Saturday, December 27, 2008

Color sorting pompoms

Nugget is really into colors these days. She has them down pretty well, but she seems to like the opportunity to practice. When we had large Christmas lights lining the driveway, she would walk down the line touching each and saying the color ("purple.... red.... 'ellow....").

One of her favorite activities is sorting colored beads onto dowels (we found this activity at a local children's resale store). I decided to try to make a similar, but hopefully different enough, activity on my own.

We have a bunch of pompoms of various colors that sit around for use in whatever crazy way Nugget comes up with. I dug up construction paper in matching colors and folded paper boxes. I put out a bowl with some pompoms and the boxes next to it, then demonstrated removing one pompom and placing it into the appropriately colored box.

We started with just red and yellow. Nuggest showed no interest for about a day and a half, but after a bit of encouragement gave it a shot and has come back to it a few times since. She much prefers to pick up a handful of pompoms and drop them all into one box, then remove the wrong ones. Hey, seems more efficient to me!

Tonight I folded up 3 more colors of boxes. Maybe that will provide more of a challenge.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Why is this blog here?

My name is Jen. I'm a stay-at-home mom of a 20-month old daughter (born May 2007) who I'll call Nugget. In my former life, I was a computer geek. My family now lives in small-town Florida, but our parenting philosophies are heavily influenced by the 7 years we spent in the San Francisco Bay Area, including the first 6 months of Nugget's life.

This blog will document my attempts to homeschool my daughter -- as much as one can "school" a toddler. I feel this might be interesting to the world at large because I'm trying to merge two very different teaching philosophies that both appeal to me -- Montessori and Waldorf.

Many buckets of bits have been spilled writing about these two ideas. I'm just going to summarize what my take-home points are -- what appeals to me about them. From Waldorf, I love the freedom to imagine and live in worlds of a child's own creation. I want to embrace the emphasis on pretend and using simple toys that can act in many different parts. From Montessori, I love the child-led learning and the focus on working independently and doing practical life activities. I hope Nugget can gain the focus that it can grant, the inner drive.

At the two extremes of these philosophies, they can't be integrated. But I'm hoping that by taking a little of this, a little of that, I can merge the two in our house.

Another thread that will run though this blog in an emphasis on making our own materials. As a one-income family, I can't fill my home with store-bought Montessori work materials or Waldorf dolls. But I have a few hours in the evening and a drive to be productive. I'm hoping to be able to craft my way through, augmented by a few carefully chosen and price-checked purchases.

My ultimate goal is to raise a self-driven, independent girl who has a boundless imagination. Why aim low, huh?
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