Sweet Rewards of Reading…

Simply journeying deep into our imaginations as we get caught up in a story certainly is rewarding in and of itself.  But sometimes it’s fun to add a sweet surprise at the end! 🙂

A few months ago, we read and fell in love with Homer Price!  His quirky antics captivated the boys and I found that the structure of the book is very conducive to a young child just venturing into the world of chapter books since each chapter could almost stand-alone.  Trey, 3.5 at the time of reading this book, was totally taken with the story.

Obviously, as you can tell from the cover, one of the chapters deals with a doughnut machine that his uncle orders.  Inspired by my {usually extremely healthy} sister, Rich and I surprised the boys with their first trip to Krispie Kreme early on a Saturday morning.

They stood transfixed as hundreds of doughnuts took shape before our eyes.  And they were thrilled when we told them that they could each pick out their very own doughnut.

Other fun ways to enjoy some good books:
Winnie-the-Pooh ~ go find a little creek somewhere and play ‘pooh sticks’
Paddington Bear (unabridged) ~ enjoy some orange marmalade on french bread while you read this out loud!
Wonderful Wizard of Oz ~ find some straw and try making your own scarecrow.
Mr. Popper’s Penguins ~ Toboggan down the slide, face first.  (make sure the slide isn’t too steep!), practice waddling like penguins by walking with your knees ‘stuck’ together!
Charlotte’s Web – go on a spider web hunt.  Spray the web with water and watch it glisten in the sunlight!

I would LOVE to hear about some of your favorite read-aloud books!!!!

FYI: The Child-Training Bible giveaway ends on Friday.  Be sure to enter for your chance to win!

Simple Trips

Field trips are a wonderful thing and I’ve found that simple ones oftentimes work out best at this age because I can cater it to their interests and attention spans.  At this age they are soaking up their environment and making connections with the world immediately around them.  So there is something special about live experiences that you don’t get from a book or video.

Yesterday’s fieldtrip was a trip to our local Mexican ‘mercado’ to get ingredients for tostada’s and fresh salsa.  If I had planned better, I would have tried to get a quick tour of the tortilleria (where they make their fresh tortillas), but I didn’t.

Instead, we just soaked up the colors, smells and ambiance.  There was so much to observe and talk about.

We loved the colorful garlands. I might just have to try making some of those! 🙂

The boys loved checking out the piñata’s. Ever since reading The Piñata Maker, the boys have taken a special interest in them. (I think we might tackle making one of our own this weekend!)

In all of my years of living here in the southwest, I’ve never encountered a Spiny Chayote.  Apparently, it is similar to zucchini but retains it’s crispness when cooked. It was seriously prickly. This is one of the benefits of family learning. I discover new things too!

And of course, we couldn’t leave without stopping at the panaderia (bakery) and picking up a cookie to share!

Delicioso!

Horsing Around

I don’t know how many of you are familiar with the term “living books”, but it refers to the concept of reading interesting well-written books by authors who are passionate about their subject instead of reading summaries of topics in a textbook.  We learn more and enjoy the process when education is centered around living books than an average textbook. 

While reading “living books” is interesting, interacting with people and the things they are passionate about and getting to experience a bit of their passion is incredible!

Today, we had the most amazing fieldtrip ever.  It happened quite by accident.  I called a friend looking for horseshoes.  She didn’t have any but called a friend of hers who does.  Long story short, we were invited to her home to meet her two miniature horses and three full-sized horses.   This woman is passionate about her horse friends and it was contagious.

The kids loved getting to know Cody, especially since he was just their size. 
They had the opportunity to help groom him.

… take a look at his hooves and learn why it’s important for her to remove rocks from the frog.

 And then help saddle her up for a ride.  Even Treyton had a turn.  His giggles of delight as horse and boy set off still make me smile.  (Sniff, sniff.  He’s definitely not a baby anymore.)

The kids also had a lesson in horse anatomy as she showed us Hookie’s tendon injury and let the kids compare the feel of the injured leg vs. healthy leg.

We ended our time with the horses by giving Cody some special treats!  Squeals of surprise and anticipation were prevalent as the kids learned how to palm a carrot.  Cody didn’t seem to mind the extra attention or special treats! 🙂

One of the cool aspects of an experience like this is getting to watch how each kid takes to it.  For all of his bravado and excitement leading up to our outing, Xander wasn’t overly interested.

Keegan on the other hand, my adorable cowboy Keegan, was just mesmerized with the horses.  At one point pony and boy were nuzzling each other.  While the other kids had gone off to explore the fire pit,  Keegan stayed with the horses.

We learned so much today in a way that is just not possible from a book or computer/television screen.  Nothing quite takes the place of ‘experience.’  We’ll be looking for more of it and excited to see what unconventional opportunities are in our future!

Explore, Discover, Collapse.

We rediscovered a state treasure this week!  The Boyce Thompson Arboretum is a fabulous place to stop for a day trip!  The boys and I drove for an hour and landed in an oasis in the middle of the high desert! 
We met a group of lovely ladies there…
…and set off to explore
hidden paths

an old Austrailian shepherds shanty in the “outback”
an old rock house
…and discover!
While admiring some roses, we discovered a baby grasshopper.  The kids had fun admiring the little guy and passing him around before Keegan accidentally (dropped) released him back to the wild! 🙂
Whew.  It was a tiring, but beautiful day.  I can’t think of a better way to jump into our study of Creation than by going out and enjoying it!