Saturday, September 13, 2008

playing and learning

Grandma and Grandpa

"Eye goggles"

A Volcano (pre-eruption) inspired by the
previous weeks lesson on volcanoes

We have been having a lot of fun and learning a lot in the past couple of weeks. We have been able to continue to enjoy the summer weather and the backyard, even the pool. My parents came for a visit (on their way to France... ahem.) and after a day of waiting out tropical storm Hanna, we spent a day at Wave Hill, a beautiful public garden here in the Bronx with spectacular views of the Hudson River and the New Jersey Palisades.

Two days this week we hosted our homeschooling friends: for a lesson on the senses of sight and smell and for a Charlotte's Web party to celebrate the completion of our first chapter book. All of the kids really get along well and I am surprised by how much information they are absorbing from their experiences.

So far when I plan a lesson it ends up including some explaining, a book or two, maybe a song, an activity or exploration (i.e. science lab for pre-K -grade 2) and some sort of craft. I am into it, both the planning and being a part of the learning experience. Having other moms involved means that there is more than one explanation floating around the room, extra hands and eyes to corral the kids and the ability to expand the ideas back to the home of the child.

All of the kids had read Charlotte's Web and they were able to talk about the characters and remember in what part of the book things happened. It was a party, so, of course we had a cake. All of this fun and the planning for it kind of tired me out and I am so glad that next week the planning rests on a friend's shoulders. Yay for shared responsibilities!

But, I must say that the best part of learning with other families really has little to do with the lessons. The influence of kids teaching kids, having regular playmates and the sharing of ideas amongst people of all ages are the real benefits of getting together. Jove all of sudden is very interested in math because his friend knows a lot about numbers and he is also improving the writing of his name because he sees the other children do it so well.

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