Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Music, the Microscope, and a Black Eye

Okay I admit it I slept in today. I woke up at 6:30 (I guess I am going to have to wake up at 5:00am to beat the kids) and heard my two oldest once again down on the piano figuring out to play their Let's Play Music songs on the piano. I can't say enough amazing things about this awesome music program!!!! It is so inspiring and teaches the kids all about music in a fun, entertaining, and interactive way! The kids can't get enough of it, and are learning more than they even realize.

So back to my morning. I hadn't even been awake 2o seconds before my sweet Hyrum came over to the bed as I was rolling out of it and told me he was stinky, had a sore bum, and needed a diaper change. Oh and he was also hungry. Well, I got him taken care of and told the other two to help themselves to a bowl of cereal and rushed upstairs to take a quick shower (oh boy did my hair need a good washing it was looking BAD). I was thrilled that I was able to get in and out without anyone needing anything and before the two baby girls woke up. WOO-HOO! All was looking a little better.

I was getting dressed and still listening to Jarom and Megan playing away when I remembered about Jarom's piano books I had purchased for him a year ago. Yes it was almost exactly a year ago when I had decided (without talking to Jarom) that it was time for him to start taking lessons...needless to say he wasn't ready or interested much in taking piano lessons. However, now he was showing interest and I thought to myself I wonder what would happen if I quietly laid his piano books on the bench next to them.

I decided I wouldn't say anything to them at all just set them on the bench and see what would happen. Well all I can say is SUCCESS!!!!!!!! (TJed principle do WORK!!) Within 20 seconds Jarom spotted his old piano book, busted out the books, and started playing. In fact he was playing so much that Meg and Jarom were actually fighting over who's turn it was to play the piano. I don't really go for the kids fighting, but if you they are going to fight I can't think of many things I'd rather have them fighting about. :) Before long Jarom started taking turns and was actually teaching Megan what he her a lesson of sorts. I tried to stay out of the room so they didn't feel any pressure from me. I wanted it to be something they were playing out without my interference. After reading How Children Learn I was even more aware that children often learn through play. Right now playing the piano was just that play, but boy were they learning a lot while they were playing. And best of all they were doing it because they had been exposed to music and had decided 100% on their own to pursue it more on their own.

{Structure Time NOT Content}
I was tempted when it was 9:30 (yes almost 3 hours of piano playing with a short breakfast break) to interrupt them because we were suppose to have devotional at 9. However, I tried to be patient and let them continue what they were doing. I knew eventually they'd need a break and would stop playing. Its hard to break from the conveyor belt mentality that we do math from this time to this time and reading from this time to this time and instead structure time NOT content. What I mean by that is that I structure 'study' time during certain blocks of time during the day. But I don't structure exactly what has to be done in that time. Sure I usually have a plan, but if the kids take it a different direction we just go with it.

I think I am finally starting to get that concept. I mean what good would it have done me to stop them from doing something so amazing as self directed piano practicing just so devotional (which is also important) wasn't late. It just doesn't make sense now that I am starting to see the bigger picture. Eventually we will get to devotional and all the other things we need to study, but if my kids are really into one thing for an entire day then there is nothing wrong letting them dive 100% into that topic. We can study what I wanted to expose them to today tomorrow. No worries!! I love the freedom and flexibility this gives me. It also help the kids get more out of each day. If they are interested in what they are doing they will totally retain and learn more about that subject than if I forced them to study it at a certain time just because the schedule dictates that.

So back to my day...finally around 10 they did stopped playing the piano and we had our devotional. Which is starting to really get amazing. A few weeks ago I introduced scripture mastery into our devotionals. This year we are studding the New Testament and so we are going to memorize all the seminary scripture mastery verses too! I am so impressed with the kids. Four days ago I introduced this idea and presented Mathew 5:14-16 as the first scripture to memorize. Tonight Scott, me, Jarom, and Megan all had it memorized. We worked on it this morning and then tonight after dinner all recited it by memory to dad. What an accomplishment. I've also (starting today) introduced journaling during devotional. Its the last thing we do before we close devotional and the kids were so excited about it. In fact Megan continued writing in it throughout the day as she would remember something else she wanted to include in her entry. Devotional is the most important hour of our family's day by far.

After devotional the kids started making paper airplanes again. I was feeding Becca now and with them at the kitchen table making airplanes I sat on the nearby couch and started reading our morning book A Wrinkle in Time. We are four chapters into it now and the kids are staring to really get into the story. We read for probably 30 minutes before the kids needed a break and started having flying contests off the loft down to the first floor, and I was busy changing diapers and getting ready to put both baby girls down for naps.

Once I got them both down for naps the kids were wrapping up their contests and looking for something to do. It was lunch time so we did a quick pick up of the house and ate a little lunch. I've started setting a timer once everyone has pretty much finished eating their meal/snack giving them 10 more minutes to grab any other food they may need to sustain them until the next snack or mealtime. Once the timer goes off the kitchen is CLOSED! I finally resorted to this after many many days of feeling like my kitchen was always open and kids were constantly snacking because they didn't eat enough at meal time.

After lunch the kids helped pick up and them they were kind of looking a bit board so I whipped out our history book and officially started our history lessons. I purchased a couple of books called History of the World which are in narrative form and tell the history of the world. The best part is they are entertaining and easy enough to follow along that I just read out of the book and we were all completely memorized by the story of King Charles V who was alive in the 1500's and became king of most of Europe. This happened because his father was king of the Netherlands, one grandfather was king of Germany, and his other grandfather was king of oh shoot I forgot but another big European country. When they all died he became king of all of them! To bad his desire to become the ultimate leader drove him to his death bed basically and he ended up giving up his thrown to his son and uncle. We are studying modern history which I planned on starting around the 1700's but the book I purchased started a little earlier and it was such an interesting story that we are starting in the 1500's. Jarom was so cute while I was reading this and was cuddled up next to me the entire time I was reading.

{the Microscope}
After about 30 minutes we were done with that and the kids were restless so I pulled out a book about cells and basic life cycles. Then I showed them our brand new microscope and for the next hour or two we read about cells and played with the microscope. Cooper and Hyrum even got in on the microscope action. SO FUN!! I love hanging out with the kids.

{Playtime is learning time}
The kids continued to play, do some arts and crafts (Megan did a couple projects on her own), and hung out for the next hour or so. I figured out what I was going to cook for dinner and started making it with my assistant chef Megan at my side. She is such a great helper. I am actually starting to enjoy cooking again and am finding peace in the process instead of frustration in the huge mess cooking makes. Okay I am still working on finding peace, but I am getting better.

Jarom had scouts tonight so we spent about 30 minutes looking through his scout book to see what requirements we still needed to work on and signing off requirements he'd already completed. Jarom will turn 9 next month and move up so we are trying to make sure he is ready to advance. He is my first scout and I am trying to figure out what it takes to be a good scout mom. Hopefully I be a quick study and be up to speed before to long.

{making time for Dinner}
For dinner tonight I decided to actually set the table and not cheat and do it buffet style like I usually do. I brought out the glass dishes and everything. It was so nice to not be up and down all through dinner. Everything we needed was at the little family isn't so little anymore and I am starting to feel like I need to set some family traditions like a quality dinner time together talking about our day and eating good food. Tonight for dinner it definitely met my expectations and we all sat around the table relaxed, enjoying our time together, and talking about our day. It was beautiful.

Bedtime was great tonight. I bathed the kids, and then took plenty of time (I didn't rush it at all) and read the little boys 7 or 8 short books and sang them songs then moved on to my two big kids and read them an entire chapter out of our night book Tom's Midnight Garden. Scott finished the older kids up with songs. Anyway it was just a very pleasant day and evening. I have TONS to do still so I'd better wrap this up and get going. Its already 9:30....ahhh.

{the Black Eye}
Oh one more thing. I just have to write this down and document it with pictures before I forget. Last week Hyrum had an unfortunate encounter with a wall.

Basically he was running so fast that he miscalculated and ran into the wall instead of through the door.

This week Hyrum has two black eyes as a result. Whenever I say something about his eyes he points to his forehead (that is where he actually hit the wall) and tells me all about running into the wall and how bad it hurt.
I don't know if her realizes that his forehead looks fine its his eyes that look beat up now. What a tough little guy.


Tracey said...

I love all your homeschooling ideas. I am amazed at how easily the kids memorized scriptures. We say our scripture once or twice during our devotional and not really work on memorizing and they still get it. I also love your idea about the kitchen being closed at a certain time. That would help me out a lot.

heathermommy said...

I love reading about your homeschooling days too. It really does inspire me. I have been in a homeschool funk for a while and I am finding it hard to get back on track but reading your blog helps.