Friday, February 1, 2013

Kindergarten at home: Learning about Japan

So we just finished our first week of homeschool. The whole, first, four day week! Epic. We're such professionals now. Ask me anything, I'll give you the homeschool answer.

But seriously, it went quite well.

Our doll's house is copping some serious weather.
I was kind of planning on doing a weather-focused week (it was SO wet on Tuesday!) but it quickly morphed into a Japanese week when we found some interesting books at the library. This tied in nicely with our work on teaching Peanut that she comes from Australia - no point teaching her about her country and culture, if she doesn't know that there are others that are different!

Fish kites. 97% glue, 2% dog hair.

So we read "The Magic Paintbush" by Julia Donaldson (of Gruffalo fame), and "Yoko's Paper Cranes" by Rosemary Wells. We made paper fish kites, and I let her in my cupboard to throw together a poor recreation of a kimono (note the socks and sandals... and that's my dressing gown!)

Kind of wished I'd insisted on her brushing her hair...
We painted our names in hiragana, and made some cherry blossom fans. We ate sushi and wasabi peas (Peanut made a wicked face, then went back for another. And another...)

We read about Japanese gardens, then recreated one in a dodgy white plastic tray with a couple of white pebbles, an old Buddha statue we found caked in dirt when we were planting our veggie garden, and a stick for the pattern rake.

And in between all that, we did some addition practice (first with a workbook, then some dice, then marbles, and finally adding the spots on dominoes.... But not all on the one day, of course!) and started in again on letters and reading. It took a while for Peanut's brain to find it's groove. I could see her searching the back of her mind for the letters she knew she knew, and getting frustrated with herself for taking so long. She wiggled in her seat, sighed, threw her head on the desk, and then suddenly, miraculously, read the whole of her "Gus the Duck" book by herself. It was a terrific lesson to her in pushing beyond what she finds easy and mentally comfortable, and having a spectacular success. I'm so glad she kept trying!

Her handwriting tells me we may have a future doctor in our midst.

She has also spent the week trying to convince me to let her have another (oh, just one more please Mama!) of her alphabet cookies. I rolled the dough into long snakes, while she made them into letters. Usually back to front ones, but cookie dough is easy to flip! I was planning to have some left over to freeze for when real school starts next week, but I think that's a pipe dream. They are pretty damn tasty for learning aides.

So, all around, it was a terrific success. She was excited to learn new things, had a rip roaring time, and got to eat cookies. Win!


  1. Sounds like she will be loving it next week...I loved the back to front writing, the names that were perfectly written but from right to left...completely was a stage , didnt last long but it used to super freak me out....!!!

  2. Well done you! There's a carees waiting in teaching if you don't want to go back to the soldier business ;-)

  3. When my kids were younger, I totally knew I COULD homeschool them, though I felt no calling from God to do it...Even at my youngest ones ceaseless begging to be homeschooled.

    Then, 7th grade came. And now I'm super glad God never spoke to me about home schooling. Lord save me from prealgebra! YUCK! I can DO it, I just hate having to EXPLAIN it!

  4. Lovely, just lovely....a wonderfully, organic and rambly learning week. Loved reading about it :)

  5. Oi! My first life was as a doc and there's nothing wrong with my handwriting. If you find a doc with legible writing, it's more likely to be a woman. I actually think your Peanut has BEAUTIFUL script for such a young'un and should be congratulated on making her numbers and letters so clearly. You should be congratulated on making learning the delight it should be.