Friday, July 27, 2012

July Water Fun!

Splish splash...LC made cute drawings of our water fun.

LC was fascinated by her discovery that she can see the moon sometimes in the daytime (which led to a basic discussion about the moon's orbit around the earth, its proximity to our planet and the moon's brightness). She told me she wanted to draw both the sun and the moon in the sky, as well as water getting splashed on a person's head (above drawing). More water fun pictures below:

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Penguins, Snow Leopards, Swans and a Polar Bear

We went to the Central Park Zoo in mid-June, with a close friend. The zoos get crowded during the summer in NYC, so I wanted to be sure LC enjoyed the calm zoo. LC is inspired by nature, in terms of her artwork...and has many questions about animals.

During this visit to the zoo, we saw lines drawn on the ground to indicate an animal's jumping distance and (by jumping from one line...until she finally reached the next line) LC learned that it takes seven LC jumps to equal one snow leopard jump (they jump about 20 feet vertically, much longer horizontally). She also observed penguins, swans, a polar bear etc. and she told us many facts about their behavior.

As I mentioned before, I believe in experiential learning (learning from direct experience), at the child's own pace and following her interests. I don't believe children under the age of 7 should be learning by rote memorization...with worksheets, textbooks, homework and constant quizzes. The high percentage of school-age kids feeling stressed out (with grades, tests, homework and school in well as being overscheduled in terms of activities outside of school) is a concern to me - there's no need to rush a young child into a structured academic environment and risk dealing with a depressed child who is burnt out on studying a few years later...and rarely enjoys researching and learning anything on her own when she grows up. If I had to use one word to describe LC's attitude toward learning right now, I would say she is joyful.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Treasured Crafts

LC treasures the crafts that she makes and/or decorates.

Like this aluminum foil boat LC made (and watched float in a tub with other kids' boats) a few months ago at the South Street Seaport Museum's awesome Mini Mates program.

And the Melissa & Doug wooden treasure chest kids were given at Time Warner Cable's Disney Junior Channel launch celebration. LC brought it home and painted it and then applied glue glitter as the finishing touch.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

No Horses Running

Lately, LC has been asking me to write words on the chalkboard. It seems random, but she hears a phrase or she says a word out loud (or a combination of words) and it's fascinating to her...she asks me things like "how spell no horses running?" or "how spell puppy?" etc. Today, she requested that I write "cowboy" and "pudding".

She also asks things like "tell me ten letter words", "tell me five letter words", "tell me words begin with P only four letters" etc.  I tried to steer her to learn how to read small words first, the rhyming words and sight words (like in Dr. Seuss books), or follow a phonics method, but she lights up when the learning is not structured. We're following her interests and questions...letting her carve out the path...and allowing her to learn organically. She will come up to me and make statements about what she has discovered all the time (art, music, reading, writing, science, math etc.). This evening, she said "I made two drawings in morning and one drawing now, so that makes three drawings."

Creepy Centipede

I can't stand bugs and thankfully I rarely see them inside our home. But the extremely hot & incredibly humid weather in NYC this summer (I lost count of how many days, thus far, we had a RealFeel temperature over 100 deg F!) has caused us to see this creepy creature, the house centipede. Strangely, there have been a lot less mosquitoes, spiders and ants this summer (we saw a bunch last year, as they snuck in from the garden on the hottest days). Maybe spiders are eating mosquitoes... and centipedes are eating the spiders and ants. And sadly for these alien-looking centipedes, they are being squished by flip-flops or (quite ingeniously, when one was on the living room ceiling) a basketball aimed perfectly. I remembered how fascinated LC was in the Creature Creations class, so I'm glad this was yet another learning opportunity for her. The super fast house centipede will have up to 15 pairs of legs, ick.  LC captured this insectivore on paper, using a crayon:

Thursday, July 19, 2012

vibrant tribal art

LC's drawing really captured my attention. It looks like a beautiful tribal art design. I was going to write "primitive art" (as I learned in school), but that's considered negative now and it's called ethnographic art or tribal art.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Mickey Mouse Bat

LC (describing her drawing): "It's a Mickey Mouse Bat."

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Counting Happy Face People, with Index Cards

I asked LC if she wanted ten index cards. She was very excited and said yes. So, I gave her my old index cards and a pencil...and I went into the dining room to boot up my laptop. LC comes over to me with an index card that has 1 happy face person drawn on it. I put it on the table. She goes back to the living room. She returns with another index card, this one has two happy face people on it. I put it on the table, next to the first card. She returns to the living room. A few minutes later she is back again, this time with an index card that has three people on it. She asks me to put it on the table next to the last index card. Now, I'm starting to catch on and this continues...until the tenth index card with ten happy face people drawn on it.

Self-directed, fun math & art lesson...on a summer day.  The core standards that are being pushed, by the way, aim to teach kindergarten students (2013-2014 academic year for LC) how to "count to tell the number of objects" understand the relationship between quantities and numbers, "connect counting to cardinality" the end of kindergarten, kids need to be able to answer the question "how many" for as many as 20 things arranged in "a line, a rectangular array, or a circle, or as many as 10 things in a scattered configuration." "Count elements with one-to-one matching." She can certainly do that already, counting a random number of objects shown to her. She went a step further and drew people in the proper counting sequence of 1-10, retaining in her memory (as she went back to the other room) how many people to draw on the next index card.

She keeps proving that a young child, guided by a caring stay-at-home parent, has the curiosity, initiative and ability to learn...without feeling pressured in a structured, test-driven, competitive environment. We're opting out of pre-k for LC and choosing "out in the world" hands-on schooling, play and socialization for many reasons...including LC's happiness.

A closer look at the adorable index cards...

If you would like to see the individual index cards...

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sketching Objects at Home

Self-initiated learning is a marvelous thing! All children are curious, with the desire to learn and the capacity to explore, observe and practice. I don't believe in pressuring young children to learn with a planned, test-driven curriculum. Today, LC decided to sketch her toys...observational drawing. She asked for a few sheets of paper from my sketch pad, went into the living room and chose three toys and sat down for fifteen minutes. She returned to the dining room and placed each toy on the matching drawing and proudly said "I wanted you to know the toys I draw." Cool!

Friday, July 6, 2012

accordion box

I should have included this project in the Art in Boxes post. I forgot about it, because this box is much smaller than the other boxes. It's so unique and wonderful...and it was the perfect last project for the class, because we could bring it home that day (without worrying about it needing to dry). Would make a nice gift, because you can close it up and open it and close it's self-contained.

LC's art (click on image to see larger picture):

Materials used:
* a white necklace/bracelet jewelry box (to serve as the top and bottom box) +
* a regular pencil (to draw the initial drawing, and then go over it with the sharpie or charcoal) +
* black sharpie (a permanent marker, so your kid should wear an art apron or a shirt you don't care about) +
* a white charcoal pencil (how cool!! I've mostly used black charcoal, not white!) +
* 2 strips of large, red construction paper (each folded up into 4 squares, accordion style), cut to the right height (& folded to the right width) to fit the box +
* tape (to put the 2 strips together, to make 8 squares for this project) +
* glue (to glue the first red square into the top lid and the last red square into the bottom container, after your kid is finished with the drawing).

The cover of the box was decorated by tearing a piece of red construction paper, by hand, and then attaching the red shapes to the white box, with glue.

It has been months and LC still carries the little box with her sometimes and opens it up, stretches it show folks the art. She wrote her name on it by herself....and is quite proud of it. She also carries mine a "gift" she likes to look at often.

I very much enjoyed making this in the art class. My art (click on image to see larger picture):

At the end of class...we had a little bit of extra time and the teacher gave out black construction paper to the kids and they used white charcoal pencils to draw lines. LC enjoyed making this picture:

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

happy face people - 6 month difference

It's nice to see the progression in her drawings. Happy face people drawn on 12/22/11:

...and happy face people drawn on 06/12/12: