23 March 2009

"No, I don't *work*, I'm just a stay-at-home mom."

I was recently asked what life is really like at our house--i.e., what is it I do with the boys all day--so I thought I'd reply in blog form.

As I wrote in my previous post on our no-TV lifestyle, the boys do not expect to be occupied via external sources so they are quite happy to entertain themselves in their sandbox, a designated plot of dirt in the backyard, or any random corner of the house using their imagination to come up with new games.

Since I fill every staff position in this household (maid, cook, chauffeur, etc.), I can't let them impede my housework or else nothing would get done! Rather than shooing them away when I'm busy, I include them. It's incredibly fun to be together but I also use these opportunities to teach social skills, like taking turns, and academic skills too. For example, we count the number of scoops, talk about how the 1-cup scoop is larger than the 1/2-cup scoop, and so on. And of course, the additional small motor practice is quite helpful to A1 since he's always been better at large motor tasks.

But don't worry, I'm not running a labor camp around here; we play a lot too! And there are amazing opportunities for learning and exploration everywhere and at all times during play. I tend to use Socratic methods of questioning to elicit A1's responses and encourage curiosity--though my questions occasionally end up being quite leading and often embed the answers. We talk to each other constantly, like when we're in the car, "Why do you think that bulldozer has to be on the flatbed truck instead of driving itself on the freeway?" or "Now the speed limit sign reads '55' instead of '35' like before. Does that mean we can go faster or slower?" But like I said, sometimes, I have to lead a bit when A1's answers don't fully satisfy the question, "Is ones of the reasons because...?" or "Could it be that...?"

When I'm feeling really ambitious, or if the boys are especially enamored of a particular topic, we explore it a little deeper than just casual chats. Take, for instance, their recent obsession with rockets. I printed out some coloring pages and let them create a scene online. I let them watch a few minutes here and there of some shuttle liftoffs to generate discussion. We checked out some books from the library on the topic. Oh, and we crafted. We're always crafting around here.


I'm not afraid of going into depth--A1 has, for quite some time now, been able to use the terms aquatic, amphibious, terrestrial, or avian to label animals. And he will tell you that a fire gives off heat because it's an exothermic reaction that releases energy in the form of heat. But it's most definitely not my goal to stuff their heads with facts and figures. In actuality, most of what we do involves what I initially mentioned: playing in the sand and mud! I only teach as much and for as long as it pleases the boys--and they always dictate the subject.


Hyacynth Filippi Worth said...

Yeah, I don't "work" either. haha. But it sure seems like we do!
It's always interesting to see how a family functions and what they really do. Thanks for sharing some of your day.

Ivan Chan Studio said...

Like I said before: luckiest kids on the whole durn planet!


Ivan Chan Studio said...

Oops, forgot to subscribe.

attorneymama said...

Shoot, I didn't know that fire puts off exothermic ... Guess I need to come hang out at your house. :)

My kids play outside 75% of the day. They run, jump, explore and dig. At the end of the day they are happy and tired. It always gives me pleasure when Ben asks to sit down and trace letters or read books or cook, instead of playing outside. It makes it seem like their choice to learn. KWIM?

LH said...

I love seeing running around kids outside--there's just so much fun to be had! When we looked at the current house, we were much more concerned about the yard than the actual structure because of that.