Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Our learning curve

Welcome to the September Carnival of Natural Parenting: We're all home schoolers
This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have shared how their children learn at home as a natural part of their day. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

Miss Ella-Bean is now 10 months old and looking a year square in the face!  She's made amazing changes over the past months, learning to sit and crawl, and now she's on to standing!!  My little baby is growing in a blink.  As I watch her playing, though, I cannot help but think about her future.  Where will we be living when she's old enough to go to school?  Do we want to do preschool or just wait until kindergarten?  What about homeschooling?  Or UN-schooling?  So many options, so much for ME to learn!

But for now, I need to put those worries away for nap time and stay in the moment of her awake times.  Learning, in our little world, can mean lots of different things.  Sometimes it means reading the same book over and over again, letting Ella practice turning the pages (learning fine motor skills, sequences, and the very basic building blocks of reading.)  Sometimes it means providing her with the same tools she sees me using, or walking her through how to make dinner.  Other times it means being supportive but letting her figure things out for herself (within reason, of course, in regards to safety!)

I have always known that for children, playing is learning, but I have never seen it as clearly as I have watching Ella.  In her bedroom, upon the suggestion of a friend, I have a bookshelf with the lower two levels set at a height she can easily access.  I keep a limited number of the same types of toys on each level, but switch out the actual toys every few weeks (so felted wool balls one week, tennis balls the next, and wiry-open balls a few weeks later).  A typical 15 minutes goes something like this...

Miss Ella-Bean pulls down her three dolls.  She grabs the biggest one and meticulously pulls out her hair ribbons before putting her aside.  She moves on to her wooden sorting house and takes it apart.  Then she proceeds to watch herself putting smaller blocks through the holes (this is a new skill she's started working on).  Next she's on to her basket of popper beads, dumping them out and filling it up again.  She tries putting her blocks in the basket, then back to the doll, finds a ball to shake, and so on.  She has such a look of determination on her face the whole time, only looking up at me every once in a while to smile and clap.

(You can see her bookshelf in the background)
Ella is still young, and we have a long learning road (with curves, I'm sure) ahead of us.  But for now I simply trust in and follow her lead, giving her opportunities to play and practice, as well as teach and learn!

Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:
(This list will be updated September 14 with all the carnival links.)


Lauren Wayne said...

I love the idea of a simple bookshelf like that, and swapping out the toys but keeping the same variety. I definitely want to do something like that next time around!

P.S. Your daughter is sooo adorable.

Dionna @ Code Name: Mama said...

It sounds like you've got this learning thing down already :) Give them the tools, then sit back and prepare to be amazed! These pictures are awesome, by the way. Are you using Photoshop (or, hopefully, a free program)?

Summer @ FindingSummer said...

Play is the work of children. They learn so much from every game. :)

Denise said...

You're off to a great start with your adorable little one. Just take it one day at a time, and follow your heart. You'll know what to do about school when the time comes. :)

Jessica - This is Worthwhile said...

That's such a great age; just when everything starts rolling.

melissa v. said...

What a beautifully crafted post, and such a gorgeously cute baby! The low, accessible bookshelf is a wonderful idea, and the rotating of toys opens up such endless possibilities in her imagination. I admire how you follow her lead. =)


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