Saturday, January 30, 2010

Muffin Tin School

My oldest boys are both "doing school" with me this year at home. They are 7 and 5 and most of our work spans the kindergarten through 2nd grade range. We regularly cover Bible, math, grammar, handwriting, history, science and geography and when we remember I have them practice piano.

This year marks the beginning, in my mind, of buckling down and doing school more than we don't do school, if that makes sense. And while that may seem like a long list of subjects to tackle each day, I'm thankful to say that it really doesn't take up very much time each day... most of the time.

When the boys were a little younger and I was just beginning to homeschool I envisioned our school day as a morning of activities that could be adjusted to include all of the little people in our home. I guess when the boys were younger there were less little people. And so that's how we did it.

Circle Time together.
History and science read alouds.
A little coloring and a little singing.

But now, as we begin to enter into a different season, I can see my childrens' abilities and interests begin to span a much wider range. We have those who are in school and those who are clearly pre-school.

Both groups need their mommy but in very different ways. It's been a difficult beam to balance as I adjust to the necessary changes that we've made in our day so that more of me is being spread around to those who need it.

Circle Time together is followed by a short session of School Time for the boys while the younger kids play with something special in their own spaces nearby... We are now saving our big chunk of school work for the afternoons when the Littles are resting. That has been the biggest change. No more Rest Time for the big boys and... no more Rest Time for me.

Giving more sacrificially of what I've always considered "my time" has been a challenge but I think it's for the best.


Hmm. I guess I had a lot to say about how things have changed.


What I really came here to share is what my preschoolers do for their "school".

Here is a little activity that has been popular with Mercy and Josiah:

I've had this little bin of toys since Daniel, now 7, was 2 or 3.

Ceramic animals from years of buying Red Rose Tea make a fun sorting activity for Josiah.

Foam sea creatures are sorted by color and counted "one-two-free-foh".

And nuts. These are very popular among our little people. Don't you want your toddlers to recognize every available nut shell known to man in the Pacific Northwest?

I love this self directed, open-ended and occaisionally quiet activity that I can pull out for my preschoolers to do while I'm involved in something they can't readily participate in.

Ultimately, I realize that I can't be everything to each child all the time. Not in the realm of schooling. Even less so in terms of the development of their hearts and minds into godly men and women. I have to remind myself daily to do my best to love them in all of their different ages and stages and to rely on God to complete the fulfillment of their needs.


Stacy said...

Great job, sweet Rebecca! You're a wonderful mama and- I imagine- a FINE teacher, too! :)

Cutzi said...

This was a very timely post for me - Steele is pressing me to start school with him, telling me that he "needs to learn how to read." I certainly don't want to squelch his motivation so we're starting into it. While we aren't yet going to devote hours to school time for him - I have been starting to think of some things to do with Adia while Steele and I are busy on phonics etc. I've thought of bins but am challenged to think of some different bin ideas. This would be perfect for her - she is so mature and I know she will want to be included in school in some way but isn't quite ready for what I think Steele would like to tackle.

Anyhow, this comment got pretty long but these are the same sorts of thoughts that have been rolling around in my brain and I appreciate you sharing them.

amy said...

Yes, yes, yes Rebecca!
You know we've made similar changes recently and I really appreciate your writing it down. You are such a kindred dear friend. And the ways in which we are different (ex. your humble attitude here) encourages me like crazy.

You are right we can't be everything for our kids. And really it is pride to feel like we are going to be able to do it just right. We won't. We'll fail and then God's love can cover over the multitude of our mistakes and it can be His work that makes our kids who they are. It is good.

Carolynn said...

The sacrifice is what it is all about! Training them to serve and to love, it is difficult and I appreciate your honesty and encouragement. Keep up the good work.