Tuesday, March 27, 2007


Hairy Woodpecker

It seems there's always plenty of learning going on around here. What I like about it is that it happens so naturally and it's fun. Here are a few things we're doing these days:
  • We're enjoying watching the birds in our backyard and trying to identify them. We put this right outside our dining room window so we can see our feathered friends more closely. I bought a poster of common Western feeder birds and put in up near the window, and also a book of birds that are local to our valley. We've seen many different kinds of birds in the last few days that I couldn't have identified before. We've had a pair of Flicker woodpeckers, both a downy and a hairy woodpecker, a varied thrush, a stellar's jay and some scrub jays, and lots of Oregon juncos. The kids seem to be catching the enthusiasm and running excitedly to the window when they spot a bird. We've also started reading The Burgess Bird Book for Children. So far we're enjoying the stories and learning about birds as well.
  • Peregrine is learning to read! This is a huge milestone in his little life, and also fun for me as a homeschooling Mama. We've not used any program, but have worked on letter sounds and here and there sounded short words out together. He's never seemed very interested, but in the last few weeks something has clicked and he's starting to "get it". I've been letting him play around on the Starfall website. He's still young, and I don't want to push him into reading, but it seems he's not to be stopped. Last week he informed me that he'd written the word peas in his notebook. I went and looked and sure enough, he'd written PEEZZ!
  • I've been experimenting with making artisan breads. I've wondered before how to make breads like the rustic loaves one can buy, and I'm starting to learn. The Bread Baker's Apprentice is a great book with thorough instructions. I found a DVD called Bread Comes to Life at the library. It shows how bread is made, from the wheat being grown, ground, made into dough, and baked. It's very well done and even though it's geared toward children both Erik and I enjoyed it.
  • Another great library find is A Child's Book of Art. It's chock full of paintings and drawings, and is a great introduction to art. I've had fairly limited exposure to art, but it's something I want my kids to be familiar with. especially as it makes history come alive. Both Peregrine and Alethea will sit and look at this book with me.
  • We've been taking advantage of some sunny days and working a lot our in the yard. We have two giant sequoia trees and a cedar that make a pretty good mess so it takes a lot of work to clean up the lawn and the flower beds. We're also making some new garden areas and have planted the early things, like peas and lettuces. I don't know much about gardening, but I sure like doing it anyway! The kids love to be outside and are helping to dig and plant seeds too. We plan to do one of the kids' garden projects from Roots, Shoots, Buckets, and Boots, which, by the way, is a fantastic book. Have I mentioned that Alethea makes a pretty nice mud pie?
  • Finally, we're getting ready for Alethea's second birthday in a few days. We'll have a little family party for her on the weekend, and I'm making her a new dress. She likes to sit with me a bit while I'm sewing, just like I used to sit with my Mom, playing with her pins and sewing notions. (Don't worry, I don't let her play with the pins yet. I always tell her "No, no! Those are sharp!" She's gotten her words a bit mixed up and calls them sharks now! She thinks the sewing machine sounds "like a train" and wants me to say "choo choo" as I sew.
This is my idea of education! Sure, my kids are only 4 1/2 and (very nearly) two, but does it really have to get much more complicated than this? We read, we play, we explore ideas together, and... they learn! What's more, I'm learning a lot too.
And a question for those further down the road than I. Have you used a reading program for your children? Do you think it's necessary and/or beneficial?

(Photo by Jim Peaco, in the Public Domain)


  1. The first time they start getting the reading is so exciting for them and for you. I have been told that a reading program is not always necessary for the reading part but that the rules need to be taught for spelling and grammer and things like that. I am using the program Sonlight which has all of the subjects in the program but we do some spelling rules each week and some grammer. I hope that is helpful. I always get so excited when a child starts to read. It just opens up a whole new world for them.

  2. Thanks for the book recommendations. I think my littles will enjoy them.

    We have a woodpecker, too, but he is more of an annoyance. :)

  3. Cool! John is 4.5 and has started to try and spell, too. He was sounding out "uncle" of all words. Of course, he spelled it u-n-k-l! It is still cool. John has a phonics computer game (Dr.Sues) that he plays with about 45 minutes/day while I am on the stairmaster. John's b day is 9/19/02. When is your son's?

  4. Wow! This all sounds so lovely! Wonderful news about the reading and the upcoming birthday!


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