Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Homeschooling Inspirations from Heather at Cultivated Lives
We're enjoying San Di-ah-go so much and I know that y'all are in good hands back here at One Blessed Lady! Today, I want to introduce you to Heather (an actual IRL friend) from Cultivated Lives, one of my favorite homeschooling inspiration blogs! She is so creative and passionate about teaching her children and I love to just sit and talk to let her creativity rub off on me. Her blog is chock-full of wonderful ideas of hands-on learning!
Crafting Play – Cultivating Learning
Drama, drama, drama. Yup, that would aptly describe our crazy home. And I’m not just talking the pull your hair out because life is driving you crazy kind of drama, although we get our fair share of that too.
Over here, we’ve found that drama is a great way to maximize the enjoyment and retention of whatever we are currently learning about. On any given day if you were to stop by, you’d often times find kids dressed up and playing hard. What is so cool is that while they are playing (and I make a mad dash to the kitchen to pull dinner together) they are reinforcing what we’ve been reading about.
As we read books, sometimes the kids will zero in on something and run grab an item around our home that can stand in as a prop. I’ve found that a key prop or costume piece goes a long way to cultivate this learning through play. And this doesn’t have to be crazy expensive or complicated. Oftentimes, one small item coupled with their imagination is enough to transport them into many a historical epoch.
For instance we are learning about the revolutionary war right now. The boys noticed that each of the soldiers has a cartridge box slung over his shoulder. My youngest knew where my stash of purses is kept and remembered that little black purse that I’ve held onto for over 20 years now. That’s right folks, I’m the sentimental person that has kept my first ‘purse’ all these years. That little black leather purse has been the constant companion for my little guy as he travels from battle to battle.
To this end, we oftentimes try utilize our crafting to maximize dramatic play. That was the case a little while back when we were learning about Joan of Arc. Book after book revealed her marching into battle with her white fleur de lis banner.
So we set to work cutting up an old sheet into a pennant shape. I didn’t even bother to hem the edges. I care about those things, but the boys certainly don’t. I simply made sure I made the folded over edge big enough to go over our pvc pole that the boys already had sewed a loop. We’ve even been known to use fabric glue if I’m too lazy to pull out the sewing machine.
Next, we set to work making a stamp. We had some foam figurines from an earlier craft they made at someone’s home and we repurposed that for our fleur de lis stamp. I simply printed off a picture from the internet and set about cutting it out with an exacto knife. I’m not sure when kids are old enough to do this, but I just didn’t feel quite comfortable turning them loose with that sharp little tool just yet. The boys found an unused bobbin that could be used for our handle because I’m all about not making any unnecessary trips to the store. And then, their favorite part – stamping away!
The result? “JON of Arc” making a courageous stand to free France from the English and help Charles VII claim his throne, over and over and over again! All it took was creating a flag and letting it fly!
Thank you so much Heather! Maggie will be studying Joan of Arc this next school year and guess which project she'll be working on? Heather has so many great ideas of integrating play into school and I just love reading and hearing all of her ideas. Go check it out at Cultivating Lives!