Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Konos Notebooks

     The kids spent yesterday assembling their Konos notebooks from the Patience unit we finished at the end of April.  This was the first Konos unit we've done, and we all loved it.  The notebooks were started as an after thought, as in, "Since we're doing all this neat stuff, we really need something to remember it all. "  While the kids were putting together their notebooks, I was gratified to see how looking at the pictures and worksheets brought back memories of what they had learned.  Definitely not a wasted effort, and they are so proud of them.
     I have them in three prong folders rather than in three ring binders because I wanted to be more of a book, that they could carry around and show people.  I'll have a notebook folder for each unit we do.

     The pages are a combination of scrap booking style pages with pictures of the activities we did, and worksheets that were completed as part of our studies.  Abriel's notebook is showing some of the naked egg experiments we did.  We removed the shells of several eggs with vinegar, then saw how far they could be dropped before they broke, dehydrated one in corn syrup, and rehydrated some in dyed water, so that they turned into brightly colored egg balloons.
     Anna's notebook is showing off the chart they made showing the gestation periods of different animals.  Samuel's is showing him winding silk thread off of silk worm cocoons. Now that is a lesson in patience!  There are also pictures of our chickens when they were babies.  We helped incubate and hatch them as part of our Konos studies. 
     More pages, showing a recipe for bread rolls that the kids made, egg relay races and other egg related fun, and pictures of our tadpoles turning into froglets.
     Getting the notebooks assembled made me realize how much we did, and how many great memories the the kids have of hands on learning experiences and being with friends.  Among the things shown here we also, dissected a frog, made a co-operative garden, (that we are still working on) learned about the first passover, and then celebrated a Seder meal. So many good memories.

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

     Someone had posted this chart on Facebook today, and I started looking through it.  Unfortunately, I tend to look at things like this as checklist, rather than something to help me.  "Are my kids doing this yet? How are they measuring up to what's expected of them?", are what's running through my head.  I'm looking through the 10-11 year old section and thinking about whether or not Anna can sweep out a garage.  I don't know, because we don't own a garage.  So I try to think what the equivalent to that is. "Does the porch count? Maybe if I include the side walks."  Then I stop and think about what I am doing.  The only questions I should be asking is, do my children help me in the ways that I need them to? The answer to that is, yes, for the most part.  Life isn't a check list, (although I do love check lists) and even though Anna doesn't mow the lawn, she's been watching her younger siblings since she was six.  And the twins don't dry and put away the dishes but they can put groceries away and wipe off the table.  Why? because that's what I need them to do.
     This evening Anna was bored and wanted to make cookies.  Baking makes a lot of mess, so I told her if she wanted to make cookies she would have to clean the play room first.  At first she grumbled at this, and I could hear her complaining as she cleaned about the seemingly endless work.  After a few minutes, I could hear her attitude shift.  She stopped complaining and I could hear her singing bits of songs.  In a few minutes she came out in a cheerful mood, saying the playroom was clean, and she was ready to make cookies now.
     I can understand her attitude shift, because I have felt it too many times while cleaning.  At first you hardly know where to start, and it's rather irking that even though you weren't responsible for the mess, you're the one cleaning it.  Then something happens.  You start to see a difference; order coming through the chaos.  The job doesn't seem so hard any more, and you start to find pleasure in it.   
   Anna ended up not only making cookies, but deciding she wanted to make supper for every one as well.
     Seeing her happy contentment and pride at being able to cook a whole meal by herself, confirmed for me that I had done the right thing by making her work before having the pleasure of making a treat.  She went from being bored and mopey, to cheerful and helpful the rest of the evening.  Even children like to know that they are a necessary part for the running of the house-hold.  Anna's supper was delicious too.