Letting my Kids Watch me Struggle to Learn

My 4-year-old playing the didgeridoo.

Two weeks ago I decided to learn to play the didgeridoo.  It’s totally different from anything I’ve ever done before, and it’s challenging to learn.  But I’m having fun, and really enjoying it.  The deep resonance of the sound is soothing.  And the complete concentration it requires forces me to focus on only the one thing before me, making it a wonderfully meditative act.… Continue reading

Learning is Fun: Making Bead Necklaces

My 4-year-old has recently become very interested in necklaces.  He’s always had a bit of interest in my necklaces, but it never really stuck.  Then his big brother bought him a cat necklace at the Artisan Fair where his big brother had a booth, which immediately turned my 4-year-old into an every day necklace wearer.

 

Following the introduction of the cat necklace, we took a family trip to Michigan, where – in addition to lots of family gathering and fun – we cleared out my [deceased] mother-in-law’s belongings in order to donate them to a local women’s shelter.… Continue reading

When a Random Comment Reflects Learning

My four-year-old getting ready to carry the beetle to our garden after his talk with it.

After they find out that we homeschool, people often ask me how I know my kids are learning.  After all, while kids in schools (and even some homeschoolers) take tests, I don’t test my children.  And the answer is, in a myriad of ways.

 

Sometimes I know they’re learning because they demonstrate a skill. … Continue reading

Learning by Doing: Manning a Table at a Local Artisan Fair

My 8-year-old manning his booth at the artisan fair.

Last year, my elder son made a family friend a series of four bead ornaments depicting the life-cycle of a caterpillar (an egg, a caterpillar, a chrysalis, and a butterfly).  She loved them, and suggested that he start a business selling them.  My then 7-year-old leaped on this idea and began to make ornaments to sell.… Continue reading

A 3-year-old’s Lesson in Spending

My 3-year-old's Lesson in Spending
The car my 3-year-old bought, and then realized it was a mistake.

Last week my 3-year-old walked up and handed me his little car, “I’m ready to give this to Ari,” he declared.  (Ari is the grandson of our next-door neighbor.  When my 3-year-old outgrows his clothes or toys, we pass them along to Ari.)

 

“Are you sure?” I asked.… Continue reading

Toilet Readiness, or Remembering to Simply Trust your Child

Toilet Readiness, or Remembering to Simply Trust your Child
Our remaining cloth diaper stash, ready to pack up and give away.

Whenever the topic of potty training comes up (and it does when you hang out with other parents of young children), I joke that our dog toilet-trained my oldest son.  And I say it only half in jest.  One night when I was cooking dinner, my son – at age 2.5 – came in and announced, “I peed outside, just like Mazel[-dog].”  He declared that he wanted to wear underwear, and he was going to pee outside like the dog all the time. … Continue reading

Getting Kids Involved with Preparations for a Special Day

Happy Thanksgiving
A Pumpkin painted by my 7-year-old.

Since Thanksgiving is tomorrow, I thought you might find a reminder about this post from over the summer helpful.  In it, my friend Lainie discusses how she uses a Sticky Note Wall to help involve her kids in preparing for a big gathering or celebration.

 

You can find the post HERE.

 

This is a great suggestion for families, especially once your kids can read.… Continue reading

Encouraging Self-Sufficiency: Teaching my 7-year-old to do Laundry

Encouraging Self-Sufficiency: Teaching my 7-year-old to do Laundry
My 7-year-old loading the washing machine.

Before my children move out of the house, there are a wide variety of skills that I want them to master.  Basic self-care, home care (HERE and HERE), basic repair skills, cooking, financial literacy, and many other things along these lines.  One of these skills is doing laundry.

 

My 7-year-old, who has watched me do laundry from the time I wore him as a newborn, recently expressed an interest in doing the laundry himself. … Continue reading

Making Art Bots at our Local Makers’ Space

Making Art Bots at our Local Makers' SpaceHomeschooling, and parenting in general, doesn’t happen in a vacuum.  One of the ways we expand beyond the personal resources my husband and I possess as parents is to search out resources within our community.  Sometimes this comes in the form of knowledgeable friends, and other times it comes in the form of institutions and teachers who become part of our learning community (and often become friends in the process).… Continue reading