Why the Tree of Life?

11.02.2005

Atmosphere

You may be wondering what exactly could I be doing to home school right now? Well, we're doing quite a lot actually, but all informally, of course. You could certainly say that we are unschooling for the time being. My main goal for these first years is to create an atmosphere of learning. Here are some of the things we have available or set up around the house:

-art table and easel out in the shop with easily accessible art supplies, like different paints and crayons, various kinds of blank paper, and playdough with simple tools for process-oriented art rather than product-oriented art

-music cabinet with various percussion instruments, a piano and a hammered dulcimer (I'm trying to talk Hillary out of Eric's guitar)

-lots of picture books and read-aloud times throughout the day, including poetry

-games like Uno, K's current favorite, for learning numbers and counting

-cd player with copies (therefore non-precious) of our recordings of foreign language songs and classical music

-nature table (to be set up again when our study is finished being remodeled) that holds our bug catchers, field guides, the Birdsong IdentiFlyer, and bits of nature we pick up from outside

-every month I put a new art print in a frame that is hanging on our door in the kitchen and a new magnetic letter, both upper and lower case, up on the refrigerator (all at lower eye-level). Currently, we're on the letter Qq

-if the radio is on, it is usually tuned to our local classical or NPR stations

-we rarely, if ever, watch tv; and the boys never do (though we will probably use it where needed when the boys are older)

- the toys are simple, natural and open-ended, requiring imagination

We try to make it to the library and our group of homeschooling friends once a week. The only formal things that we are doing now, I would say, are trying to listen to the Suzuki Piano 1 cd (I'm going to teach the boys beginning piano using the Suzuki method) and also trying to listen to either French or Spanish some every day so that the sounds are familiar to them from the beginning. We also have a very enjoyable teatime everyday after nap, which I will elaborate on in another post.

E and I try to include the boys in everything we do, from cooking and housework to yardwork

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