Several of you bloggers got me thinking of how I could organize differently to best meet the needs of certain children in my family at this time. William and Joseph are high energy, low attention span boys, but still love to dabble in learning activities that I come up with. However, whenever I have tried to create “a plan” in the past, because our lifestyle necessitates flexibility with the size and uniqueness of those living within it, “plans” don’t last long. So, I needed something flexible enough for my schedule, but that goes WITH their exploratory stage, yet accounts for their short attention spans, and still opens the world more up to them.
Combining the inspiration I received from Theresa at Lapaz Farm Home Learning in her post called “Kinderplanning” and Faith at Dumb Ox Academy in her post called “Natural Structure” I’ve come up with something that I think might just be a good fit this year for these two children. I found a nine cubbie wall unit (in the closet organizer section of Lowe’s), bought two, and put one in the living room (William and Joseph’s) and one in the kitchen (Alex and Adam):
Although both of these posts I have gained inspiration from are Montessori based thinking, I wanted to apply it to the “categories” that William and Joseph would most be interested in. What I came up with was: church, letters, numbers, arts/crafts, science, fine motor, writing, books, sensory play. A ton of ideas entered my head after scanning over Faith’s great ideas in her post with items I already had around my house.
But, then I ended up over at my unit study collection. There’s a particular publisher I like and I have quite a few in various levels that have served various purposes over the years. I had a few in the early childhood level and started looking them over. The thing with some of these units is that the books can often be out of print. But, I looked over their activity ideas, and in each book area, I could find new ideas that would fit in each of the categories. Or, something was mentioned that got my own creative juices flowing with my own idea. I’m not that interested in following the “themes” outlined in these books, but I’m more interested in using these books to give me new ideas and ways to present various learning opportunities.
The way I figure it right now is that the nine cubbies can last me for a week before I rotate out resources. I also see the children going to the cubbies as they are interested, as well as my inviting them over once or twice a day for an hour or so or however it lasts.
My intent for Adam is slightly different, and yet the same. He has reached the stage where he is ready for more independence and autonomy and responsibility toward balancing his free exploration, interests, self care, and more formal learning. The cubbie system will be part of his independence in formal learning and exploration. I haven’t completely formulated his side yet, nor Alex’s, because I want to take one new thing at a time (a new habit?) in order to see if it can become a part of our lives right now. I intend to have Adam’s portion ready in about 2-3 weeks, and I’ll post about it then.
I’ll keep you up to date as to how William and Joseph like the new organization, new accessibility, and new interaction over the next few weeks! Thanks again for the inspiration, blog friends 🙂