Monday, January 30, 2012

Fun with Analogies

We are learning Analogies (word, object, and concept relationships) and the kids have surprised me yet again by catching on ever so quickly. Somehow I managed to explain to them what the world it all means and through some examples they solidified their knowledge of them. Now we randomly practice them using real-life situations and things we see around us. 

It makes for a great car game to pass the time on long trips but it's just as cool on trips around the corner. 

It keeps their minds sharp and helps them hone their creativity. It helps build their vocabulary and understanding of the English language. Analogies really are just a one-word puzzle to crack and if you make it, getting to the answer can be so much fun.

Here are some links to get you started:

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Around the World Wednesdays: Italia

On our map this week: Italia (Yes, if you must know, I had a blast saying this. Like most things in Italian, it kinda just rolls off the tongue.)

***Sorry, I don't have a flag picture this week for some reason, but I'll be sure and post pics for upcoming countries.***

Many birds with one stone: Little chefs making a lasagna for dinner

Destination Detectives: Italy


About this post

I'm on some crazy quest this year to teach my girls about the world, not as I was taught, from blurbs in textbooks and brief, sometimes misleading TV images, but as close to how it really is as I can get. Enter: Google, Twitter, & the Blogosphere, where it's amazingly and completely possible to reach out to people on the other side of the world and get a real account of what life is really like. 

Each week, for each country we study, I research and dig up vivid pictures or videos for them to view online, as well as age-appropriate information on each country we study (ie, try not to bore the socks off them with *yawn* data) skimmed from books we've checked out at the library. I usually just grab books on 4-5 countries at a time so I don't have to keep going back too frequently.

I let them see each country on our globe, where it is in relation to other countries we've studied and where we live, what the people look like and what language(s) they speak. We of course, practice speaking a sampling for fun. We talk about terrain, wildlife, both plant and animal, and we cook and/or eat a popular dish from that country. 

Last, we make a 3"x5" layered construction paper flag for each country we study with their own name, the country's name and the date we crafted it written on the back. We discuss what values or beliefs are represented by the symbols or colors on each flag, and we're collecting these flags on a ring to make a flag booklet, to keep and review once we're done. This might sound like a lot, but trust me, really it's not. Most of what we learn follows the natural course of discussion when learning about a new place.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Eat at J̶O̶E̶'̶s̶ Yummy's

Grandma/Mom just gifted the girls a small wooden table and chairs that we chose to keep in the kitchen to contain their food mess and keep their homeschooling area clean *major sigh of relief*. This apparently inspired them to bring back an old favorite role-playing game we used to play together from time to time in our old house. There was only one change, though- they gave our restaurant a name: Yummy's.

In the high chair: their escapee "pet" ball who needed to be restrained, as he kept rolling away and interrupting the meal. You know Yummy's has to have a high chair. After all, it's very kid-friendly.

For the past few days, the girls have been dining at Yummy's, a full-service in-house restaurant, owned, run and operated by Yours Truly. We have a lot more space in our new house and it's set up so that there's a "lobby" area away from the dining area where I greet them as hostess and seat them (and their doll-friends if they happen to be joining them for the meal) at said wooden table, where they sip on water while I take their drink orders, food orders and prepare their meals or snacks. I even check on them midway through their meal to be sure they're happy with what they're eating or if they need a refill. Just like a real restaurant.

An evening at Yummy's
Let me tell you, it's been a great way to get them to eat or drink things they normally wouldn't eat or try.

I get all warm and fuzzy seeing them imitate what they've seen us do when we go out to eat. They eloquently place their orders with the best manners and wait patiently for their food to be prepared. They ask for what they need with confidence that I know will extend beyond our humble kitchen. When  ̶I̶'̶m̶  they're ready for it, I want to incorporate an actual bill for their food and money to pay for it so they can practice those math, counting, and money skills. 

What's better is that they'll also get practice in making choices,and I purposely omit the word "wise" for a reason. I trust that I have taught them well enough to make the best choices for their bodies when it comes to nutrition. Now is a great time for them to exercise what they know. (That's not say there'll be Cookie-fest on Thursday just because they order an entire package, either, but you see where I'm going.) It's important that they understand their choices and either stand by them or be comfortable making a different choice if they see the need. 

When money finally makes its appearance on the Yummy's scene, I'd like to provide healthy food cheaply and junk quite expensively (As much as I'd love to properly credit her, I got that idea from another blogger but can't remember who!) Again, there's no right or wrong choices, just learning & fiscal responsibility.

For now, though, I'll just enjoy the intangible gems they give me and I'll leave you with one that tickled me to the core. This is what I overheard them talking about in their little voices while waiting in the lobby area yesterday. The older said to the younger: "I love eating at Yummy's. We should eat here all the time.", to which the younger responded "Me too, it's really good." Now that is Yummy.