Celebrating a homeschool win whenever I can! These beginning years when I’m jumping around, trying this approach or idea or curriculum and it’s all seeming so disconnected and simply a flop, I’m learning to focus on the small wins.
I read Project Based Homeschooling: Mentoring Self Learners and was inspired to empower my children to direct their own learning. It’s been a balance of encouraging J along her path while remaining an observer. Oh, how many times I want to steer her in a direction towards her goal but have to step back and watch her stumble with failed attempts. It’s certainly a tricky dance that I’m still learning.
There have been many topics, ideas and projects that arose and either fizzled out after a short period or never even made it to the first step. Sometimes I found myself pushing ideas or topics that J just wasn’t that interested in after the first few steps (reading a few books or completing a small project). These topics did not develop into a big project nor the months of inquiry that I had hoped for.
One topic sprouted and really took off this year. J has been passionately absorbed in all things bird during the past five months. She has created and maintained a Book of Birds where she sketches and labels her drawings. She will try out various mediums (markers, watercolor pencils, oil pastels, so on) while she observes the details of birds in our books. She keeps returning to this book she has made even after periods where it seemed to be forgotten. All of the bird books have been collected in the house for this project and new ones periodically checked out on our weekly library trips.
Miss A received some bird themed gifts as her Christmas gifts which really fueled the bird love in the family this winter and spring. One gift was a bird feeder that suctioned onto the outside of our sliding glass door in our living room. We have a variety of birds regularly visit the feeder. I’m amazed by our middle of the city super developed neighborhood hosting such a large variety of birds. The girls are thrilled to observe and even identify the different birds. Our days are often filled with shout outs about this or that bird we saw feeding as we went about our day.
The other gift Miss A received was Bird Bingo. We have played it non stop and have not tired of it yet. I just love when Miss A correctly identifies a bird we see at the Aviary or outside by it’s proper name she learned by playing this game so often. It’s become a neighborhood favorite as she has all visitors to the house join her in a game or two or twelve! Miss A insists it is always played until someone fills up the whole card!
It’s been great to watch the whole family enjoy and engage in the bird fun of learning. I am hopeful both girls’ interest in this topic will continue to grow and I will get to see the same motivation in other things they pursue.