Believe it or not, we are sometimes home for hours on end and have lots of time to dive into interesting projects and extensive endeavors. Sometimes we only have a little snip-it of time, but that can sometimes be just what we need.
Today was going to be a busy day, one requiring a bunch of driving and several activities. I knew our time at home was limited, but thought I could make the best of it. We had an hour.
My boys have very different needs and wants from each other. Gavin wants to be left alone to pursue information as he, Bing, his library books, History Channel and Sal Khan see fit. Mikey needs more purposeful direction and my attention.
I picked up a library book called ‘Pass the Bread‘ and read it to Mike. It’s a super-meaty 😉 book about breads from around the world. The book discussed varying countries and cultures, types of breads and their origins, the chemistry behind various manifestations of bread and had beautiful photographs from around the world. It was full of great vocabulary, lots of geography, history and touched on several religions. Carefully selected, living books are an indispensible resource for us.
Since we were on the ‘bread’ subject, I asked if he would like to set up a little experiment – really, did I need to ask! We had a discussion about yeast, checked it out thoroughly by looking at it and even smelling it and then filled two bottles with water and yeast. We gave one bottle some sugar and one some salt – he already surmised that by the afternoon, the carbon dioxide would have done it’s job with one of the attached balloons – and not the other.
Once our experiment was set up we took a few minutes to work out of an ‘English’ book – it’s an old-fashioned little thing, but full of simple, practical activities. Mikey copied three sentences out of the book practicing the proper use of ‘two’, ‘to’, and ‘too’. In 10 minutes Mikey had practiced his handwriting, addressed capital letters and some punctuation and had mastered those three tricky words.
Mikey played with his Cuisenaire Rods for a few minutes and then I reviewed sets and subsets with him. He was able to tell me about equality and equivalency and I explained that the next activity would be about unions and intersections – yeah! Check out these rods and activity cards – there are a lot of fun with none of the ‘math pressure’.
I believe the reason for the ease in this scenario is that my kids pick activities, books, topics, and methods that they enjoy and that interest them. I do not ‘force’ my kids to complete a certain activity they are not enjoying – there are way to many choices for that!
Our time was up and we needed to run. In and hour and ten minutes we covered some geography and history, a little chemistry, some grammar and a bit of math – and it had been fun and meaningful. Such little time can go such a long way.