One of the things I love about the holidays and having my husband home is that we put some work into sorting the messy corners of the house. A few days ago I cleaned out the craft cupboard. My husband sorted our closet. I worked on the kids rooms. Today we put in new shelving next to my computer and moved the boardgames and printers up there. We’re slowly making progress cleaning out the clutter.
Cleaning helps inspire my homeschooling. I find the little things. I found a little wooden puzzle map of Canada, my juggling balls and my box of dominos. As I put books away I think about what we’ve read before and what we might want to reread. It’s a great time for taking stock of what we have done and could do. My kids are fairly advanced academically, so I think about what other things we could be working on. We haven’t made playdough in a while. What about making a web of paper chains across the livingroom?
Sorting out a cupboard I find the matches – hmmm, I know the eight year old knows how to light a candle, but does the five year old? I should check with him, and maybe we can find a youtube video about matches.
The light from a broken Christmas ornament might be just what we need for one of our science projects.
And the marble maze – the five year old asked if the little wheel the marbles turn would be fast enough to turn a magnet in a coil of wires to make electricity. We can talk about about potential, kinetic and electrical energy and maybe do another experiment with that.
The die that only goes up to 3 – that might be what the three year old, recently able to identify three instead of just one and two, needs to play with to understand clearly that we don’t just announce a random number upon each role.
I’ll make note of where the bag of elastics is, as well as the little spring scale, since perhaps the spring scale could be used to test the strength of the different elastics next time the kids ask to do a science experiment. But how would that work? How would we compare the different ones? What would be a fair test? Hmmm….
The pile of popsticle sticks at the back of the craft cupboard – that could be used with the eight year old’s geography course, figuring out the ratios of area to perimeter for regular polygons. Maybe my five year old and I would practice using tallies to count.
Sometimes I really need to step back from the basic schoolwork. I need to step back from our math and language arts curriculums, from the history book and the spelling lessons. Sometimes I need a holiday just to think of all the other possibilities. I need a holiday to think about where exactly the kids are, what skills they’ve been on the brink of learning and what hobbies they seem drawn towards.