Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Busy Boxes . . .

Thanks to a great idea from my sister-in-law (thanks Jennie), I put together these boxes for our 3 year old. I was able to find almost all of the stuff for them around my house. I did have to get a few more of the totes from the dollar store, so I found a few more things there to put in them. We call them Busy Boxes. They are for times when she needs something to keep her attention like during the baby's naptime, during a quiet time, when I am making dinner and when school starts, they will be used for school stuff while her sisters are working on their school work. We made a box labeled for each week day, Monday thru Friday. Here is a run down of what is in the boxes right now:

Box 1: beans, measuring cups and spoons, color & shape flash cards, two books, bear puzzle
Box 2: princess stickers, notepad, crayons, princess dolls, two princess books, memory game

Box 3: color match game, two books, wooden dress up doll
Box 4: foam beads, ponies, magnet set, two books

Box 5: chalk board with chalk, wooden dress up doll, disney dominoes, two books

We started them today and she LOVED it. During the baby's nap, she was complaining that she was bored so I told her to get her busy box for the day. She played with everything inside for at least 2 hours. When school starts, I will fill them with items that correspond with what she will be learning.

Here are a few things that aren't in them, but that I can substitute later:

polly pockets, clothes pins & bowls, puppet making supplies, coloring books, dishes & playfood, pasta and string, etc.

I also put together a "Busy Bag" for the baby I got a bunch of sandwich bags and filled them with cars, animals, felt puppets, and books. When he needs a distraction or we need something for the church bag, we can just grab something. As he gets older, we will get him his own Busy Boxes.

Thanks again, Jennie, for the great idea! I think we will really love it!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Classical Method . . .

I have been reading a couple of books that focus on the classical method. The first, "The Well-Trained Mind" by Jessie Wise and Susan Baure has a lot of great references and some good ideas about how to schedule things. I did not really like a lot of the "texts" that they were giving for education. I felt like there was a lot of repetition in the book and not enough generalization. A lot could have been taken out and there would not have been any content lost. So, I think this book has some good ideas here and there, but overall a little too structured f0r me. This is saying a lot, because I like to be prepared and orderly, but theirs was too much.

Also, they mentioned that young chilrdren, ages 0-9, need to mostly have a lot of memorization. That they don't need to know what something means right now, they can learn later, just memorize it. I find this interesting, especially since all of my children, ages 0-9, when they can talk, ask what everything is and means. I mean what do you say to the 3 year old that constantly asks why? It doesn't matter now, just memorize it and in 7 years I will explain it? I don't agree with that. I think memorization is good, but why not tell them the how and why also.

History . . .

So lately, I have been trying to find some great history texts or books. I have been doing a lot of reading and looking at reviews and I feel like my brain is mush! I find one that I start to love and then they throw opinions in, not fact, and ruin it for me. I was really starting to get frustrated, then I went and heard an author speak and he shared some great quotes from important historical figures and it got me so excited for history again! Afterwards, I talked with him a bit about his sources and he emailed me some great book ideas, so the hunt is back on.

This author, Chris Stewart, is putting out a nonfiction in the late fall that sounds great. His other works are great, so check them out!