We have had a lot of places to go and things to do recently so today we needed a slow day with no plans. We took a slow morning and eventually discovered a bunch of things that we haven’t done in a long time and….it turned out to be a very intense day of self-motivated learning. Here’s what we did:
First he wanted to play with the ABC blocks. He wanted to build a house with stairs. We figured out how many blocks we would need to stack for each consecutive step to be one block taller than the one before (pre-addition).
Then we built towers and counted how many blocks we could stack before they toppled over (counting).
Next we started making words by putting the letters next to each other and changing the word by stacking a different first letter. It didn’t matter if they were real words. We were essentially rhyming and practicing phonics. That lead to Baby Boy making his own gibberish words by stringing together the letter blocks and having me sound out the word. As he added sounds that don’t necessarily go well together, it became a laugh fest at how silly a word he could make. Then we tried to figure out what the word might mean at every step. (phonics, letters=sounds, and sound=meaning)
Next we decided to make the box scones mix we had bought on vacation. Who can resist gluten-free apple scones, right?
So we read the directions. First we had to pre-heat the oven. We went to the oven and turned the temperature button on. He told me what numbers he saw and we read it as a three- digit number. Then we compared that number with the three-digit number in the recipe. He told me if we need to go up or down to match the number. Each time we went up by 5 degrees we read the number again and compared. (reading 3-digit numbers, comparing numbers, understanding numerical sequence, introduction to counting by 5s)
Next, we had to get parchment paper and a cookie sheet. Then we had to find a large bowl. We had to compare the size of the bowls to decide which bowl was large. (vocabulary acquisition)
We emptied the mix into the bowl. The recipe then called for a liquid measuring cup. Into the measuring cup we were to add 3/4 cup of water and 3 tablespoons of water. We talked about what fractions look like and how to read them. We practiced reading 1/4, 1/2 and 3/4. He found the 3/4 cup line on the measuring cup. I added water a little at a time and asked if we had just enough, too much or too little. We kept making adjustments until we had just the right amount. Next we got the 1 tablespoon measuring spoon out. I showed him both the writing on it and the shape and size. Then we counted as we filled three tablespoons to add to the 3/4 cup. The next step was 3 tablespoons of oil so we repeated with the oil. (fractions, measuring, counting)
He mixed the mix. We used the scooper to make semi-circles on the sheet pan. We talked about the shape of the scoops and counted how many we had in each row and each column. (shapes, tables, counting)
Then we put them in the oven and set the timer. He read the number of minutes each time and told me whether we needed more of fewer. (counting, quantity, relationship of quantities)
As we waited for them to bake, we had lunch and then he discovered his old Leap Frog house that doesn’t work anymore. As we played, we pretended to run a bath for each other using the vocabulary of the parts of a bathtub. Then he used the foods in the refrigerator to make me a pretend meal. Finally he made up a story using “once upon a time” and “the end”. I asked him twice what happened next in his story. (vocabulary acquisition, problem solving and creative writing with editing prompted by an adult)
Finally the scones were done. We enjoyed them and then decided to take a few over to our next door neighbor to share. While we were there, we asked him to tell us about the vacation trip we took recently. As he told us, we asked follow up questions to add detail. (character education, recalling recent events, telling a story in sequence, adding detail when prompted by an adult, answering questions)
At this point we were both ready for a nap!
This is one example of how I effortlessly weave, or integrate, learning into our lives. It is a stress free, entertaining way to teach and to learn. I hope you’ll give it try even if you only remember one or two of the techniques I used here at a time.