Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Letting Kids Choose the Subject.

So I woke up yesterday morning and had no idea what to teach about that day. I had my coffee, ate my breakfast, brushed my teeth and lazied around for an hour, hoping an idea would come to me. Usually, Jooniper's homeschooling is finished by 12:30pm. So I was running a bit late for curriculum ideas. The day before, we had spent almost an hour on Math workbooks, so I wanted to take a break from that. But I needed to be inspired. We got dressed, the kids played with an awesome building toy we got from Applause toy store. The creative juices got flowing after Jooniper whined: "Mom! Jack's wrecking my tent!"
There it was, that's what I was waiting for. A subject that she had taken an interest in, something that I could use to incorporate art, english and usable knowledge. I told her and Jack to go get their back packs and fill them with things they think they will need for camping. Jack put his 4 wheeler toy and some pants in. We talked about how some people do bring their 4 wheelers camping. Jooniper packed lots of clothes. We told her about the importance of an extra pair of dry socks and clothes that are tough and she doesn't mind if they get dirty. Then we got them to grab their canteens and we discussed how important clean drinking water is for someone who is hiking. Then we taught them camp fire safety. We pretended the floor was the ground outside. we pretended to dig a pit, then we surrounded the dirt pit with stones. We used dryer lint, then rolled up construction paper as sticks and some wooden cylindrical blocks as logs. We explained how important it was that the wood be dry. Then we talked about how only adults are allowed to light the fire. Then we roasted marsh mellows over our fake fire using pencil crayons as our sticks. After that Jooniper and I wrote out a 10 step plan to making a camp fire safely, including keeping water nearby and making sure the pit is dug away from the tent, trees and bushes. I typed out the 10 steps leaving key words blank for her to print in. Then we read it together. At that point the sun was shinning and I wanted to get out of the house. Jooniper was having so much fun playing camping that she didn't want to leave. So I had to make an adventure worth leaving for. I created a scavenger hunt to take place at the local outdoors store. Jooniper and I made a list together of all the things we would need to go camping. Then We drove into town and walked to the outdoors store. Jooniper then had to find everything on the list. She even added a few things. I love how easily she walked up the the salesclerks and asked them to help her find something. She even would ask them what certain items were used for when camping. Sometimes she would stop and draw one of the items in her workbook (Yay art!)
Jooniper had worked very hard that day. In fact, we had spent 15 minutes sounding out the word "sticks" earlier. So it was time to blow off some steam at the park. Jooniper made a new friend named Jacob. They ran around together for an hour before it was time to go home. We had a wonderful time together. As a side note: we started Jooniper's own cookbook on Monday. She had been talking about making smoothies, so we made a smoothie, then wrote down the ingredients together and she drew pictures of them, then we put them in a separate duo-tang and she labeled it Jooniper's Cook Book.