Wednesday, we had a great day. We took a walk around the yard with our dog, Genny, and made observations about what we saw. AW observed that the chickens were afraid of Genny, and hypothesized that the worm we found in a tomato was eating smaller bugs. I've been reading Last Child in the Woods, and one thing that's had an impact on me is that we don't always need to correct our children when they are making guesses about nature. There's time for teaching and time for exploration. It was a hornworm, so it was definitely eating the tomato. Earlier, while she was eating breakfast, she guessed that she had about 100 Cheerios in her bowl, so after we came back inside, I took out the Cheerios, a clean bowl, and the hundreds chart that came in our last Ivy Box (it had 100 cats stamped on it). I put handfuls in the bowl until she thought it looked like 100 Cheerios. Then we practiced putting them on the chart from left to right and top to bottom (one-to-one correspondence and concepts of print). When we got to sixty (I was helping count), she began counting 61, 62, 63 independently. I helped on the tens and doubles (she said sixty-sixty for 66, seventy-seventy for 77, which I thought was adorable). After 99, she paused and then triumphantly said "a hundred!" For the record, her estimate was pretty close--the total was 122.
Last Thursday was a beautiful day, and we went for a hike with friends on their new favorite trail. We found these great little stone sculptures that reminded us of Andy Goldsworthy, and the kids were great noticers. AW and I worked on this nature guide and DC worked on spotting lots of bugs. We found a "castle," which is actually a ruined mill, and the ruins of an old ice house. The kids learned how to gently handle an earthworm and we talked about how insects can damage trees. It was such a lovely walk! It felt like we hiked a long way, but we only went maybe .5 mile. That's hiking with kids for you!
Friday, Saturday, and Sunday saw sick kids (I am so done with colds around here!) Today we jumped back in. After morning time, AW wanted to play with the cats and toy house that came in our last Ivy Box, and I heard her retelling the story to herself (pre-reading skills: check!). Home Life today was supposed to consist of learning to put away toys--but really I ended up huffily putting away toys while she rode her new bike (because homeschooling isn't always perfect and neither am I).
Then we had a snack and we practice home life skills for real--wiping down the table after a messy snack. We made labels for things in our house as part of a print-rich environment activity from AYOPS. It was a lot of fun--I wrote the words on sentence strips, and she could usually tell me what letter the words started with. We took turns deciding what to label--DC was really into labeling windows. Then I gave her the word and some tape, and she ran around attaching the labels. DC later did a good job taking the labels down and AW put them back up again. Then we made shapes with popsicle sticks and she learned the word "decagon."
Yesterday, we discussed what we were going to learn this week. AW is still into oceans, so she asked for library books about whales and sharks. I decided to go back to an AYOPS activity about manners that flopped, and checked out a bunch of books about manners.
Finally, I want to share a proud moment from today. Like many parents, I get frazzled when I'm making dinner, and by the time it's on the table, I'm not always at my best when it comes to patience. I joked with Himself that she was going to come to the table and tell me that it wasn't what she wanted for dinner, but apparently I was a little more sensitive than I realized. I put salad on her (divided) plate, and she started crying that she didn't want salad on her plate. Himself did a great job of calmly explaining that she didn't have to eat it* but that all the plates were the same. I, on the other hand, lost it. I yelled, "I'll just dump your whole plate in the trash." Not my finest moment. Himself kept talking to her calmly and I turned back to dishing everything out while I calmed down. Then I turned back, and said, in a serious voice,
"I don't want you to eat your salad." She stopped crying and looked at me.
"Why don't you want me to eat your salad?" Then I smiled.
"Because I want to eat your salad!" Then she laughed and the tension broke. She decided that she did in fact want to eat her salad (she took at least three whole bites) and there was no more crying during dinner. It's not that I'm proud of her for eating her salad. I'm proud of ME for getting my temper under control and reconnecting with my kid after I behaved poorly. Sure, she was being rude, but it's also developmental. I should convey appropriate expectations without turning rude myself, because I am the adult. No one's perfect, but you can fix your mistakes!
*Our food rules boil down to this: Parents decide what, when, and where to eat, and the kids decide whether and how much.