We're slowly, slowing easing back into things school-wise. Technically we went back on the 2nd, but three days of getting back into the groove does not make for exciting writing, so no wrap up. This week though we did some cool stuff.
I approached the kids a bit before school started to ask what they would like to learn about this winter. Both said snow, so the story for the week was one I sort of made up about a raindrop who turns into a snowflake. We used the weather set John and I made for the story. I also hung up these stained glass snowflake sheets my mom got for us a few weeks ago. Laithe has enjoyed coloring them on our sunny mornings. It's that time of year when I so appreciate our plethora of south facing windows!
We also cut snowflakes out of coffee filters - neither kid was too interested in that, but they liked mine!
Speaking of scissors, I'd set out a montessori based cutting activity for Laithe in November. One inch strips of paper with vertical lines drawn on them every inch and a half or so. Just in a basket with some scissors. He could not have been both more frustrated and/or less interested. Fast forward a month and he's busy cutting every paper in sight, but also has discovered that cutting foam stickers is super fun. So, this week I set out the same activity for him, but included a few strips of cheap craft foam with the paper strips and he loved it. The foam is less likely to bend with the scissors when he grabs it at the wrong angle.
As part of the week was pretty chilly (making outside time shorter!) we made use of the small trampoline John's mom got Laithe for Christmas. We practiced counting and skip counting on it. I need to find a song for counting by 2s. Later in the week when the snow had melted off the sidewalk I put the trampoline on the back porch so the kids could bounce and warm up between dirt cookie making and drawing with sidewalk chalk. I found out this week from a neighbor that the elementary school in our neighborhood only has one 20 minute recess a day. I remember two 15 minute recesses and a 30 minute post-lunch recess through 6th grade. Made me sad to realize how little time the kids are getting outside. Poor kids! And poor teachers! It's hard to learn and teach when you don't have time to move around!
The kids asked if they could wash their seashell collected. Why sure!
Yeah. We've hit that stage where Guthrie only wants to make funny faces in photos.
I think the thing the kids missed most during our break from formal school was circle time. A lot of time was spent on the quilt in the living room. Telling the snowflake story, reading a few books, making shapes out of blocks and working with the sandpaper letters. We also listened to the winter portion of Vivaldi's Four Seasons a few days in a row and on one of the days I found a video so the kids could watch musicians perform it. Guthrie was just enthralled. Guthrie set up a really long story using most of our nature table and some clippings from the Christmas tree. I'm not sure what the story was about - I think it was mostly about setting the stage. Then she took pictures of it.
I'm discovering that if I want to make sure something gets done during our week we need to do it, or part of it, during circle time. I'm working with Guthrie on the formation of some of her letters so we worked with a few sandpaper letters and while one child was tracing the sandpaper letter the other was drawing it in our tray of cornmeal. It kept them both busy enough so that I felt like she had time to really work at it. Laithe, who has almost always moved in and out of school time has been suddenly pleased to be more included. I think he feels like a big boy! Can you believe that he's going to be three?
The coolest thing we did was make egg tempera paints. I'd always thought it would be really complicated and messy, but it wasn't! And it was the perfect activity for a girl who is definitely in the 2nd half of kindergarten and getting ready for more.
I'm super allergic to tempera paint so I was happy to use the tutorial in a past issue of Alphabet Glue - maybe vol 4? - that used crushed chalk pastels instead of solid tempera. Guthrie was in charge of the crushing of the pastels and I separated the eggs.
We were both pretty excited about the project. I can always gauge Guthrie's level of excitement by how many people she tells. She told quite a few, so it was a winner!