Thanks to grandma, we did a little school shopping at our local Montessori shop last week. Some of the fun things we found there include Wildcraft: An Herbal Adventure Game, a Peg Loom, CitiBlocs, and, a card game called Yoga Pretzels. On the back of each card are step-by-step instructions for getting into the pose and additional insights about the pose's health benefits. There are even breathing cards to help us, "slow down, increase awareness, and make non-reactive choices" and fun games like "Yogini Says!" A. is really enjoying yoga this week and I'm amazed by how many poses this kid knows.
We're also enjoying the new cooperative game, Wildcraft... and I'm realizing just how much A. learned this summer. After tragedy struck in early June, all my plans for doing a summer lesson block on healing herbs came to a crashing halt. What kept going though was our little healing garden and actual use of the herbs found there. Without any formal instruction, worksheets, or boxed-curriculum, A. has learned to identify herbs and edible flowers including elderberry, calendula, violas, sage, nettles, oatstraw, catnip, and peppermint and can explain a little about how each is used for healing.
I've also been reading the California Content Standards for Kindergarten through Third Grade and dreaming up creative ways to cover this material this year. While I won't adhere to the standards completely (that would take all of the fun out of homeschooling!), I do want A. to keep up with her peers in the event that we transition to traditional school at some point.
I'm hoping that we can learn some of these standards the same way that A. learned about healing herbs this summer. By seeking out teaching-moments and cultivating an open and curious attitude, we can encourage natural learning and avoid some of the resistance and stress that squashes creativity and takes the fun out of education.