Monday, February 23, 2009

Holidays and Learning

Have you noticed the new gadget at the top of the blog page? Yeah, it's kind of hard to miss, I know. Well, a couple of people have asked about some of the "holidays" we celebrate - the ones that aren't quite as well known to most people. Several years ago some dear friends gave us a book entitled Every Day a Holiday from which we find many of our holidays. I'm discovering there are also many more holidays to celebrate out there. We don't celebrate them all, by any means, but it is a fun addition to each month to celebrate a few extra days. Hence the calendar. I only have a couple of holidays on the calendar right now, but I hope to fill March up very soon. You'll notice today is the Tootsie Roll Anniversary and National Banana Bread Day. We have a bag of Tootsie Roll midgets ready for today's festivities, and I just noticed yesterday that our bananas are in great need of being turned into a yummy bread. Our "holiday" sharing friends just shared a new favorite recipe of their own that I think we'll just have to try today.

As our family progresses along this journey of homeschooling, we are realizing more and more what it's all really about. Yes, book learning is a great priority of ours, and it is so very exciting to teach our children through the course of a structured school day and then watch as in daily life they show how they are "getting" the history, science, math, and language lessons they are learning each day in school. But, another thing Doug and I - and many other homeschoolers - really try to emphasize is the reality that learning isn't limited to an organized school day. We find so many ways throughout each day and experience in life to create natural teaching moments. It has been such a natural part of our lives that we haven't really realized that we are teaching our children to notice and take advantage of teaching moments on their own! But, just this morning, we saw a perfect example of that very thing.

Steven doesn't have designated chores of his own at this age, but he does have occasional tasks that he is assigned now and then, and he definitely knows the meaning of the word "chore." One thing he knows is that the girls cannot play with him until their chores are done each morning. I doubt he consciously acknowledges that if he helps them, they get to play sooner. And, I doubt that he really even realizes that by helping them he gets what he really wants - time with his sisters. But, he has, in his own way, discovered that helping them with their chores is a positive thing. So, this morning he decided to help Olivia sort laundry. My heart swelled with pride when I stopped to watch them and Olivia paused to explain what she had been doing. She wanted to help Steven work on his shapes. She had a round laundry basket and a rectangular one. She was helping Steven reinforce his shape learning by handing him clothes and telling him which shape basket to put the clothes into. It was very intentional on her part, taking advantage of an every-day life activity to promote learning. I can't tell you how proud I was of my big girl!

We are looking forward to a great week. Tomorrow we'll be heading to Little Rock to attend Home School Day at the Capitol. I'm sure we'll have lots to share from that field trip! We will also very soon begin digging into next year's curriculum, spending the next few months going through it all to see how we can supplement and enhance the wonderful things we'll be learning next year. We're all looking forward to American History and an introduction to Biology! We're also going to be trying a few new recipes this coming month, so I hope to get back to sharing our favorites with you. Stay tuned!

2 comments:

Stephanie's Mommy Brain said...

I love stories like this!! You know, a trip to New England is a great way to supplement an Am History course! ;)

Doug Hibbard said...

Well, at one point I looked at going to seminary in Massachusetts.

But the commute to preach would probably be brutal.

Doug