Friday, August 6, 2010

Pompom garland and Unschooling.

I saw somewhere online a string of pompom garland. I can't recall where the inspiration came from so I can't site it here but I did want to say that this is not an original-me idea. After seeing it, though, I've been itching to make it for my girl's room.

Today, we set out to get supplies for our project. I've been trying to make a concious effort to school my kids where ever life takes us. It's a whole new approach that I have tried to embrace in the past though have never been able to get institutional instruction fully out of my head; Desks + tomes + quiet = learning. I've changed a lot lately. This is one place I think I'm succeeding.

We went to the store, gathered up our goodies, talked about money and budgets. I only had a certain small dollar amount to spend and I find being honest with the kids about where we stand financially helps them to understand I can't afford everything in the whole friggin store. We discussed coupons and sales, finances and how wages are earned, all while walking the aisles of the craft store.

When we left the next store didn't open for 9 whole minutes. For those of you without kids, let me just clarify that children are not patient beings. Nine mintues outside a store in the heat with five impatient people can drive you over the edge. So, we went for a walk.

We looked at the plants that grow outside the building. We picked a few flowers, saw some bugs. We watched a huge flock of birds at least a hundred feet up in the sky, circling. Something I'd have missed if I was head down, arguing with a three year old. This led to a discussion on scavenger birds, birds of prey and carrion. My oldest and I figured out how many minutes we'd have to walk one way before having to turn back if we wanted to get to the store exactly at ten. We mentally tried to factor in rate of walking and other scenarios like pace, leg length, if it started raining and if you ran into obstacles.

Who knew so much could be learned in nine minutes outside of Best Buy?

Then coming home I spied a neighbor had left some small pieces of a tree they cut down on the curb. They'd been there for days and I hated to see them get thrown in the trash. So, we went down the street and had log roll races back to the house. It beat gym class dodgeball, by far.

With the baby in bed and the kids cooled off with some homemade lemonade we set about making pompoms. Lots. And Lots. of pompoms.

The girls wrapped the special pompom shaper things with their chosen colors. And carefully cut them apart before I tied them together.

I'm a little sad to say they ended up abandoning me to the last of the pompom making.

But not before we talked about how many would fit in a twelve inch space if we spaced them by different intervals. How many we'd need if we wanted garland made X long. Then talked about what kind of patterns we could make.

It's saddening to me how much I have let slip by because of preconcieved notions on education. How much of my kids thought processes I've dismissed because I was too busy and didn't feel like involving them. It's wildly amazing to hear them problem solve and come up with ideas that I never thought of.

When I involve them in my whole life it's no difficulty to appreciate and be impressed by them. We get along better and problems work themselves out before I grow irritated and angry. They want to talk to me and learn and explore and play.

And there is no reason why it all can't be done together.


Kaylala said...

Loved the pom pom garland, it would make a great stash buster..Is there a tute coming along? I made pom poms in Girl Scouts...but I'm wondering how they were strung together? Oh, and props for the craftster-like tattoo!

I'm learning to incorporate Malachi in daily stuff too...he's at that age where he asks questions about -everything-...which in retrospect..that should be any/all ages right? lol :)

Crystal said...

I cheated and bought a set of pompom maker tools at Joann's LOL To string them, just thread a needle with whatever yarn you want (We used the mult-colored) and pull the needle through the tie in the center. You HAVE to get it through the tie or it'll just slip out. Then we used 2 of Alex's hand spans to distance the apart.

I want to make halloween and solstice themed ones! They'd be great, quick package toppers too.

Kaylala said...

Oh my goodness! Great ideas! I'm digging the themed ones! :)