December 2016

Things I Strewed this MonthSprinkling cinnamon on sliced oranges to make decorations for the Christmas tree.

  • Holiday activities! Including making our own tree decorations (drying sliced apples & oranges), decorating a Christmas tree, holiday inspired crafts, turning her fairy garden into a holiday winter wonderland, holiday party, and decorating gingerbread houses with friends.
  • Celebrated St. Nicholas day for the first time. Miss Cece received a couple little dinosaur science experiments, though I think St. Nicholas may bring more traditional goodies next year. 😉
  • Took a trip to the Museum of Discovery and checked out their pterosaur exhibit.
  • As a last minute idea I asked Miss Cece if she wanted to mix snow with food coloring, which turned into experimenting with mixing colors.
  • Play dates with friends!

Adventures this Month with a Three-Year-Old

  • The businesses in downtown Fort Collins get together and hide Santas for children to find in a couple dozen stores. Miss Cece loves search and find books along with a similar event of finding Waldos in stores during the month of July, so we decided to check it out. Miss Cece loved the finding Santa part, but not the cold walking between stores part, so didn’t last quite as long as I expected. (Cognitive Development for problem solving)
  • In an experiment kit, Miss Cece got a little toy dinosaur after watching it appear when the volcano it was encased in dissolved with water. After watching this experiment, she took the lid of the experiment and used it as a boat. On her “boat” she tested whether various items would float or sink, including her toy dinosaur.  (Science)
  • We have a sticker book with animal stickers that can be put onto various biome scenes. This led to a discussion on where Kangaroos and Koalas live and checking out our world map to see how far away they live from us. (Science, Geography, Physical Development for stickers working on fine motor skills)
  • This is not specific to December, but we have family movie night every Friday. It not only gives us dedicated family time each week, but also give Miss Cece a weekly tradition to look forward to. Exposure to movies is not a necessity for children’s development, but it can expose children to many different social study topics. We primarily have movie night for maintaining our connection as a family and fun! (Social Studies, Social/Emotional Development)
  • LOTS of dramatic play! Favorite dramatic play activities at the moment include pretending to be a firefighter, pretending to fly her rocket ship to outer space and visiting various planets, pretending to be Santa and delivering presents when her friends are sleeping, and purchasing ice cream from an ice cream shop! (Social/Emotional Development, Physical Development, Science, etc. depending on her specific activities)
  • Miss Cece has been watching a bit of Magic School Bus recently, thus she’s explored several science topics including the digestive system, inside a beehive, exploring the rain forest, among quite a few others I don’t recall! These often lead to various discussions long after the show is over, some times she’ll recall things a couple weeks later! (Science, Social Studies)
  • With Miss Cece’s interest in search and find books, we’ve introduced her to a couple “I Spy” books. These books expose her to all sorts of topics by finding letters, words, objects, and animals (i.e. finding a quail led to a discussion on various bird species).(Science, Social Studies, Literacy)
  • Met some friends at the Museum of Discovery in Fort Collins, CO and checked out their pterosaur exhibit. This included watching a show in their digital dome theater, checking out fossils, observing life-size models, playing with some interactive apps, and getting to fly her own pterosaur in a virtual flight lab. (Science, Social/Emotional Development)
  • Miss Cece has enjoyed exploring a deck of cards with her Daddy, including the game “war.” (Math for exploring numbers)DSC_7433
  • So many Christmas-themed activities including: giving our fairy garden a Christmas make-over, decorating gingerbread houses, making our own dried fruit decorations for our Christmas tree (we talked a little bit about history here), participating in a St. Nicholas celebration, writing a letter to Santa, crafts, and we were lucky enough to have a few different family celebrations. (Fun!, History, Arts, Physical Development for fine motor development while crafting, Social Studies, Literacy)

Planning Adventures to Come

  • Something new that has evolved over the last couple months is that Miss Cece has very little interest in taking outside classes. She still likes her farm camp, however that will not be available until next spring. So at the moment I have not signed her up for any classes. We’ve not been in this situation before, so it will be interesting to see how our days unfold without any pre-planned activities.
  • I believe part of the reason Miss Cece no longer wants to attended classes is she just wants to play, play, play! Specifically dramatic play! Thus we’ll likely be doing a lot of this on our own, but she also LOVES to play with other children, especially in small groups. So I’ll try to plan lots of play dates with friends!

November 2016

Things I Strewed this Month

  • Took a trip to Colorado Springs, CO where we explored Seven Falls, Garden of the Gods, Santa’s Workshop, and Cave of the Winds
  • Made some play dough with friends
  • Continued taking a farm camp at a local farm
  • Roly Poly gymnastics – Miss Cece has really enjoyed this class in the past, but I think it might be time to take a break from it for a bit.
  • Now looking back I didn’t strew so much this month. We had a busy summer and early fall, so it was nice to enjoy a slower pace for awhile, especially before the holidays. We completely forgot to do our calendar activities, but Miss Cece loves the crafts from the preschool curriculum, so did a few of those.

Adventures this Month with a Three-Year-Olddsc_7304

  • We explored the Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs, CO. It was a little chilly, so Miss Cece did a lot of observing from her warm stroller, but she did get out a bit to do some climbing and explore the rocks. Miss Cece enjoyed a small “cave” in one of the rocks and discovered an echo inside. She made several comments about how big the rocks were, I think they are the largest she has seen yet! (Social Studies, Science, Physical Development)
  • Also in Co Springs, we checked out Seven Falls, a set of seven individual falls that combine to make one big waterfall. At the bottom of the falls Miss Cece got the check out some very large rainbow trout and even fed them a bit! There is a set of 224 stairs to the top of the waterfall. We climbed half-way and Miss Cece was determined to climb the rest of the way. We were a little surprised that she climbed so far, given that she typically wants to be carried everywhere! (Appreciation of Nature, Science, Physical Development for climbing all those stairs!)
  • We took a little drive from Co Springs to Cascade, Co to check out Santa’s Workshop. We met some friends, and while it was kind of chilly (we’re lucky it stopped raining shortly after we arrived!) Miss Cece had fun exploring the park. She braved a few rides and enjoyed some s’mores! She also rediscovered (or realized for the first time?) who Santa was. 🙂 (Fun!, Social/Emotional Development, Social Studies)
  • Our last adventure in the Co Springs area was taking a cave tour at Cave of the Winds. Miss Cece had zero experience with caves before this tour (aside from a brief mention in a book), so it was fun watching her take in this new experience. (Science)
  • Miss Cece has watched her fair share of Dora the Explorer (the main character speaks both Spanish and English) and will sometimes ask if she, Miss Cece herself, talks in English or Spanish. We explain that we speak English, but people all over the world speak different languages. Often, we look at our world map and point out various countries and the languages they speak. We may also count in Spanish and/or English and discuss which words belong to each language. One time Miss Cece asked if “gesundheit” was in English or Spanish, so we talked about the German language! (Social Studies, Literacy)
  • We were driving down the road and Miss Cece says “Look! There’s the letter ‘M’!” Then she made the “M” sound. I say, “You’re right!” Then miss Cece says “‘M’ is for marker!” Apparently she had asked her dad how to spell marker earlier that morning. (Literacy)
  • Miss Cece enjoyed doing many puzzles this month. One time she asked “how many inches” the puzzle was, so we got out a ruler and measured several puzzles. This led to Miss Cece asking to get the scale out so she could see how much she weighed. (Math!)
  • Discussed the letters D, E, and F. This also included the sign language for each of those letters. (Literacy, Physical Development for developing the coordination to make hand signs)
  • Miss Cece continued her farm camp this month, though this was the last month camps are offered until next spring. She seems to still enjoy this and has developed the confidence to participate in some of the activities more independently (me standing to the side and Miss Cece completing the activities with the teacher, whereas before she would want me right there with her during all activities). Miss Cece has also conquered her fear of riding the pony! The first camp this month she decided she wanted to sit on the pony without moving. The following camp she decided to give walking a try and quite enjoyed the ride! She also mastered milking a goat on her own this month! (Social Studies, Physical Development for the ability to coordinate milking a goat, Social/Emotional Development for building confidence and playing with other children).
  • I began occasionally watching a 10 month old and a 4 year old this month. Miss Cece has quite enjoyed the extra playmate, but has also enjoyed being the “big helper” with the little one too. (Social/Emotional Development, including building compassion for children of other ages)
  • A couple months ago I purchased a children’s book about human anatomy after Miss Cece began asking some questions. Once I received the book though she had little interest, so I put it aside. Miss Cece rediscovered the book this month with great interest and began asking additional questions. Thus we checked out some more anatomy books from the library. A couple of these books were explored several times dsc_7358a day for the better part of the month. (Science)
  • Miss Cece has discovered the game Connect Four and while she doesn’t quite understand how to play yet, she loves to make patterns! (Math)

Planning Adventures to Come

  • Holiday fun! So far we have a couple potential holiday parties, gingerbread house making with friends, craft activities, and tree decorating in the works. I’m sure more fun will pop up along the way!
  • Strewing in the Funshine Express activities & calendar as there is interest.
  • Taking a trip to Oklahoma! Airports great for exploring social studies!
  • Honestly, most of the stuff I plan to strew are holiday activities just because they’re fun!

October 2016

Things I Strewed this Month

  • Roly Poly gymnastics
  • Pottery class
  • Nature activities with friends
  • Activities with our homeschooling coop
  • Music class
  • Purchased a children’s human anatomy book – As Miss Cece began asking quite a few questions, I purchased a book that explained various systems of the body. She looked at it a little bit, but wasn’t overly enthusiastic with the book. It’s a good book though, so we’ll save it for later.
  • Halloween themed activities – carving pumpkins, visiting pumpkin patch, trick or treating, and dressing up!

Adventures this Month with a Three-Year-Old

  • Talked about the letters A, B, and C including both upper and lower case forms. (Literacy)
  • Took a little walk and explored around our local creek. Not only did Miss Cece explore natural items around the creek and identify water bugs, but experimented with why some items would flow under the bridge and others did not. (Appreciation for Nature, Science)
  • Took a class at a local farm where Miss Cece enjoyed petting some domestic ducks, feeding chickens and collecting their eggs, milking a goat, making ice cream from the goats’ milk, and brushing a horse. (Social/Emotional Development, Social Studies, Science)
  • If you’ve watched Clifford, you’ll know that Emily Elizabeth reads Clifford a “Speckle story.” When Miss Cece brings you a book and requests a “Speckle story” she means she wants you to make up a story to the book and not actually read the words. We’ll often take turns reading “Speckle stories” to each other. (Literacy, Creativity)
  • Checking out a Halloween card that Miss Cece received, she said “What’s that number?” pointing to an exclamation mark. We discussed that an exclamation mark changes how words are said out loud. (Literacy)
  • Miss Cece got some new pajamas that had buttons. She was quite excited to button her own shirt and was able to do it all on her own! (Physical Development for fine motor skills, Social/Emotional Development for building confidence)
  • Checked out a local train exhibit where Miss Cece got to observe various model trains. She even got to drive some trains and go for a little kid train ride. (Social Studies)
  • Explored a pumpkin patch with friends and went for a hay ride. We also explored a sunflower maze along with various pumpkins, squash and gourds. (Social/Emotional Development, Social Studies, Science)
  • One evening Miss Cece used various craft materials to make little boats just like Curious George. (Arts)
  • It’s hard to describe all the dramatic 20161027_122810play that happens throughout our days, but a day never goes by without Miss Cece using her imagination through free play in some manner. (Social/Emotional Development)
  • Miss Cece has been asking for weeks to ride the city bus, so we did! She got to experience the process of purchasing a ticket, waiting for the bus, riding the bus to a set location (lunch!), and then riding the bus back. Also, she got to see how the bus stations worked and watch people get on and off at various stops. (Social Studies)
  • Enjoyed several Halloween themed activities, often with friends. Thus Miss Cece carved pumpkins, trick or treated, created several Halloween themed crafts, and enjoyed observing all the fun costumes around town! (Social Studies, Social/Emotional Development, Arts, Science – especially when observing the insides of the pumpkins)

Planning Adventures to Come

  • Continue introducing aspects of the preschool curriculum as Miss Cece seems interested (letters, numbers, calendar activities, crafts)
  • Attending more farm camps
  • Take a trip down to Colorado Springs, CO and check out a cave, Garden of the Gods, Seven Falls, and Santa’s Workshop!
  • Not too much planned right now, we’ve had a busy summer/early fall so may just focus on relaxing and hanging out with friends! Never know what will come up though!

September 2016

Things I Strewed this Month

  • Boulder Creek Hometown Festival
  • Roly Poly Gymnastics – Miss Cece seems to enjoy this class overall, but if we take it too many weeks in a row I think she gets tired of it. So planning take a month or so off in between sessions.
  • Pottery Class – This class was really fun and pretty well received by Miss Cece. I think she’d be interested in taking this class again in another 6 months or so.
  • Nature activities with friends
  • Activities with our homeschooling coop
  • Calendar activities which introduced counting, patterns and exposure to the month and days.
  • Checked out some books at the library about fall/autumn and outer space – We read these, however Miss Cece didn’t seem very enthusiastic about either topic, at least book-wise. She’d rather check out autumn happenings by exploring nature in person, so did that quite a bit. I’ve taken the outer space books out for now and will reintroduce later as she seems more interested in other topics at the moment.

Adventures this Month with a Three-Year-Old

  • Miss Cece dug out old egg dyeing containers in the cabinet. She took the red and yellow translucent containers and put them together and stated “It makes orange!” Cece continued mixing various colored containers together to see what colors she could make. (Science)
  • We visited The Farm at Lee Martinez park, where Miss Cece noticed there was an echo in the silo, visited with various farm animals, and observed a farmer caring for the animals. (Science, Social Studies)
  • Took a pottery class through our city’s recreation department. The class was once a week for five weeks where we explored various pottery techniques and explored the pottery making process. (Arts, Fine Motor Development for the learning various pottery techniques like rolling and pinching)
  • Restarted gymnastics class from the spring. Miss Cece has made great improvements in her jumping abilities. (Physical Development)
  • We attended the Boulder Creek Hometown Festival where Miss Cece made a zucchini car, explored various exhibits and enjoyed some fun playing in the Boulder creek. (Arts, Social Studies, Appreciation for Nature)20160908_154933
  • While walking to a local playground, Miss Cece noticed some terraces on the side of the park. She request to play on them, so we walked over. After Cece asked what they were for, we began a discussion about erosion and that the terraces were there to prevent erosion. (Science, Physical Development for the running and playing on the terraces)
  • One of Miss Cece’s favorite books is “Just Imagine” by Nick Sharratt and Pippa Goodhart. In this book there is a picture of a ladybug on a flower and Miss Cece loves to pretend to be the flower. Thus she will request I be the ladybug and pollinate her (gentle tickles), in which she will become a seed. Then she’ll ask that I water the seed (rubbing her back while pretending to pour water on her) and she’ll grow into a flower. Then she’ll usually say that she is a flower in my garden (contrary to a wild flower which is not supposed to be picked) and I’ll pick her by throwing her in the air. She does this every time we read the book. (Literacy, Science, Appreciation for Nature)
  • Met a couple times with friends to explore nature. Identified items from nature such as various leaves, pine cones, and crab apples. One gathering we made prints in salt using the natural materials (we also used sticks to write our names in the salt) and another time we used the natural materials to decorate wreaths. (Social/Emotional Development, Appreciation for Nature, Science, Literacy)
  • Each day, usually multiple times a day, Miss Cece gets involved in some sort of dramatic play. It’s hard to fully describe this play, but it is so important in child development and I feel it needs to be mentioned. Her dramatic play could include made up games, cooking meals, or acting out roles in our community. (Creativity, Social/Emotional Development for self-confidence in her own abilities to create and carry out her ideas. Often also Physical Development, Science, Literacy – pretty much every learning subject can be found in dramatic play)
  • Miss Cece helped me work on the vegetable gardens where we discussed the difference between good vegetable plants and weeds, why we pull weeds out of the garden, and tasted some goodies from the garden. (Science, Physical Development for learning healthy lifestyle habits)
  • Miss Cece rediscovered her Tag Junior and enjoyed “reading” some of her books. (Literacy)
  • While in Japan last year we got a book with the English alphabet aimed at teaching Japanese children English. This month, with Miss Cece’s initiation and my help, we used the letters in the book to spell some words. (Literacy)
  • We baked some “healthy cookies” and the discussion about eating foods that help our bodies grow well came up. We discussed that some foods help our bodies grow better than others, but it was okay to eat food that doesn’t help our bodies grow sometimes. (Physical Development)
  • Stopped and watched digger trucks fill up dump trucks with dirt. (Social Studies)
  • Toured a fire station along with observing two fire trucks and an ambulance with our homeschooling coop. (Social Studies, Social/Emotional Development)
  • Began taking a weekly music class with friends again. (Arts, Social/Emotional Development)
  • Miss Cece attended her first class on her own! It was a local farm class that was only an hour long and I think it was a good first step in her gaining a little independence. (Social Emotional Development, Social Studies)
  • Played Pokemon Go on my phone while driving around town. I think watching us drive around on the app has given her a better understanding of how maps work. Miss Cece is also fairly coordinated in catching Pokemon. (Social Studies, Physical Development for hand/eye coordination)
  • Miss Cece saw me working on my laptop and asked to have a turn to type. Thus she identified several numbers and letters, made the “t” sound when identifying the letter “T”, noticed that the letter “u” looked like a horseshoe, practiced writing her name, and “wrote” a book about Elmo. (Literacy, Math, Computer Skills)

Planning Adventures to Come

  • Hopefully we’ll take full advantage of the Halloween season and participate in many themed events!
  • Visit more pumpkin patches!
  • Continue introducing aspects of the preschool curriculum as Miss Cece seems interested (letters, numbers, calendar activities, crafts)
  • Attending more farm camps as Miss Cece seems to really enjoy them
  • Riding on the city bus is still on our “to do” list! We’ll make it eventually!

August 2016

This is my first month attempting to document our activities. I’ll admit I forgot about any sort of documentation for about two weeks, but I think it’s a pretty good start! While I’m sure I’ll tweak my documentation process overtime, I plan to divide posts into three sections for the time being.

First, I’ll note the “Why, How & Reception of This Month’s Strewing.” Strewing is a term that I learned through unschooling, by definition it means to “scatter or spread (things) untidily over a surface or area.” In terms of unschooling though it basically means exposing children to various topics to see which ones peak their interest. For example books of any topic can be left laying around for the children to discover or topics of potential interest can be discussed. By unschooling terms, strewing never turns into forcing children to learn something, but rather introducing a topic and seeing where it takes the child’s interest. Thus this section will include topics or activities that I initiated and Miss Cece’s reception toward the topic. I imagine she’ll enjoy some topics and others not so much. Those not enjoyed will be saved to strew at a later date.

The second section will be our “Adventures this Month.” It will be exactly as it sounds, though there is no possible way I will ever be able to record each of our adventures. I’ll try to record enough to give a good representation of each month and I’ll end each adventure with the typical schooling subjects in which they fall. My goal with recording the subjects is to show how our everyday interactions are important learning moments, that play is learning!

Finally the third section will be “Planning Adventures to Come.” Again, just as it sounds. Here I will list things that Miss Cece has expressed an interest in and things that I think she may enjoy or I have not exposed to her in the past.

There! To the main post:

Why, How & Reception of This Month’s Strewing

  • Introduced the show Mighty Machines – This is a show we discovered on Netflix that discusses various trucks and large machines (one type per episode, i.e. one episode may be about garbage trucks and where garbage goes). Miss Cece quite enjoyed this show and requested to watch several episodes.20160808_184042
  • Explored the Larimer County Fair – While Cece was a little hesitant toward some of the rides, overall she loved it! She was very excited about the bus, train, dumbo, and bear rides and enjoyed watching a magic show that was aimed toward children.
  • Attended New West Fest in Fort Collins – Cece was pretty laid back about the festival, mostly she just wanted to ride the train, otherwise she just took in the sights from her stroller. 🙂
  • Participated in a farm camp through Laughing Buck Farm – Miss Cece seems to enjoy being around the animals, but after attending this camp a few times she seems less enthusiastic than she use to. Instead, she keeps requesting to go back the the “old farm” (The Farm at Lee Martinez park).

Adventures this Month

  • Reading! We read (or reread) at least 40 stories this month! (Literacy)
  • Spent time with friends and/or other children 17 days this month! (Social/Emotional Development)
  • Playing at the park! Little Miss has been getting stronger and more coordinated on the playground equipment. She can now climb up large slides and is becoming more willing to slide down said slides on her own. (Physical Development, Social/Emotional Development for building confidence)
  • Enjoyed music fun with our homeschooling co-op where we danced, sang songs, and enjoyed making streamers for dancing. (Arts, Social/Emotional Development, Physical Development)
  • Explored the natural area around Sheldon Lake where we discovered ducks, geese, pelicans and a great blue heron. We also observed trees that had berries and apples. (Science, Appreciation for Nature, Physical Development)
  • Little Miss noticed sequins on my shirts and said “there’s a pattern on your shirt! A big and small one!” After observing my shirt I said “Yes, there is a pattern with big and small sequins” and we went through the pattern (big, small, big, small, etc.) a few times. (Math)
  • While playing out front Little Miss randomly mentioned “P is for pig!” I said “You’re right! Where did you hear that?” and she said “From Super Y.” We discussed that the letter “P” also began “peach” and “pear” and discussed the sound the letter “P” makes. (Literacy)
  • Miss Cece has been quite interested in the Mighty Machines show on Netflix. Thus she’s been exploring the process of making and pouring cement, airports, and the process garbage takes from a house to the landfill among other topics. (Social Studies)
  • Miss Cece self-initiated experiments with her balloon. She’d ask for help tying the balloon to various toys and objects and then test to see if they would float. We made hypotheses about which objects would float, in which she thought they all would float. She also discovered that holding the object helped the balloon float. (Science)
  • Enjoyed a nature walk with our homeschooling co-op. Saw some berry bushes and discussed that some berries and plants are not safe for humans to eat. (Appreciation for Nature, Science)20160808_191409
  • Attended the Larimer County Fair where Miss Cece made great strides in her confidence. It began with her really wanting to ride the bus ride, but I was too tall and not allowed on the ride. She very emotionally told me that she would ride by herself. I could tell she was hesitant, but she did it and was so proud of herself for being brave once she got off. This led to her riding several rides by herself and bringing her Daddy back the next day to show how brave she could be! Miss Cece even tried a very tall (maybe 30ft) inflatable slide all by herself! I can’t tell you how surprised, but proud I was!
  • Acting out the life cycle of a ladybug (egg to larva to pupa to ladybug!). Note that Cece randomly did this on her own! (Appreciation for Nature, Science)
  • Sang the ABCs with a friend while playing in a musical area at a local playground. (Literacy, Arts)
  • Took a trip to the Museum of Discovery in Fort Collins, CO. (Science, Arts)
  • Located where family members live on our North America and world maps. (Social Studies)
  • Miss Cece decided she needed to write a book. We discussed what an “author” was and folded up some papers to make our own book. She then drew pictures (of a ball) and told me what happened in her story. I wrote down her story as best as I could even though she kept changing the storyline! (Literacy)
  • While driving around town, Cece has become very interested in why we drive the way we drive. Thus, she’ll ask “why did we slow down?” or “How did you stop?” She’s also aware that we’re supposed to stop when the light turns red, clear the intersection when the light is yellow, or go when the light is green. If we make a right-hand turn when the light is red, she will ask about it because she knows we’re supposed to stop when the light is red! (Social Studies)
  • Interacting with a younger child (age 1) that I have begun watching occasionally (Note that Miss Cece is 3 yrs!). Here she has begun learning how to care for younger children, being a gentle leader, and compassion for those with less understanding and knowledge.  (Social/Emotional Development)
  • Miss Cece has begun “reading” books out loud to herself. She has done this a bit before, but now she is getting more detailed and accurate with the storylines. Note that she isn’t reading yet, she has just memorized her favorite books and uses the pictures as guides. (Literacy)

Planning Adventures to Come

  • Establishing more rhythms in our home, such as daily and weekly rhythms inspired by Waldorf education methods.
  • Explore outer space and the solar system a little bit as Miss Cece has seemed interested in the topic in the past.
  • After seeing the city bus around town, Miss Cece has asked to ride it several times! So my goal is to plan a little adventure. 🙂
  • Dig out the preschool curriculum from when I taught preschool a few years ago and pull out activities that would interest Cece.
  • We’ve signed up for a few classes through our city recreator, so those should be fun to explore!