School is in full swing again after a lovely holiday break! We have begun our travels to Germany and I am rediscovering why I love My Father's World curriculum. The only planning I had to do before the ominous back-at-it Monday was penciling in math, English, spelling, and reading, and grabbing the proper notebooking pages for this week. How easy was that? I'm so blessed by the kids and how they have gotten back into the groove without too much trouble. Vacation included mostly fun and play, very little work (as it should be, right?). Transitioning back to scheduled days is a bit unwelcome to us all, but much needed.
The kids received a lot of educational but fun activities for Christmas. And toys, of course. It was the toys that got the most use til this week. I allow the kids to color or draw while I read to them or to work on activities from their craft boxes while I am helping someone else with school work. Their craft boxes were full of new goodies from Christmas that were "rediscovered" this week.
All three of the kids love the Pigeon books by Mo Willems. In fact, they love all Mo Willems character and books! I got the older two a giant Pigeon Activity book with games, puppets, and other cut-and-tape projects in it. They began work on them yesterday, getting lots of laughs out of it. This was a fantastic follow-the-directions activity for them to work on.
Petite got oodles of coloring books for her craft box, along with paint-with-water books and sticker activity books. She loves to place stickers on, well, anything, so she got a bunch of those too. She will sit for seriously long periods of time doing these activities.
There are oodles of things you can put in the craft box, which for us is a clear Rubbermaid container with latching handles. Each of the kids has a box of sticky mosaics. Glittery dolphins for B-E-G, dragons for Mister, and an easier, larger set of pets for Petite. Drawing pads, paint books, oil crayons, needlepoint kits, sculpting clay, twisty pipe-cleaner type things to build with, perler beads, jewelry making accessories, stencils... the possibilities are truly endless! I like to choose things that the kids can do fairly independently, or at least with minimal help so that they are the ones truly creating and crafting.But there are also things that require teaching and learning, like sewing kits and origami. We keep the craft boxes in our school closet so that things stay organized and taken care of. I love to play music while they are busy about their work, usually something that goes along with the country we are studying (Handel for us right now as we study Germany). Reading aloud to them during this time often works too!
I have to admit that the house is in shambles this week, especially the upstairs. While I help Brown-Eyed-Girl learn needlepoint, and Petite with her stickies, the house looks like it is resting in the aftermath of a huge storm. My good friend Aura wrote a fabulous post called The Monument on her blog. The Monument referred to a pile of dishes that grew and grew because she was busy helping her son build a turkey house. It was a testimony to letting go of the things that are so insignificant compared to relationship building and quantity and quality time with our children. This picture of the family room is my monument to letting go of the insignificant and choosing to make memories with my children instead. The TV can be a great resource, but too often a default to keeping them entertained. Craft boxes are a great and constructive alternative for keeping busy.