Today has been another surprising day where Jenson has learnt about things I never knew we would touch upon when I woke up this morning!
One of today's activities all started yesterday. One playdate rolled into another as Arabella left and Maxi, an old school friend, arrived. Jenson was really excited to see Maxi although it meant we ran out of time to go to the LEGO shop to spend the money he had been saving to buy a new LEGO box.
That new LEGO box purchase did happen, but not until late last night. Jenson has spent the whole of today building it, on and off. It was a fair size and there were a lot of pieces so I helped him find the bits and he put it together. I normally use LEGO as a way to claw back a bit of work time but in this instance I didn't. I sat with him and it was very enjoyable.
There was plenty of maths going on. On more than one occasion Jenson corrected me on my number skills. The instructions are quite clear about how many pieces you need for each step but I didn't read them properly and often only gave him a single piece when two were required. Jenson was more than able to read and interpret the numbers even when I couldn't!
In between LEGO building there was plenty of time for other activities that free flowed easily out of Jenson. What has been interesting this week is the progress he's making with his reading. For example, he's got ever so good at reciting Daddy's Sandwich. So brilliant is his memory of the story that he can read it word for word. He doesn't read the words, but can interpret the pictures superbly. He's got great story telling skills.
Jenson and Wren have recently got into card games and whilst tidying them up he was able to read the word Snap and Happy Families and correctly sort the cards into two separate piles based on the words alone. This progress was backed up further when he read Angus's birthday party invitation and also a word or two from his LEGO mini figure book like Samurai and Cole. We don't do any formal reading practice so it is all down to his developing brain.
This just reaffirms my belief that forcing reading and writing onto children is counter productive and that they will all get their in their own time and at their own rate. It's a bit like potty training. So many people are so keen to get their little ones out of nappies from such a young age that they will try all sorts of bizarre things to achieve this end and for what? Jenson and Wren were almost four years old before they were ready to come out of nappies and we did no training with them whatsoever. They were ready when they knew they were ready and as such neither have ever worn a nappy at night time or wet the bed. Leave kids to work stuff out for themselves and more often than not they'll be far better at it than the ones who were forced into it. It's proven that those children who learn to read and write at an older age do far better at both tasks and enjoy them much more than the ones who had it forced upon them at a much younger age.
From maths to reading to building, Jenson pulled out his skeleton puzzle and we did some magnificent learning that ranged from engineering, history, science and more maths.
Here he is building a round house, cue a conversation about when round houses existed, what they were made from, who might have used them and what their lifestyle was like. We talked about periods in history ranging from the prehistoric through to the Iron Age and modern day. He asked questions like, "How do you make a round house?" I passed this over to Simon when he got in from work tonight and he talked about using straight lines and placing them at angles to create a curve.
He adapted his design several times until he ended up with something he was happy with. He even added a window.
He smashed that creation up pretty quickly and made a start on another. I asked him what he was building and he said an old hospital like the one on Lundy. This made me beam! Six months ago we scaled the side of this beautiful island on the most magnificent Boxing Day walk and spent some time climbing among the ruins of the old hospital. It was lovely to hear him recall this memory and to see the obvious impression it had left on him.
So enthused was Jenson by the skeleton set and what he could make with it, that I grabbed the bones book out of the cupboard. There was an opportunity here for further learning and I didn't want to miss it.
I bought this brilliant book from the Red Cross book shop on the Bath Road recently. As home schoolers, its become one of our favourite places to hang out. There are pages and pages showing different types of animal skeletons. Jenson found it fascinating to see the difference between the skeletal make ups based on the animals' shapes and sizes. He particularly liked the snake, comparing the bone structure of it to the shape of a millipede.
We naturally progressed on to the human body after Jenson asked to see what our skeleton looked like. He was curious to know where our heart was and couldn't understand why he couldn't see it on the diagram. I tried to explain as best I could. He learnt the the fibula is the longest bone in the human body and the humorous is your upper arm bone. He also learnt that he has 27 bones in his hand.
Next we moved on to some more maths and looked at shapes.
He now knows that a hexagon has six sides and can remember this because it is the same age as him!
By this point it was still only 11.30am and Jenson was keen to go to the park. We spent a good few hours playing hide and seek, climbing trees and snacking on great chunks of water melon! The children had a super time playing together and inventing some lovely games and role play.
While they played I stumbled across a dead bumble bee. This stirred something inside of me and within ten minutes I had researched and purchased a microscope that would arrive tomorrow. After that I was on a mission to find other interesting things and asked the children to keep their eyes peeled too. As we were leaving Jenson spotted an enourmous dead bee and so we added it to the collection. It's going to be fascinating to see these honey making geniuses up close. It will also form a big part of our bee study that we are doing as part of the Great British Bee Count this month.
It's been another really satisfying day that was rounded of with more LEGO building!