Thursday, September 22, 2016

MGT Invitation to Create

Have you ever been so busy that you become miserable? Not miserable as in depressed, but miserable as in sad and mad that you don't have time to do or enjoy the things that really matter? 

Well, that's where I am this week. Just two weeks ago I was overjoyed with where my life has taken me. Tiny B is finally tube-free truly (without even a hole in her tummy anymore), I am homeschooling (Oh, how I love this! I wish I could describe to you just how much I love this), I made it through a very rough spring and summer and my heart is finally healing from the loss of my beloved poodle of my heart, and my new poodle is like total visual evidence that God does take care of our hurts and gives us beautiful gifts...But this week I realized just how busy busy busy we are and how much that needs to change. Some people thrive on busyness, and I'm realizing just how much I am not one of those people. So I have been really looking at the things that I love in my life and need my time, and that includes homeschooling and Mother Goose Time (I truly mean this from the bottom of my heart...what a gift both are to me), my family, my health and fitness, and bible study. The rest really needs to be looked at and some things will stay and some will go. I envision a life for us that is built upon God, love, and purpose, and for our family, we need to spend time creating each of those things and not rushing through them.

I guess that sort of pertains to what I'm going to talk about in my next two blog posts. The Mother Goose Time community has really been delving into what process-based art is. The art in the curriculum now is about 50 percent process-based art and 50 percent product-based art. In this post, I just want to simply show you a process-based art project. When I see them pop up in the curriculum, my first inclination is to take a deep breath and exhale, and prepare myself for the relaxation and deep-thinking that is about to take place. 

Process-based art is art that focuses on the process of creating, allowing the child to be in charge of what their end product will look like, and the emphasis is put on creating the product rather than the end product. Product-based art is art that focuses on certain skills and the child's goal is to have a nice-looking end product. Both have their place and I'm so thankful that MGT is doing both.

MGT's Invitation to Create is an activity that I can set out for Strong B while Tiny B does her kindergarten lessons. I know that he can enjoy himself for a long time doing this, and the best part is that I don't have to guide him much if I don't want to or can't. It's also an activity that I can simply hand to my mom when she comes over to babysit. She is an artist and loves it, but even if she wasn't, it is still very easy to manage.

This summer she took a Waldorf art class for teaching children art. Everything that she learned is what MGT is doing. In my next post I will get into the philosophy behind process-based art but for now, here is simply how it was done. 

I gave her the Invitation to Create card with the instructions.

She discussed owls with him and showed him pictures of the owl. He drew an owl.

He used the materials however he wanted. She watched.

He glued cotton balls onto his owl's tummy. 

He took some twigs and made them into feet.

I asked my mom if she drew the owl. She said that she didn't and that he did it all himself. I looked at the detail and loved how he drew the feathers and the wide eyes. I also loved how he chose twigs that looked so much like feet.

They both really enjoyed it and he got a chance to truly think about what an owl looks like and what he wanted his owl to look like. There was decision-making and creativity happening. 

We've since done several Invitations to Create and he loves not being told what to do and how to do it. He spends so much longer on these projects than he does on the product-based art. I can see that he feels like a true creator during and after these projects, and he feels an ownership over the end-product. 

I'm off to bed now as tomorrow I will continue to run myself a bit ragged until I get my priorities squared away. I am aiming though to take some time to just exhale and enjoy my day as it happens, and not just focus on how much I accomplish or how well I accomplished it :) 

*I  receive Mother Goose Time curriculum in exchange for my honest sharing of experiences, resulting from our personal use. All opinions/thoughts are my own and are in no way influenced by others.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Family Stamps with Mother Goose Time

We did our first lesson with Strong B using Mother Goose Time (MGT) as his only curriculum. He feels very important because of this, of course. After watching his sister use this curriculum exclusively last year, he is ready to step up to the plate.

"Family Stamps" was an adorable lesson that was a fantastic introduction to the theme of the month, which is Family. He took stamps which are family members, drew a house, used the stamps in the house, and described what he stamped and where he stamped, using positional vocabulary words (under, beside, above, etc). *The poodle stamp is not included in the MGT stamp set. I added that :)

I love the "assess" reminder at the bottom of the lesson. Assessment is a huge part of lesson planning. It really should drive instruction. So, if they don't understand those words, then I can bring it up again tomorrow. 

MGT suggests putting the finished product in their portfolio, which they brought back this year due to popular demand. 

This activity brought about lots of talk about families and how different families can look. Most importantly, we talked about no matter what members a family has, a family is built on love. 

We then went on to trace the letter A from the circle time display and then draw an A on the whiteboard. 

I love this four year-old boy. He is so excited for the year ahead of us. 

*I  receive Mother Goose Time curriculum in exchange for my honest sharing of experiences, resulting from our personal use. All opinions/thoughts are my own and are in no way influenced by others.

Another Year with Dance n' Beats and Mother Goose Time

I am so excited to start another year of Dance n' Beats with Mother Goose Time. I truly missed it this summer! Of course we had the DVD's from this past year, but there is just something special about unwrapping a new DVD and doing dances that correspond to the exact same music that we listen to for our monthly theme CD as well as to our monthly theme that we are studying!

This month we our theme is Family. And here is a picture of our new puppy Jack with the DVD. Because who can resist a puppy pic? Jack says, "I am a standard poodle and I approve of this program."

It comes with thirteen dances, and as I mentioned before, they are the same as the CD that we get in the main MGT curriculum.

There are twenty-one basic moves that are included in the dances. The names of the moves are written on the screen as they are performed. My kiddos don't read yet, so this isn't helpful to them, but it is to me so that I can call it out. I have to be honest though and tell you that I usually don't call out the moves, or even interact with the kids at all while the DVD is on! It is so beneficial for them to simply focus on mimicking the "teacher's" moves. 

The guide really does go in-depth with the lyrics and movement of each song. There is also an accompanying lesson for each song. Sometimes they involve art and sometimes more movement. I didn't do any of these last year, as last year was "The Year That Tiny B Taught Herself How to Eat," and I was overwhelmed, but this year, it is definitely a goal for me. What an amazing way to have the kids have more "buy in" to this dancing program! Strong B, who is four, could definitely benefit from these lessons and making the songs "his own" and taking ownership of the concepts/dances/songs/rhythms that are taught.

Here are the kids dancing to "Grandma's Glasses" from the page I showed above.

It always starts with the same Warm Up Song which is nice because the kids become really familiar with it.

Wait, is that Jack with a rubber chicken?

I love the backgrounds in the different songs. This one is very fall-like. 

I also have to point out that my boy is totally loving this, as he has taken a while to come around to it. We've had other boys over who love it, but Strong B has always only halfway done it or only lasted a few songs. This time he was all in! Maybe turning four helped him in this area.

Tiny B was sooooo inspired by the leader's tutu that she insisted on making a mid-performance costume change. 'Tis the life of a performer. She made me pause the DVD. 

I'm looking forward to watching them do this DVD throughout then month and see how they learn and then master the moves. Then we have next month's DVD to look forward to.

This is our second week of homeschooling and I'm feeling pretty good. Tired, but good.

*I receive Mother Goose Time curriculum in exchange for my honest sharing of experiences, resulting from our personal use. All opinions/thoughts are my own and are in no way influenced by others.