Little Man (he is 9 months old) was here last Friday for half the day. Mom and Dad were working at home in the mornings and he was “working” here. He spent half his time moving from sitting to getting in a crawl position on all fours. He them slowly and carefully sat back down – over and over again.
As the day progressed he began to move on all fours, first arms and then hold. Next a leg would move and then stop. It was a slow and beautiful thing to watch. By the end of the morning he had managed to crawl on his own about a foot to his big orange truck. He had no idea what to do once he got to the trunk. He and the truck were now under the plant table. Stuck! Progress was being made.
Now it is Wednesday – we have not seen him for four days due to his family all having a cold and deciding wisely to keep it at their house. In those four days this little man has made leaps. The arms are stronger, the movement of all four limbs are coordinated and moving with way more ease and he is on the go – still slowly but going. As his mom has said he is now finding all the danger zones. He is after the computer cords, the outlets – you name it. Try crawling around in your house. It is amazing what you see from that perspective. (I am not even talking about the dust and dirty rolling around that I thought I just mopped up.)
Back to learning. This little guy without all the fuss of teaching is learning fast and furiously. He is busy building language skills, he is developing motor skills, and is taking in all the actions of his family practicing each one as best he can. Can you think back to when your children were small and the amazement of how they developed with ease and practice doing the daily events? It is all so wonderful and astonishing.
We seem to forget how humans can learn naturally. We are so busy working on lesson after lesson for them on the computer. I get that as we get older structured learning – readings and questions to help us think about what we are reading and learning are helpful. Yet, I wonder if we might be better served to help our children at home with tasks like cooking, working in the yard (if you have one), making things.
This made me think about some of the big “research” projects I gave my students. One that was great fun was planning a trip. They were responsible for all of it. What would things cost? How will we get there? What do we need to bring along? What are we doing once there? The older kids at home could plan your next real vacation.
We also created maps of our neighborhood. Including as many details as possible – color of houses, mailboxes, stores, etc. Then the questions were developed. What do you like about your neighborhood? What is missing and you would like to include? Can you find places that these items could be placed? You could add in history if you are looking at what was in your neighborhood that is now gone. Full urban planning.
This activity lead to designing parks. What size and place could a park be placed? You can looked up city arial maps and check on size. What should be added to the park? (playground, places for people to sit, bathrooms, dog park)
or plan a family garden? size, what to plant and when? how much?
As I think of families at home this is where I think they could pull together to learn, explore and have fun. I am not sure this is the time for more worksheets with numbers on them.
So can we change distance learning into family fun – learning by doing (Little Man style). This in true integration at its finest. There is reading, research, problem solving, math, art, history, and discussion.
What ideas do you have for family learning that integrates reading, writing, math and more? What would be fun to learn at your house?