last month, i mentioned a few curriculums i like and a few book series that i have in my possession and use from time to time. this month, i thought i’d mention a few things we use that are not necessarily considered ‘proper’ for education plus i’ll go more into using our everyday experiences on the homestead as life skilling.
games are a lot of fun. it’s a great way of sneaking education in without the kid knowing it. my daughter at 4 loves to spell things out. she’ll ask me to spell words and she’ll write them on a piece of paper or on a mini chalkboard (laura ingall’s style) that i picked up at michael’s awhile back for about $6. we don’t always play games in their tradition sense though. for instance, dominos is great for counting. we draw one out and count the dots. scrabble tiles and bananagram tiles are great for that beginner speller…she calls out a word, i spell it out loud and she pulls out the tiles and spells the word. the games we play with and use most are:
wildcraft (cooperative board game)
sky travelers (cooperative board game)
walk in the woods (cooperative board game)
match up games (we have two – ‘i never forget a face’ and ‘life on earth’ the pictures are lovely)
all these games offer different learning lessons and even a bit of physican education (have you ever tried to play twister with 3 or 4 kids???) math, spelling, art, cooperation, deduction/logic and botany are just a few of the things we learn from these games.
we also are fortunate enough to have a really great mexican restaurant in our town that is run by a mexican family. while we don’t get to go out to eat often, when we do, the waiters always speak in spanish a bit which gets my daughter’s attention. we usually spend the entire dinner discussing how to say various things in spanish. i sincerely believe that learning by a variety of means is the best way to learn. at home, we have muzzy spanish, rosetta stone spanish, as well as reading rods alphabet book (i found these at a library book sale, i need to find the actual ‘rods’ that go with them). we also watch dora or diego a few times a week and we have a dora cd-rom and another cd-rom for spanish learning. my daughter gets frustrated very quickly hearing one version so switching it up works well for her. i don’t feel like she learns much, if anything with dora but it gets her interested in the subject so i let her watch it.
the kitchen is a great place to learn math. since she can’t read yet, i will read her the recipes and have her count out the measurements of ingredients. we talk about doubling recipes or halving them as well. when grocery shopping, we compare prices of items to get the best deal. if i were more budget minded like i should be, i would start with a budget and we would work it out from there with our list of needs/wants. in the future, i’ll probably do this as well.
all my kids get equal treatment. they all learn to do laundry, dishes, help clean the house, take care of the animals and help out around the farm as needed. they all have cooked at some time or other (all except the 2 year old but i’m sure that will change soon). i do not refuse to teach any one of my kids a task simply because they are a specific gender. all the older ones can shoot a gun and all the older ones have their own assortment of pocket knives.
i include everyone in gardening. we discuss how much food it takes to feed our family and how much we would need to put away to keep us fed for a cycle of seasons. each one of these tasks teach the children to be more self sufficient and to know what’s important in life. if they only learn one thing before they leave the nest, it will be how to take care of themselves and others if need be.