Wednesday, April 11, 2012

For the Birds

Over the winter I sat down and tried to make up a preschool syllabus for Liv. I am not sure if she will ever attend preschool so I wanted to start homeschooling at home. But after working on it for a few months I stopped. Liv is 2 1/2, which around where I live is probably the average age kids go in to preschool. I am not a huge fan of this, especially if it is an academic preschool. I don't think young children are made to sit around and be taught at. They need to experience life, learn with their hands and hearts. So I've been doing an unschooling approach for preschool so far. I just try to "teach" Liv things she is showing interest in. Recently it has been birds.
She was asking me what type of bird that was one day. Luckily I knew it was a blue jay, but there was so much I didn't know so I though what a perfect way to teach her about natures, categorizing, her colors and so many other skills that I probably don't realize. So the first thing I did was go to the library and get a bunch of books about birds, bird watching and how to attract birds to your yard. Blue jays are blue, cardinals are red, Baltimore orioles are orange and black. We spot these birds in our backyard almost daily and I go over their colors with her. We put out different feeders and seeds for different birds. She is learning which birds eat seeds, and how other like suet. We watch robins in our lawn pulling worms all day. Today we sat in our bathroom and spied on a cardinal singing for a mate. In addition to learning bird calls and how they attract each other she is learning how to be quiet and patient while watching these birds. Teaching a 2 year old to whisper and be still is hard, but when the motivation is watching a beautiful bird she does much better. Sometimes we listen to bird calls in the car. She loves it. She is learning all different types of birds, about the seasons, where they live, what they eat, what songs the sing, how baby birds come to be, about migration and so much more. So of this goes over her little head, but I know she is absorbing so much from just watching the birds and looking at the books with me. This also keeps us outdoors. We will go out and fill the bird feeders every couple of days so she is gaining a sense of responsibility too. This is just one thing I have been doing with her, but right now it takes a large part of our "schooling" since the birds are flocking to our yard and we often just stop and sit to watch them. She really enjoys looking through the bird books too. I love watching her get all excited about learning and wanting to know more. I hope this helps instill a life long love of learning. We are also working on a garden, but it is very early in the season for to be taking up too much time of our day. We have a nice weekly routine of activities but when ever we have nothing to do or a empty spot in our day I go to my some of my unschooling ideas to keep us occupied in a fun way.

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