It’s been a while since we caught up hasn’t it? I felt a bit like the weekly posts were becoming a chore and that’s not what I’m about! Trying to capture everything was difficult and also pretty distracting. I don’t want to be grabbing my camera every time I see some beautiful natural learning. I want to be in the moment! So I decided monthly posts would be better. That way I will surely still have enough photos to fill up a post but I don’t have to include everything, just a snapshot. It also allows me to show you better how things really happen, I think. Our life isn’t so much a series of activities strung together, but more like a slow building of different interests, ideas, and experiences that are all connected. Maybe that will come across better by only posting monthly. We’ll see!
So what have we been learning this month? Thinking back it didn’t seem like much. We have been busy with friends birthday parties, some sickness, and a family wedding where the girls were flower girls which was very exciting! Looking through my photos though I was surprised as usual, we have been learning quite a lot amongst all the busyness!
One of the highlights of the month was our trip to Australia Zoo. The girls loved seeing all the animals.
Miss 1 even got to feed a kangaroo!
Miss 6 really likes snakes.
The giraffe’s were my favourite.
The big news of the month was Miss 6 learning to ride her pedal bike. She has had a balance bike for a long time and got this pedal bike a year ago. So far she hasn’t been able to ride it independently though as she couldn’t reach the ground properly, so she needed help starting and stopping. Not any more! She has mastered it and is so proud of herself!
Our littlest girl is getting to be much more a toddler and less of a baby now, wanting to join in on everything the big girls are doing. Luckily, they are mostly very happy to help her join in with them. They’re so caring and patient with her. This month I’ve been reflecting on how close sibling relationships are one of the biggest advantages of homeschooling, for us anyway. The girls have always been so close and I used to worry what would happen when my eldest went off to school and how that would change things. Thinking back on the last year, if they had all been separated they would have missed out on so much of getting to know their new little sister. There is so much focus on socialization and the importance of time with friends but what about sibling relationships? Surely at this age that is even more crucial. The bonds they’re forming now will last them a lifetime, I hope. I’m so grateful that they are growing up together and are not separated for much of their waking hours during these years.
You might have seen me mention this book over on my facebook page because I love it! Isn’t it so beautiful? The girls were inspired by it and asked if they could grow beans to watch the lifecycle. You might remember we actually did this at homeschool co-op very recently. However, once we got home the girls were not at all interested. They didn’t check on the beans or water them at all. They eventually went mouldy and died and I threw them out without anyone even noticing. This time, things couldn’t be more different.
We soaked some bean seeds and then ‘planted’ them in jars with some cotton wool so we could observe them clearly.
First thing in the morning the girls run to check on them and see how much they’ve grown. Miss 6 draws a picture of what they look like in her nature journal and labels it with the number day we’re up to. They are both so fascinated and excited by them. It has just been such a reinforcement of my belief that learning is really pretty pointless unless it’s meaningful to the child. We have done exactly the same thing as we did a few weeks ago, the only difference being that one was adult initiated, and one was child initiated. Now that’s not to say I won’t continue exposing them to new things! I’ll always give them opportunities to learn something new and spark an interest in something they may not have come across on their own. It’s just that if they’re not interested then that is OK. Learning is consensual and never forced. It’s so much more fulfilling that way.
Keeping with the bean theme, we also used them in some art. I did need something to do with all those left over beans! I set them out for the girls one night with some sturdy cardboard and glue.
The next day they added some paint to them.
I really love how these turned out!
Of course, as there usually is, there was a lot more art this month too. Here’s just a few things that happened. If you haven’t tried sidewalk chalk paint you really must. It’s super simple!
Miss 1 particularly likes joining in where art is concerned. This sometimes includes drawing on the walls and floor, ha! Consequently the art shelves have now been rearranged as some things needed to be a little higher up! But seriously, how cute is this little hand holding the pen?
Some wooden pegs, cards, tape, and patterned paper added to the shelves sparked this little scene. Some peg dolls and a house.
We learned about Pointillism and Georges Seurat. You can read more here.
Autumn is here, if only the weather would catch up! Nevertheless we started some autumn themed art for the wall anyway.
You might have noticed in a few of the photos I’ve left little notes for the girls. Miss 6 told me at the start of the year that this year she wanted to keep learning to read, however she hasn’t been interested in reading a lot lately. I reminded her of what she said and asked her if she would like to do some more reading. The answer was ‘No, I’m bored of reading at the moment’. Well ok then. I’m confident that her interest will come back at some point, reading is a pretty handy skill to have! And I’m glad that I can give her the freedom to take a break when she needs it rather than pushing on and risking making her dislike reading. I still like to provide a literacy rich environment though and give her lots of opportunities to read in ways that are meaningful, if she wants to. Lately I’ve been leaving little notes out at night with the things I have set up for them to find in the morning.
Someone else has been leaving notes around the place too! Isn’t early writing just the cutest? It may look like scribbles but it’s very meaningful to her. She can tell me exactly what it says and I can see some letters in there too. Watching her I also see that she is ‘writing’ left to right and top to bottom. The early stages of beginning to write! When did she get so big?
Miss 4 also learnt to play Uno. Maths is fun and games here.
A lot of maths this month has actually been on the iPad. The girls are loving this app called Dragon Box which actually teaches algebra. It’s really clever!
They also like IXL maths which honestly to me seems really boring. It’s an app or website which is linked to the australian curriculum where they can practice lots of maths problems. I’m not sure what the appeal is for them but it’s not about me is it? They seem to really like it.
A little invitation to build.
After a lot of trial and error she worked out that building cubes was the way to go and was extremely proud of her efforts. She then got out the measuring tape to see how tall it was.
There’s been a lot of counting with the play money this month. Here she is counting out $1 in each of the coins. We then played a game where I made 2 piles of money and she had to work out which one added up to more. She wanted to write down the answers so also learnt how to write dollars and cents properly.
A new interest emerging: music! The girls were lucky enough to get this keyboard off their Aunty and Uncle for their birthdays. So far Miss 6 has learnt the names of the notes and how to play ‘Mary had a little lamb’. I’m interested to see if she wants to learn more.
This month there was lots of fun times with friends! A couple of birthday parties and plenty of time playing and creating together.
Some loose parts play and storytelling with friends.
A trip to the art gallery and play in this climbing web with co-op.
Unstructured time with friends outdoors is the absolute best. Always so magical and fulfilling.
Beading with co-op.
Little hands find little beads very tempting.
And that was life for us in March! I’ll see you again in another month. Until then, I’d love to hear what you’ve been up to? What are your children interested in? Or do you have a question for me? Leave a comment below…