Meals on Wheels: Teaching Citizenship 

The Kid has been learning that he is part of a Village as both recipient and giver of help and support. One of the benefits of homeschooling is that we can take advantage of our community’s programs that occur during the school day. Meals on Wheels has been such a beautiful tool to connect us to generations of veterans, experienced and wise people. Today’s volunteer appreciation luncheon also gave The Kid a chance to practice impromptu speaking. He did an amazing job! ​

Montessori Moments in Homeschooling

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The Red One is learning to use scissors and enjoys creating geometric shapes. Here he is showcasing his rectangle!

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The Kid is excited about Practical Life exercises because he gets to use adult materials that are normally off limits. Here, he is beginning a sewing activity that is aligned with his love for all things outer space.

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The Red One loves animals so we are building our Zoological vocabulary with this Montessori activity. He’s matching the model animals to their picture and written name. By the first iteration of this game, he had already learned the animal “Impala”.

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About an hour and 20 minutes after he began, The Kid completed his Rocketship pillow! You can see his pride!

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The day before, we toured a Mosque with a lovely Muslim gentleman who told the boys all about how the Mosque is used, Arabic calligraphy, and the traditions of Muslim worship. They also learned the many ways that Christianity is similar to tenets of Muslim doctrine found in the Quran. We rounded out this experience with a beautiful Book about Muslim traditions, celebrations and attire. The boys learned new vocabulary and broadened their cultural horizons.

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After an exercise of pattern making, The Red One decided to use the same materials to make his own “snake”! He truly enjoys animals including reptiles.

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This exercise builds dexterity and focus, perfect goals for a 3 year old. “I Never Forget A Face” is a fun, culturally diverse Memory Game that takes you on a trip around the world. You match the faces of children in traditional attire from 24 different nations in the world. We learn to take turns, follow rules, compete and study the faces of children all around the world. This game sparks geography conversations and inquiry every time we play. We used our giant World Wall Map many times to identify the home nations of some of the children.

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Working on multiplication can be abstract at age 5, but not with manipulative a like these. The Kid found multiplication easy to understand with this fun material.

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Questions about multiplication’s parallels in addition sparked an exercise in doubling using addition. We worked our way all the way from doubling numbers in the ones place all the way to doubling numbers in the ten thousands!! No tears and I had to actually tell him to stop! This exercise Reinforced long addition, carrying numbers from place value to place value and was a lot of fun!

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Both fellas are interested in how they can make their mark on the world. One way that we highlight their potential contributions is through order, cleanliness and responsibility. To drive this point home and illustrate Big things Little Hands can do, we talked about and explored recycling. Thanks to Reading Rainbow, we “visited” a recycling plant to look at exactly how old materials are cleaned and repurposed into new, useful products we need everyday.

We played our own recycling game by sorting various pretend items by their composition materials. In short, we played a recycling game!!

 Our new neighbor is excited to have young children back in the neighborhood. Our family has the youngest children on the block. Having tiny neighbors inspired him to decorate his house for Christmas for the first time ever! The Kid wrote him a thank you note to show his appreciation for Mr. B’s thoughtfulness and creativity! We, in turn, got a chance to work on handwriting, spelling and letter formatting!We suited up for the weather and hand-delivered our letter to our kind and newly retired neighbor!

Mud Pie Math!

What?! You read it right! Mud. Pie. Math. What’s not to like about playing in the mud? I combined The Kid’s love of Disney movies, parties and mud pies to work on fractions! I pretended to get call after call from his favorite Disney characters with updated RSVPs of how many guests our party would have. In response to the updated RSVP, he had to modify his mud pie to serve the guests. We worked with halves, fourths, sixths, and eighths. We even branched into concepts of 2/8=1/4, 4/8=1/2 and so on. Talk about fun and challenge all in one exciting “task”. When I moved on to practice letter writing with The Red One, The Kid was still begging for more phone calls to update the RSVP count so he could change the pie fractions.

With The Red One, we used his mud cake as a writing surface! He whipped out his “smart finger” or pointer finger and we wrote “A” then traced it. We discussed colors and our sense of smell. Mostly, we focused on building stamina and completing projects from start to finish- these are the proper focus areas for a three year old. What’s most pivotal is building stamina and follow through as these are huge components for long term academic success.

For The Kid and The Red One, we used mud pies and chalk paint for some powerful STEAM play! They created colorful sidewalk murals, read them as stories to each other, then played with the sun to create shadow tracings of their bodies!

Making mud pies lead to a continued discussion on the water cycle and how “sun baking” will change their physical properties over time. So now, as our pies bake in the sun, we have a project on dehydration and water vapor movement. We also added the variable of a physical barrier between the pie and the sun when The Red One put a large mound of grasses over his mud pie. How will these pies “bake” differently?

And just for fun, the guys got to take an outdoor shower in the hose to wash off their hard morning’s mud and chalk play! Later, as they waited for lunch, the guys continued independent reading on our topic of Adventures in Texas with these books: The Black Cowboys by Gina De Angelis and Black Cowboys by Andrea Robbins and Max Becher. Finally, we rounded out the morning with our character building activity of reading and discussing Light as a Feather: 42 Laws of Maat for Children by Kajara NiaYaa NebtHet. This book has great pictures and provides great encouragement to discuss and think about our actions and words with the guideline of the ancient Kemetic principles set forth by the goddess Maat. Both little gentlemen had self-guided revelations of how they could apply a MAAT principle to their own behavior to improve the “weight of their heart”. That was so great to see!

The Winding Road

Peace and good vibrations to all of our wonderful readers that will be following our tips, advice , venting, raving, and bragging about our young seeds. I figured as a new author I should introduce myself by telling a part of my story of how I got to this place of homeschooling and all of my side  hustles and ventures.

So I usually go by Lex and I’m generally an artist. The word artist encompasses all of my creative outlets and does not limit me. This was basically my basis for homeschooling my twelve and seven year old moving forward. I simply did not want them limited or boxed in, by sheep-like thinking. I was disappointed with them being labeled and the soul focus on behavior and not their brain power. Also there was an incident of test studies being performed on our children at the middle school without parental consent and that was indeed the last straw.

When I grew up we had wonderful teachers whom were genuinely invested in me, in and outside of school. They had the time and freedom to observe and make plans around their knowledge of individual students and put you in a position to excel if you were ahead of the class. The relationships between teachers and parents was a trusted dynamic, with full communication and disclosure about what was taking place in the class room. Students were not labeled and stamped because it was understood that they were seeds…..and seeds must be placed in the right environment for the most effective and fruitful growth.

However, even within that construct there were many flaws that stifled my growth as an individual and it was because of perspective in the way we as a society  view what is correct and incorrect regarding the formula for success. So for my own sons I wanted to empower them using a collective of techniques and range of tools to inspire them to organically become the men they envision, not what I or society see as the fast track to success. It was also important for me to be able to teach them about their ancestral history and the skills that are genetic to who we are as a people. I feel that in order for one to achieve mastery of self you must first know your self, sometimes that alone is such powerful motivation.

For example, a long time ago boys went through an apprenticeship in order to inherit the business from their father. So, if your father was a carpenter you learned to master the skill of carpentry. Now, let’s say within that chain of family someone finally says “No, I’m going to be a sculptor and wisk off to have a career in the arts”. This person still has inherently been influenced by the great carpenters that came before them and most likely has a natural ability in this field. For instance artist are fluent on my paternal side, my father,  his mother, her father, and now myself and my son. See? It’s something that should be taught to our youth just to encourage some of the traits and natural qualities that they have inherited from there great ancestors. ( Now everyone has good and bad stories about their families so please just focus on the positive when revisiting this topic with your young royals)

These are just some of the reasons that I chose to homeschool.  I also choose the content and teach based on their interest. I want them to blossom in an open field rather than a vase in the window. We also get to travel at will and having more hands-on experiences is something they react to very well.

Now for me personally this has required plenty of adjustments. For starters I had to decide which was more important- my current business and entrepreneurial efforts or my children being in an environment where they can thrive and be all they can be? I evaluated my situation and decided I was in an okay position to focus on them and put the business on a lower priority.  I know it may sound crazy, especially to a single mother but my business was starting to over stress me, so I reduced my hours to three days a week and sometimes four if I had clients overflowing. This  actually increased my finances because it pushed everyone to specific days and rid me of having slow periods during the week. I also have been able to open myself up to other opportunities such as focusing on my blog  sowellgroomed.com and writing for wonderful blogs like Milk Brain. So my college dreams of becoming a Journalist are coming true. If someone would have asked me two years ago what I’d be doing now the answer would not be what my reality is. However I have fully adopted the organic way of living  thinking and being. (It’s a beautiful thing!) Guess what, it’s working!  I’m happier, my children are happier, and slowly I am seeing them regain confidence that the school system stripped them of.