Friday, September 27, 2013

Perfect homeschooling day

I love days like this. Homeschooling took on a life of its own without a drop of nudging from me. I had two chickens to butcher, and since the novelty had already worn off, I just couldn't turn my work into a homeschooling activity. So while I was busy pulling feathers, I vaguely hoped that they would find something to do. What a happy surprise to witness productive busyness happening all around me! 

Joseph decided to finish making his bow and arrows. Anna eagerly joined in to help sand the bamboo arrows that Joseph split with his ax (so glad that that job was completed with all digits intact).

One of Joseph's arrows was too thin, so he gave it to Anna, who suddenly became inspired to be a teacher. She herded her one student into class and taped math problems on the wall for Lydia to recite.

Lydia, who had previously been singing song after song to herself while climbing over everything, was glad to have an organized activity arranged for her.

Anna even made her her own math notebook, in which she wrote with great care. (oh yes, besides singing, Lydia also wrote a letter to her cousin, Ella. It's that yellow package on the stool)

Ken helped Joseph make a bamboo quiver, and...

project completed! He stuck with it to the end! He can actually shoot pretty far.

Oh, what a lovely day it has been! I got a lot done, and the kids had a day full of activities as if I had spent hours the day before preparing. 

Now how can I make this happen more than roughly once a month?

As if my day weren't perfect enough, we had the most relaxing post lunch reading time, complete with the best ice cream ever - frozen (ba-jiao)banana, cocoa powder, coconut oil and a little water.  That, with some granola and mini chocolate chips on top, and all was most well with the world. This has actually become a tradition. If we have done enough work in the morning to merit a long break in the heat of the day, we milk our "siesta" for all it's worth. Once, when we had been reading for close to two hours after lunch, I sensed we had gone too far.

Suffice it to say, today went very well. I'll be sure to document this day to prove to the officials that creative learning actually happens sometimes.

Monday, September 23, 2013

Puzzle of Taiwan

Perfect homeschooling activity right here. It can't get much better than a thousand piece puzzle; a detailed map of our country, no less! We have already spent many a guiltless minute bent over this perfect educational tool. It reminds me of the good old days at Shirati, when we were almost always in the middle of some vast puzzle with a lot of sky, sea or grass.

(almost guiltless)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

They are all artists

Fascinating the way a child's skills develop. For example, drawing. Anna and Lydia draw together...I can safely say an average of 6.5 days a week. They love it. They do it so much that almost every new picture surprises me because it is so much better than the last one. Joseph doesn't draw as much, but when he does, he takes it seriously. He drew a traditional Taiwanese house a few times (he wasn't satisfied with the first few tries), and employed a ruler to make things just right. I took a picture of it, but don't have time to hunt for it right now. I'll add it later. For now, here is a sampling of Anna and Lydia's art:

Anna loves to draw ladies with pretty dresses, ballet dancers, and elaborate flowers.

Lydia draws the stuff of dreams. Her drawings are hard to categorize. This one, she explained, is Mommy (with hair!) doing birth (or some such cute Lydiaism) to Lydia.

We just might frame this one. Something about the confident, swirly lines catches the eye.

Friday, September 13, 2013

New Glasses

Get a load of Joseph's new poison frog greens

The surprising compatibility of what the glasses technician called "wasabi" green glasses with Joseph's skin brought a little comfort to our aching hearts, when we found out that Joseph's vision has declined considerably. His vision was already worse than mine; now it's much worse. 
We found out that he needed new glasses when the teacher told us he can't see the blackboard from the back of  the room. Yup, teacher and blackboard. Joseph goes to school. So this will be my last post at this homeschooling blog. Just kidding. :) Ken and I decided to let him take Chinese and Math three mornings a week. The teacher does a good job - better than us - so we are grabbing the chance while we can. That's the trick to parent-led education: finding resources, and humbly conceding when it is apparent that the parents aren't always that resource. Sigh. But I'm already seeing benefits to this arrangement, so that's good.

What a big boy standing there all (but not quite) alone, facing the world with his poison frog greens.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Lydia's note

Anna showed me this today. She said that Lydia gave it to her.
Ha! Almost don't have to teach the younger ones. They just follow the older ones.