Sunday, March 7, 2010

Unschool Pizazz

This is a sample of what I am about to talk about.

Here is another sample, this one is for math, 9's X tables

As unschoolerish/eclectic homeschoolers, I am always looking for new ways to engage the kids and to keep somewhat of a portfolio or record of my kids' learning accomplishments. I have done a lot of reading about Montessori and Waldorf lately. I have taken many ideas from both. The biggie is that I wanted to get my living room set up more condusive to learning. I will post pics after I finish rearranging it. I bought all those new things on Amazon(mentioned in my last blog post) as they were all different suggestions from Montessori and Waldorf websites. The neatest discovery I made though was on a Waldorf website. They have the kids do a main lesson block(read-very fun and short learning period that is still able to be interested led-at least the way I will do it) and what they do is read some on day 1, have the kids draw with beautiful beeswax crayons or paint or cook or build something from the reading. Then, the next day they write about it. You then repeat for day 3 and 4. In the end, they end up with a beautiful book (they are heavy duty white paper spiral bound and I bought them all from Paper Scissors Stone you can find them under main lesson books. You can use 1 per child per trimester or quarter. I bought quite a few to last me. Your kids can even do math concepts in these books and it becomes a REALLY beautiful keepsake. I currently use a huge 3 ring binger with dividers and I grab things up after they have made them or pictures they doodled, almost everything my kids make, I find so much beauty in and I keep it all. I have it all in my binder right now, but I feel this would be an even neater way to keep a portfolio of their work. I also purchased rubber cement glue for things they do outside of the book that I still want displayed in it. These are going to be really awesome. It really lends to our kind of homeschooling. You can even treat these like scrapbooks and add pictures of the kids doing Yoga to their new Yoga DVD or what have you. I will definately post some pics of our books as we get everything we ordered and get them up and filling in!  The toys Waldorf schools suggest are wooden and open ended things like the playsilks I bought. I have always taken bits and peices from Waldorf sites and tried to adhere to wooden toys, though we do have many plastic. I do keep away from *most battery toys though. There are some that are just too cute to pass up and still offer some kind of creative play like remote control cars or push toys for babies that have lights on them. I mostly dispise battery toys because of the constant cost and their often very breakable with no open ended play, basicaly doing one thing only. I bought quite a few new wooden toys yesterday too though to add to ours. I will display everything in the living room on a bookshelf. The top of this low bookshelf will be our seasonal nature table. I am just really excited to give our homeschool a new energy or face lift. Its not going to be much different from what we already do, just some added pizazz and I think we all have the winter hum drums and we need that. There will also be a plastic 3 drawer dresser thing that will have every craft supply imaginable in it for the kids. It will have Mexican Pottery clay, construction paper, scraps, foil, buttons, colored pencils, water colors, yarn, wool, crochet hooks, knitting looms, all sorts of things for handiwork. My kids are huge fans of any and all types of handiwork and I think this will better concentrate their efforts while SoCal continues to be soggy from rain so that they are not sitting around fighting. There are some basics about Waldorf I do not agree with so I will just skip those. These things are no plastic toys, no battery toys, no tv, no computers, the list goes on. This is extreme and I believe children learn so much from so many things that I would not limit my kids to such a narrow way of living. The world is theirs for the taking so I want them exposed to as much of it as possible. Its really fun to dabble from different homeschooling theories though and take the parts of it that you love. While I love child-led learning, I do not love radical unschooling. I saw my kids turn into parent controlling monsters who watched tv all day, ate candy til their teeth started rotting and had no respect for other adults beyond Nate and I. We live and learn and grow and thankfully with homeschooling, we can adjust and tweek our homeschools until they are a sanctuary for us to all live in harmony.


Cat said...

Absolutely BEAUTIFUL pages you showed pictures of Janis! I want to know more about this patricular thing that you are doing with your children as you do it, I may have to add something similar to our homeschooling. Thank you for taking the time to share it and type out about it.

Sadie said...

I have always loved the look of the Waldorf main lesson books....I have never dived in since it would stress my not-artistically-inclined oldest. My 2nd though, would love it....