Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Un-schooling Update

After deciding to forego a planned curriculum for Melody for a while, I have found a ton of fun activities that she absolutely loves. Since making learning fun, her interest has been peaked again and she actually wants to learn! It has been much less stressful around here, and I feel we enjoy our time together a lot more. Here are the "un-schooling" activities Melody has been enjoying over the last month.

1. Art!

I have a ton of painting supplies, because I used to do a lot of acrylic/oil based painting before I had my kids. I have at least 3 large easels and so many canvases I can't even count them all! So I set up one of my easels and white boards for Melody to let her creativity flow! She loves drawing but this brought it to a whole different level! She used her markers this time, but I think I will let her use paints next time (outside). It's so great to see how she is progressing artistically. She is now starting to draw actual things and not just scribbles (which I'm sure were things to her!).

2. Imaginative Play

Forts and big empty boxes are great! We used an old ripped sheet to make a giant fort in the living room. (We now do this about 1 or 2 times a week.) She sets up pillows and blankets inside and invites all her dolls in. She especially likes having reading time in her fort. She will get 4 or 5 books from her bookshelf and ask me to read them in the tent. She also has a castle tent that sets up like a camp tent almost. This comes out when I need a little more space. It's smaller and the baby likes crawling in it too! I had a few extra large cardboard boxes left over from my Pampered Chef order. I let her get her crayons or markers and sit in the box and color. She turns them on their side and uses them as a fort as well.

3. Outdoor Play
Just about every morning after breakfast we head out back to have some outside play time. We throw the frisbee for the dogs, she rides her bike, plays in the water table, and digs in the dirt. We have nature hunts where I ask her to find a certain item somewhere in the yard and bring it to me. We also now have the garden which she enjoys helping with!

4. Games and Puzzles

We played Cootie for the first time a few days ago! Okay, well she just built the bugs but it was still fun! She still enjoys playing with a cool toy I made out of an empty cornmeal tub. I punched holes in the top and cut some pipe cleaners to fit. She has to put all the pipe cleaners back in the tub through the little holes on top. In the last couple days she has been obsessed with puzzles! We have about 4 of these 25 piece puzzles that she can do. At first I had to help but now she is doing it all by herself!

5. Playdough
I have a love hate relationship with this stuff. I love that I can put it out on the table and Melody will play with it for hours. I hate cleaning it up off the floor, the chairs, the table, her clothes... you get the point. I'm slowly getting over that part though. She loves it!

6. Leapfrog LeapPad
My awesome sister in law (check out her blog at Tales of A Toddler) gifted us this LeapPad. We only have 2 books for it right now, but Melody is just starting to get the hang of it. Right now she likes to play the games (colors, numbers, etc) on each page. I had to teach to her to LISTEN to what it says, now she enjoys it because she understands it. I am going to keep my eyes out for more books! 

7. File Folder Games
My step mom is a teacher so when she is downsizing I usually get a few things. She gave me a big box full of file folder games and we dug into it a couple weeks ago. Some of them are still a little too advanced (addition, subtraction, multiplication) but others are great for letter and number recognition and patterns. Since I introduced them to Melody as games, that is exactly what they are to her! It's fun! I do have to take out one at a time or half way through one she wants to open another, and another.

8. Bible Study
Recently we have been just reading her toddler Bible stories. Also I have been picking out verses that pertain to her actions or attitude and we read and recite them every day. Right now one of the verses is
Colossians 3:20
"Children obey your parents in everything, for this pleases the Lord"
There are a number of verses that I could have chose that are similar but this one was short and to the point. If she disobeys or does something un-kind, we go to see what the Bible says about that behavior. It seems to be helping a lot more. She is understanding why her actions were not right and why she is receiving punishment for them. 

The next year of ABC Jesus Loves Me Curriclum starts at the end of the month. I may still take some Bible study ideas and activities from this curriculum. I will just try not to get caught up in "covering everything". I will go with the flow and let her lead.

Do you practice un-schooling? Do you have any tips? 

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