Oh, the scheming and dreaming I was privy to this afternoon and evening! There was lots of chatter about some amazing projects just in their infancy that started as we headed out for groceries and continued on while we did dishes together. From what I heard, my house will be overrun with dragons in the near future...copper, gold, silver and bronze ones, to be exact. They are inspired by the book, A Practical Guide to Dragons, which accompanies the Dragon Codices books my son has been devouring as of late.
Despite being on the road and with full hands most of the time, I tried my best to listen to these grand plans and ask questions. Before we left the car to get the groceries, I learned about their plans and wrote down the important info they shared (which I am copying here so those grand ideas aren't forgotten or tossed in the recycling pile).
Nicholas wants to make a silver dragon and a copper dragon costume. He needs some materials to complete his project...large pieces of cardboard, silver and copper construction paper, markers, and brown yarn. Jaelyn will be making a bronze dragon and a gold dragon. She needs similar materials, but with gold and bronze construction paper (and lots of it) instead of silver and copper. She also needs scissors and yarn of any colour. They informed me that the copper and gold dragons will have similar shapes, where their wings are attached to their tail. However, the gold dragon is longer and narrower and the copper dragon is shorter and wider. The silver dragon is the largest, and the bronze one is the smallest.
Fast forward to tonight at dishes. More grand plans were laid, as Nicholas proclaimed that since most of his schoolwork for the week is done, he will be the teacher for Astrin and Jaelyn. Playing school while at "school" - how great! Nicholas reminds me of me! He put together a plan for teaching Astrin shapes and colours, which includes using our shape sorter and drawing. They are also going to learn numbers. If Astrin is willing, Nicholas will also start teaching her how to spell her name, starting with the letter "A" and teaching her what the letter is and what it sounds like. It was pretty easy to go along with most of what he shared, as Astrin knows quite a few colours already and can count to 10 (though I don't think she knows what 10 really is). I hesitated when he eagerly shared teaching her letters. What to say so that he would still feel encouraged and eager, but ready to accept if Astrin wasn't quite there? As gently as I could, I told him that this would be her first foray into letters, and that she may need lots of practice before she understands.
Nicholas will also be teaching Jaelyn too. He will be preparing a book for her to read, some copywork for her to do, and some sort of math. Then they started dreaming about science...I heard plans for learning about feathers and flight, the Arctic, and animals in general. There was talk of paper airplanes and drawing and recess, and I'm sure there was more I missed. I must say that their excitement is contagious.
Today, I made an effort to apply some of my learnings from Project-Based Homeschooling...actively paying attention, asking questions, taking notes, making sure that one-on-one time with each of them was sacred, working hard to keep my opinions and advice to myself so they could do the best kind of experiential learning possible.
As I sit here tonight, I wonder about what in our environment changed so that the latch could be lifted and the floodgates of imagination could burst open. Not that our house if void of imagination - I do recognize it's presence daily. What was different was my place amongst all the scheming. I was no longer a passive participant, barely noticing the words and ideas making up the constant chatter that surrounds me. I was actively listening.
We had met up with another homeschooling family this morning, outside of the co-op setting. While the older children played, I had a chance to chat for an extended period of time with another lovely mama. This is so rare! Although I do prefer to be alone and quiet spaces, I noticed upon arriving home that I had a different energy - a more uplifting energy. And just energy in general. I had more patience when dealing with the lunchtime squabbles and disciplining the child having difficulty listening and cooperating. I had more patience to listen to Astrin read The Gruffalo to me (which was so sweet), although she was dreadfully late in laying down for a nap. I was able to keep my promise of play time and reading time and one-on-one time with the older children. I had a full cup of comradeship that I didn't need to search for on Facebook. And it opened up my eyes to some wonderful possibilities that were right here all along.
We are going to have to do today more often.