Saturday, September 26, 2009

A Homeschooling Day

We were going to have an easy morning at home.

The lesson planner was full of direction, but the younger children weren't having the sort of day that was going to help us accomplish any of my well selected goals.

So I turned to the basket of books. Katie Meets the Impressionists was the first one I saw. I sat on the floor and began to read. Immediately two little girls were at my side. Afterall, who can resist a good book?

We joined Katie as she travelled through the works of Degas, Renoir, and Monet. After such an artistic adventure, we were inspired!

As I finished reading the last page, K (age 6) immediately yelled, "Let's paint!" T (age 5) agreed. D (age 2) chimed in with, "Yaaay! Let's paint green beans," and he dashed off to the kitchen.

Green beans? Huh?

The girls and I cracked up. But off went little D to the kitchen pantry where he grabbed the bag of dried lima beans. He was thinking of an activity we did months ago. We had painted some beans for a math game. Apparently, he enjoyed it and was ready to recreate the activity!

And so for the morning we became painters, imitating impressionist artists, though some of us just painted beans...

Soon, D's bean painting inspired some thoughts about bean planting. So off the girls went to gather dirt...

And they planted beans in a cup.

And they planted two beans in wet paper towels.

Meanwhile, D found his own form of entertainment.

Our painters, now turned scientists, made predictions about their bean plants.

But soon the blank stack of computer paper beckoned and they returned to their painting. A gallery was created...

Our scientist painters now became the museum docents, guiding mommy through the gallery.

Of course, not all of the students were participating...

But at the end day, mommy was reminded of the beauty of school at home. Learning doesn't have to be planned moment by moment. It happens as life unfolds. All it took on this particular day was a well chosen book. Little minds are easily inspired to interact with the world around them. And being here, at home, gave them the freedom to do so.

At their own pace. In their own way.

No artificial stops and starts. No right or wrong answers in their art. No reason not to let the moment take them outdoors. No limits on their desire to learn and explore.

Just creative genius at work. And all of us together on the journey.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Imagine A Night

I love to walk through the library to check out the books that the librarians put out on display. Often they have picked out great books to display on the top of the shelves.

And sometimes we hit one that becomes an instant hit.

This summer we happened upon the book, Imagine a Night, by Rob Gonsalves. The book features his artwork and poetry. The artwork is indescribably AMAZING! Every person in this house enjoys looking at this book, including D (age 2).

The artwork is fabulous and the poetry is perfectly written to fit the mood of the paintings. We love to whisper as we say, "Imagine a night..."

My mother loved this book so much that she immediately bought a copy to have at her home. And we were so excited to discover that he has two more books:

Imagine a Place and Imagine a Day. We liked them just as much. There is no way I could pick a favorite. These books are amazing.

The best part for us? His artwork is displayed at a gallery within an hour from our home! We can't wait to go.

I HIGHLY recommend reading these!

Thursday, September 17, 2009


I love the library. I max out my teacher card on a regular basis - 60 books. The overflow goes on my regular card, usually another 10-15 books. It is crazy to keep track of, but somehow we only lost one last year.

I can't help it. I just love a good book.

Of course, what I truly love about modern technology is the ability to request titles from anywhere in the county from my home computer so that they are delivered to my local branch. Then when I get there, they are all waiting for me at the front desk so I don't have to try to find the books that I need with kids in tow.


I also renew them all online, saving me lots of time and late fees! But a book won't renew if someone has requested it, so sometimes I have to dash off and make a return last minute.

That situation occured with a book on Columbus this week. It wouldn't renew, so I took the book back to avoid the fine. We hadn't gotten the chance to read it, but we had read some other ones. So it wasn't a big deal.

One day later I got an email from the library informing me that the Columbus book I had requested was available now.

You know...the one I had just returned.

Apparently I am the reason I couldn't renew it.