting together a little activity book for him that he could reuse whenever he wanted.

I got onto google and even found post of someone who had done the very same thing who already had already had a nice list of links to various activity sheets and mazes. So if you want to print off your own head over to The Best Toys for Toddlers for some resources.

Once I had a variety of mazes, connect the dots & some exercise sheets for preparing to write, I printed them all off onto brightly coloured paper, and then borrowed my sister's laminator to laminate them.
How cool are laminators??? Oh how I'd love my own, definitely one for the wish list!
Then all I had to do was punch holes in them and put together the book using 2 keyrings. Add some whiteboard markers and a cloth and there you have your very own reusable activity book!

You can try find yourself through the maze as many times as you like...

....and if you went the wrong way or made a mistake you can just wipe and start again!

Bear really impressed me with how quickly he understood how to do everything. Here's one of the follow the dots completed all by himself.

Follow the dots is also great for them to learn numbers and sequences...or even help with learning the alphabet if the dots are marked with letters instead of numbers.

And here's bear trying out some the exercises which are to help prepare them for handwriting skills when they're older.

This was the first attempt...and the second line was my demonstration, after this he did them all again and did fantastically well!

And finally I put in a blank page just for him to draw on. And here's his portrait of his Dad. Isn't it just perfect?

And what has our Evie been up to? Well she's a little under the weather with a cold at the moment, but we kept her busy during this with her favourite activity...eating!!!

And when we were finished look what we found lol

"Huh...What do you mean I have something on my face?"