Hey folks! It's been awhile again since I've done any homeschooling updates. I'm hoping to change that in the future, but I just don't know, to be honest. Myka seems to have the same thought processes as her dad and just when I think I have them figured out, something changes. She loves doing “school stuff” and requests it all the time, but it's been so frustrating for me lately, especially since I don't think the same way she does. But, as many challenges as we (I?) have been having with “school stuff” lately, that's probably a can of worms for a different post.
I was so excited to start our newest theme in our nature-based homeschool preschool curriculum, rocks, because it's something that Myka has been really into for awhile. (I'm guessing rocks are something that a lot of kids her age are interested in too.) The excitement seemed to have quickly fizzled out, though. At least faster than I thought it would have. She suddenly became re-interested in all things dinosaurs after only a few days of working on rocks, which is great since they are somewhat related, but...I want to get through rocks first, especially because I don't have “dino school” ready! Anyways, I'm getting off subject again...
Since our nature-based curriculum is all about hands-on activities, we started out by collecting some rocks. I already went through the theme and wrote down what activities I thought Myka would enjoy beforehand, so I both let her pick out rocks she liked and tried to find some that would be good for other activities in the theme (i.e. flat rocks) when we took a family walk down to the creek. She loves playing there. I only wish it weren't so buggy so we could play longer! Come on, autumn!
The next day I let her wash her rocks outside...which she was surprisingly into. I gave her some items to help in her washing endeavors, including a shammy cloth, nail scrubber brush, and dish towel (which was supposed to be for drying. * sigh * I was stupid and gave her a good one!).
After she washed her rocks, I set up a bin with rocks, water, and animal figurines that like or live in water. This started off outside, but, she was so enamored with it I had to move it indoors because she was on antibiotics at the time and I was afraid she would burn to a crisp! She played with the water bin for several hours. Seriously. I couldn't believe it! She even played with it for several days afterward too! (She never plays with anything that long, let alone without me “helping” her.)
I remembered a YouTube video John had come across that the three of us watched about a week or two before we started on rocks. So, we made some crystals. As it turns out, they're pretty easy to make! Not exactly rocks, but Myka loves science experiments (which I love) and it ties in closely enough for an almost 4 year old, in my opinion. This first batch was made with borax crystals and the second was made from Epsom salts. Can you believe that all it takes to make both is boiling water and borax or Epsom salts?! Pretty cool, right?
She also did some rock painting, which was actually kind of difficult to get her to do. Silly me thought it would be a handy activity for her to do while I made dinner or washed dishes while she sat and painted at the kitchen table. But no, I needed to “help”. I did, eventually, somehow get her to do it on her own after I told her she needed to paint them to use in a game, but...She couldn't paint any more rocks while one side of her first rock was drying. She had to wait for it to dry first. * sigh * I did talk her and my mom, while she visited over Labor Day weekend, to paint some more together while I washed dishes.
We also colored on hot rocks with crayons, which turned out neater than I had expected!
We also did some rock counting involving toilet paper tubes, which I did not get pictures of. I know she knows 1-5, if not more, but we tried to do numbers 1-10. (Which John swears she knows.) It's so hard to tell what she knows and what she doesn't at this age, more than I thought it would be for multiple reasons that I won't go into right now. Besides the fact that I was sitting there with her and helping, I tried to make it easier for her by both printing the actual number and corresponding dots for how many rocks needed to go in each tube. She did ok, but I think she could do better if she paid attention more, in this case, to the dots corresponding to the number of rocks she had/needed.
Like I said, I just don't know. I know she wants to learn, but at this point in time I'm just not sure the best way to go about it. Sometimes I feel like our downfall is my lack of patience and other times I feel like it's her lack of attention span and answering questions honestly. I know part of it's an age thing for her. I can't help but think, though, that my impatience with her, which I AM working on and getting better at, is that I know she is smarter than she lets on. So then that makes me even more impatient that she doesn't show it and that I feel like I don't know best how to “get through to her”, if that makes sense.
I try to keep our themes to 2-3 weeks long and I feel like we're already getting behind, through no fault of her own. I have just been busy with farm animals, garden, and household stuff and finding it hard to keep up with school work, though I want and know I need to make a better effort. We've had our “rock” library books for at least 3 or 4 weeks, so we'll be needing to take them back soon, so I really should get on that. Other than that, I would like to at least do the painted rock treasure hunt before we end things and move on to dinosaurs. (Think an Easter egg hunt except with rocks.)
Are any of you doing homeschool preschool? What challenges are you coming across?