Sunday, May 1, 2011

Learning from Life

Yoav today surprised me with a bit of math knowledge.

I was cutting fabric pieces for a gift for my MIL.  In case she sees this, I won't say what I'm making, but I'm making six things, each of which requires six pieces of fabric.  Yoav counted the fabric pieces and said there were 35.  Then he immediately corrected himself with, "Oh, no, there's six xyzs (what I'm making) and six pieces for each, so there's 36."  I said, "Huh?  I thought you said there are 35?".  Him:  "But there's six sixes so I know there's 36."  Me:  "How do you know?"  Him:  "I just know that six sixes is 36."  Me:  "Oh." 

So, a six-year-old still learns the multiplication tables from real life even if it's not on the schedule until second grade.  One thing I love about homeschooling is knowing for sure that no one formally taught this to him - all along the way, I've seen him counting things, putting things in rows to count, keeping track, remembering.  I love watching him figure out math - he can count by twos, count by tens, knows how to multiply and obviously remembers at least some of the times table, knows that when I'm 70 he'll be 40, knows that Elie will be 97 when he's 100 :)

And yet he still doesn't know the word "plus" or "multiply".  Or "math" for that matter.  But he's learning it nonetheless because his desire to learn is untempered.  I can avoid telling him the names of letters and the names of math processes, but it doesn't stop the learning - it just keeps the learning from becoming intellectualized.


I've been busy getting the house organized and doing a LOT of weeding.  I've been fairly lax about our rhythm, and the laxness is showing up as irritating behavior in my 6yo.  So, I'm forcing myself to get back on the wagon.  I even managed to get DH to read Martha Johnson's (waldorfhomeeducators Yahoo group) Kindy document so he can help understand what I'm doing and help me stay focused and motivated!

I have a more solid weekly menu plan that I *think* is realistic and I hope will hold.  And along with that, minor changes to our general weekly plan.

These are my two updated schedules:

Sunday: Family Day (errands, gardening, house projects)
Monday: Gardening Day
Tuesday: Painting Day
Wednesday: Handwork Day
Thursday: Soup Day
Friday: Baking Day
Saturday: Shabbat

For the Weekly Schedule, I switched Cleaning Day to Soup Day.  Yoav didn't like a "Cleaning Day" and I can incorporate cleaning into our afternoons.  Soup day coordinates with the new weekly menu plan - we'll have soup for dinner on Thursday and the remaining soup will be saved for Friday dinner.

One new thing I've been doing that I learned from Martha Johnson is to keep a basket out with a few key items for that day's activity.  I really love this.  I have a beautiful basket that I acquired from a woman who ran an organic grocery that went out of business.  I keep that on the kitchen table with a few items - so, tomorrow is gardening day so I have the basket out with a trowel and shovel; for Painting Day, I'll put out the cut paper (edges rounded) and paints, etc.  I've noticed that this has two obvious benefits - keeps me motivated and lets the kids know what "Day" it is without asking me.

I also put together a basic and very easy weekly menu for myself.  This is an idea from "Simplicity Parenting", although my schedule is even more basic than he suggests - the author, Kim John Payne, suggests a "chinese food day", "mexican food day", etc.  I'm keeping mine really simple because Yoav is very picky so I don't vary the food too much during the week.  Having the schedule will just help me make sure food is defrosted in time!  Along with having trouble with my rhythm through the move (and, to be fair, Pesach), I've also had a hard time keeping up with all the cooking and have fallen far short of my ideal.  A new organic store opened up five minutes from us, so that should help with last-minute oversights.

Sunday:  Eggs (shakshuka, scrambled, etc)
Monday:  Ground Beef (hamburger, spaghetti with meat sauce)
Tuesday:  Chicken (shnitzel, roast chicken)
Wednesday:  Steak
Thursday:  Soup and liver (soup is main course for me and DH, liver is main course for the kids)
Friday:  Shabbat
Saturday:  Leftovers