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Posts Tagged ‘Learning’

Oldest made me a dot-to-dot today. There were 14 numbered dots. To me it looked like a sunfish. She responded cheerfully that she had been trying to make a bird.

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In addition to our beach cruisers, my husband’s ride-to-work bike, two trikes (was three, but we sold one), and two balance bikes, we now have a sparkly purple bike and a slightly smaller pink bike with tassels and training wheels. I think we’ve got the bike “needs” covered for a while.

Last week, the sparkly purple bike was black and red and yellow (a thrift store purchase from almost a year ago). Earlier that week, Husband was riding around on the bike and exploded the tire…yes, exploded. It was loud from inside the house. So, over the weekend, after stopping by the bike shop to pick up a new tire, we stopped by the hardware store to let Oldest pick out the paint for this baby.
All the girls took turns practicing their tagging skills. There is a light layer of glitter spray paint coating everything in the backyard.

She tried it out for an afternoon, but we soon realized that it was still a little tall for her, so…

it wasn’t long before they left to buy a slightly smaller bike. We figured that with two more girls coming up behind her, w’ll be able to use something in this size range for quite a while.

It came with training wheels and after a few days of trying it out, she’s got the hang of it. I’d venture to guess it won’t be long until she’s ready for the training wheels to come off. The balance bikes have helped them get the balancing thing down.

The most pressing decision when it comes to riding the bikes now, is which toys to put in that pretty pink handlebar bag.

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This can be done in 3 minutes.

I can hear it happening from the other room and I probably have the strangest smile-grimace expression on my face.

I have a love-hate relationship with theses blocks. They are amazing. We have so much fun with them. But the clean up…

We do have a system for picking them up. After so much trial and error you realize how many you can safely carry without your stack disintegrating.

They don’t always end up in chaos. Most of the time they are actually used to build trees and thrones and houses and castles and forts. Their favorite things to build, however, are scooters. They put one foot on half of a large block and build a short tower of small blocks, use another large block for the handles and then scoot around on the wood floors.

There are so many ways to play with blocks in general and with interlocking blocks on this scale they get the benefits of learning and exercising the patterning, creative, spacial and social (its always a team effort) skills in a gross-motor context rather than a fine-motor context as with the smaller lego-size blocks.

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Just found this as I was folding laundry and watching TED talks (a very good afternoon multi-tasking activity). I know I am a little behind, as this is from two years ago…but I thought I’d share it anyway because it is still relevant.  In this TED talk, Sir Ken Robinson speaks about radically shifting our ideas of education and learning from standardization to personalization (from an industrial model to an agricultural model). He briefly mentions children choosing to be educated at home with their families (16:10). He finishes up with the touching (yes, I shed a tiny tear) idea, with imagery derived from a Yates poem, that every day our children who have nothing else to offer of their very own, spread their dreams under our feet and he leaves us with the admonition to tread softly. Okay, not doing it justice…watch the video.

“Its about passion. Often people are good at things they don’t really care for. Its about passion and what excites our spirit and our energy. And if you’re doing the thing that you love to do, that you’re good at, time takes a different course entirely… If you’re doing something you love an hour feels like five minutes. If you are doing something that doesn’t resonate with your spirit, five minutes feels like an hour. And the reason so many people are opting out of education is because it doesn’t feed their spirit. It doesn’t feed their energy or their passion. So I think we have to change metaphors. We have to go from what is essentially an industrial model of education, a manufacturing model, which is based on linearity and conformity and batching people. We have to move to a model that is based more on principles of agriculture. We have to recognize that human flourishing is not a mechanical process it’s an organic process. And you cannot predict the outcome of human development. All you can do, is like a farmer, is create the conditions under which they will begin to flourish.”

Watch the video:

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“Compared with fish we are bad at swimming, compared with birds we are stiff at flying, compared with cheetahs we are ludicrous at running, compared with ants we are hellacious at cooperating. Yet we are the most successful species of our time. We have overrun and overturned the territories of all these other animals because taken as a whole, by learning from the generation before us, we can do a fair job at all of their skills at once. As the evolutionist Ernst Mayr has written, we have ‘specialized in despecialization.’

…We fill more ecological niches than any other animal.

This is what allows us to carry on the epic learning game we call science. Science formalizes our special kind of collective memory, or species memory, in which each generation builds on what has been learned by those that came before, following in each other’s footsteps, standing on each other’s shoulders. Each generation values what it can learn from the one before, and prizes the discoveries it will pass on to the next, so that we see farther and farther, climbing an infinite mountain.”

Jonathan Weiner, The Beak of the Finch; A Story of Evolution in Our Time

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We’ve been sick now for almost two weeks. Its been rough at times, but we’ve found plenty to keep us busy. On the toughest days when we’ve been stuck mostly on the couch and in bed that has included quite a bit of Dora, Diego and Bob the Builder. I’m trying to be okay with that.

We’ve also played dress up. Here is our 4yo in one of daddy’s old beanies, bunny ears, finger-less gloves, with a tutu (off camera) and a flower tail (also off camera). She’s also fully accessorized, as you can see. I think she was combining Christmas, Easter and Halloween into one outfit.

Our 2yo has set up several picnics over the last couple weeks. She is very fastidious about it and guards her set up from her siblings even though they are invited to her party. She’s very particular about what they touch and what they “eat.” She remembers exactly where something goes if someone, say a 1yo who’s learned to tease, snatches an item without permission.

After beginning this painting, I found our 2yo sitting on the floor in the playroom with her head between her knees. I asked her what was wrong and she answered, “I can’t paint anything lovely.” I asked her if she wanted to come try again and walked with her back to the craft table where we sat down, got a fresh paper and tried a different brush. She ended up being much happier with her second, third and fourth attempts.

She wants to give these to specific people for Christmas.

This is how I kept sane with paints. I was even able to place another sheet of wax paper over the remaining paint and save it for the next time (which was later that day and then again the next day). We had a lot of fun discussing and trying out how to combine colors to create new colors.

The girls like to use the barstools for their pretend cages. Lately we’ve been on a Dirty Jobs kick in the evenings and their favorite episode has been one where Mike Rowe visits an animal sanctuary with kangaroos, camels and lemurs. There has been a lot of lemur activity and a lot of lemur questions around our place this week.

We’ve also decorated and redecorated the tree, made several batches of scones, made giant snow flakes, read many books, danced quite a lot of stories, wrapped gifts, learned how to spell new words. Of course, the list would have been longer if we weren’t so sick, but life can still be full during these down times.

We’ve taken care of each other over the last couple weeks. Yes, these girls even take care of me by bringing me water when I cough even though I’ve never asked them to do this. They pat my head when I’m laying down. They share their favorite blankets with me. They hang up their art to cheer me up. 

We’ve also had a lot of practice being kind even though we don’t feel well. Sometimes that is hard to do even for adults. But we’re learning and practicing and getting better at it.

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Its late, maybe 11pm. It would be nice if she were in bed already as she usually is. She begs daddy to let her type. He sets his computer up for her. She types “m-o-m” and asks, “did I type ‘mommy’?” When she asks him how to spell a word, he spells it for her and she types it one finger at a time. When she discovers typing with two fingers at once, we smile. When she asks us to sound out her creations, we oblige. When we head off to bed, she suddenly decides she’d like to do the same.

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