Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Park...Our Classroom.

The park is our classroom!
Today was sooo much fun! We went to one of the many playgrounds/parks in our area of the world and had class. Above, Chelsea practices writing the capital letter M as Madison works on her math. The weather was beautiful! One of the best days yet. I suppose Mother Nature wanted to share an inside scoop on what she has in store for us this coming Spring. The pollen fell from the trees like snow from the sky, covering everything beneath it. The bees were buzzing and wasps flying as 6 year olds (only mine) ran screaming in tears. LOL! Madison is truly working through her distrust of bumble bees and wasps. We've researched them online to help her realize that if she doesn't bother them, the chances of her being stung is nil. She calmed down quite a bit from last Spring but is still on alert at every turn. A couple of times I heard her coaching the children in what not to do as it relates to Mother Nature's little helpers. She my little leader in training. They both are.
Mr. Lizard...where are you???

We woke up today around 10am after getting in from church a little late last night. Come to think of it my kids always wake up after 9:30 what a blessing for me! I usually need a couple of extra hours of sleep after my husband goes to work. We ate breakfast, brushed our teeth, got dressed and headed to the park. I packed a lunch and our entire curriculum and off we fled the indoors on our way to the best classroom of all times.

The girls played with three different sets of children today because we were there so long. We picked out our table and Madison continued to work on a "chapter book" that she began writing early this morning entitled The Prince and Princess go to the Ball so I started working with Chelsea with her sight words. It is so amazing to watch her go through her words so effortlessly these days. I'm very happy that I started with them really early with reading, it has made all the difference in their confidence level when it comes to reading anything in print. And although Chelsea is reading the simplest of books right now, at three years old she is poised and on track to be a fluent reader within the year. What more could a Mommy/Teacher ask for from her right now.
Discovering science and nature - a vacated bird's nest found on the ground!

After Madison finished the first chapter of her story, and Chelsea read about 30 or so sight words, I let them take a 10 minute break to run around the park just craving the attention of two little girls. We started back up with Math and writing, then we had to move to another table because the sun started to shine its glory right above us. Around 1pm, we ate lunch and the kids headed back out to play some more. I gave them 30 minutes of play time but to my surprise, Madison came back after 10 minutes wanting to move on to her next subject. I should have seen this coming. Her next subject was cursive writing and she LOVES "fancy writing" she's doing quite well. She's very artistic and I think that this is why cursive writing appeals to her so much, it's a lot like art, in fact I feel that it is an art. It's no longer being taught in public schools but since it is part of her curriculum, and since she is always trying to write fancy like Mommy does sometimes and partly because they are no longer teaching it in schools, I wanted to make sure she learns it and thankfully, it is not a struggle, she looks forward to doing it each day.

After going back to play, I planned on calling them back to the table for more schooling. However, they'd gotten into such a zone with James and Lilly, a brother and sister who came to the park with their Grandfather, that I found it hard to call them away. So I gave them a 10 minute warning. Ten minutes later, I just couldn't do it. They were having such fun. James and Lilly were the kind of kids that I wish I could have on some sort of retainer fee to call on to play with my kids ANYTIME! Well behaved, kind, considerate, able to work well within a group (sounds like a resume' right)? I am just saying, finding good kids who are disciplined along the same lines as your kids is like a breath of fresh air these days. Not like when my husband and I were kids, most parents were teaching their children the same things...not these are allowed to say and do a lot more than we were at their age and frankly I can't handle it. I still believe in a well behaved kid. Yes, one who is allowed to make choices and who speaks up for themselves and who has an opinion; but selfish, disrespectful  and mean, I just find almost unbearable and prefer my kids hang out with the opposite. So, in no uncertain terms, thank God for James and Lilly and kids like them.

Whoa!!! What a rabbit trail. Anyhow, I decided not to call them back to the table for work. I decided that today...they were learning leadership skills and how to work well within a group and how to make new friends and discovery and getting plenty of exercise while at it. Now I am the kind of mommy/teacher who can be very rigid and I tend to push my kids because I feel I know when they are giving it their all so for me to relinquish my plans and abandon my lesson plans for a life skills day was HUGE and our first! But I am so glad that I did. I can honestly say that I believe my kids learned just as valuable a lesson today as reading, writing and arithmetic. They learned how to make new friends. Everyday comes with its own set of opportunities and built in lessons, I have to be flexible enough to recognize it and submit to it from time to time. :)


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