Sunday, 16 December 2012

Arts/Crafts Ideas Book - The search to support independence in learning.

Arts/Crafts Ideas Book
The search to support independence in Learning

I struggle in different intensities when it comes to the bigger picture of "education" and kids.  Marika is still nowhere near the age where a definite decision has to be registered with the government but I've fondled (hehe) with ideas in homeschooling/ natural learning/unschooling Vs highly planned and structured home activities/ participation in exercise, baking classes and future public/private/ Steiner/ Montessori schooling.

There is a world of what one calls de-schooling happening, where I'm rewinding my own experiences and trying to really understand the world in which we learn- It happens with us all, kids especially, without the aide (or force/coercion) of another.  The thing is, kids WANT to learn and they just need help to ACCESS

I love scanning other blogs of process-oriented play and sensorial exploration... And as a result have inundated Marika in many activities (I will slowly blog activities we have done and will do)..
But I wanted there to be more ownership and choice for Marika

Marika can not yet read and manipulate her iPad/a computer and surf the 'net to investigate her moment of interest to any extensive degree.. We have waaaay too many toys for her to role play with, dress up outfits, books to read.. But I love to browse the 'net for projects as inspiration and for springboards of momentum..
and I wanted something that Marika could use in the same fashion.

Additionally, I felt our continuous activities had no or little direction or organisation, so the stress was on my shoulders..

That's where the first Arts/Crafts Ideas Book was (had to be) born.

This book is separated into sections:

- Finger/ hand/ foot print arts/crafts (I love anything that helps contribute to developing a sense of self, inclusion, interdependent mediums, manipulating lateral thought processing)
- Christmas Themed: I feel it important to encourage magic, fantasy and imagination.. I choose not to force the reality of Santa onto Marika (although she thinks he is just a fancy snowman lol) but I love that if we believe in something, anything, it is real in that moment..
- Face painting
- Paper, Cardboard, Clay
- Felt, Wool
- Crayon
- Sand
- Paint
- More Natural Materials
- Plates
- Egg Cartons
- Ball Circuits/Play
- Toilet Rolls
- Pegs
- Spoons
- Buttons
- Animals
- Physical
- Capes/ Dress ups
- Books
- Miscellaneous
- Body Sculpting
- Clothes
- Changing the learning environment

Marika is able to flick and select whatever tickles her fancy, and she is more likely to enjoy the activity and participate for longer- rather than resulting in my yelling and frustration when she loses interest and/or does something different with the materials.

This week Marika found a "handmade" (har har) spider within the first few pages with googly eyes.. She may have chosen it merely on the eyes lol

I had to search google images so I could reference ... First sited here:

I do footprints and handprints with the girls every 3 months so thought it fitting to do her 39 months prints while she had paint all over her hands and feet :)

These were the first prints out of all 13 times where I didn't end up yelling and chuck a tantrum of my own (because of paint getting on clothes, air blowing prints over and sticking to the floor, Marika sliding her hands/feet around or telling me no,.. Or.. Or..)... 

How terrible is that!  It's this type of activity that brings out the aggressive/passive parent in me, while other blog authors/SAHPs seem to find that happy dynamic with their kid and boast "a print to savour this beautiful moment" or the like..

Here I am every 3 months struggling to take literal prints of a stressful moment .. As I look back on each moment I remember the days surrounding each print though - so they do their job.. And now 39 months down the track it seemed to be a breeze of an activity..
(Let's not mention the jealous 1 year old on the other side of the gate increasing in volume, intensity and tear build up.. So!.. It wasn't all stress free and lovely lol).

.. Marika loved the spider print.. Well, so I realised when she came running to the lounge room "Mummy!!! The spider is DRYYYYY!!!" lol

In addition to the prints and double sided taped on googly eyes, Marika wanted to cut around the spider..  I have her the scissors and had to keep biting my tongue to keep me from shouting "you're starting to cut off a spider 's leg!!"... She noticed the look of anxiety on my face and said "cut very very slowly.. I be careful".. Urgh!

I have done mountains of activities with her and seemed to have done a fine job at stirring her inner voice of caution.  I backed away and said out loud "I love watching you cut by yourself sweetheart."  Yep, said that for me - reassuring myself but also to tone it down.. It's Marika's spider, not mine lol

Marika, smiled... Dropped her shoulders and opened and closed her mouth in sync with the scissors opening and closing lol 

We swapped her scissors with a smaller pair because her hand was struggling with opening the bigger pair.

Spider finished :)

So we had a win with the book and I feel a little less burdened with taking the lead in Marika's learning ;).  I will no doubt be making many more books and most of their content won't ever be looked at twice, let alone done, but that's okay :) I'm slowly relaxing, relinquishing the anxiety and passing on the reigns so Marika can have ownership of her life and choices - the more unschooled, natural learning way :)

How much control does your kids have over their learning? :)

Love always,
- Bri!

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