In other news, the girls and I have been goofing around a bit lately with our newest novelty--file folder games. We first saw the link to the free file folder games web site on Chasing Cheerios, but we've since become fans in our own right, downloading and printing out and making far more elaborate (vintage wallpaper and plastic laminate are required for nearly every paper craft that occurs in this house, apparently) quite a few of the games, including an alphabetical order game that uses pumpkins for Sydney and an animal alphabet set for Willow to spell with. There are plenty of math games on the site, as well, which I'm excited about because that's the subject that I feel like I'm the least likely to offer casual daily enrichment for the girls in.
Making and playing with the file folder games has served to get the girls interested in their assortment of paper and laminated paper games and playsets again, everything from simple laminated alphabet letters or animal silhouettes to play with, to a large variety of matching games--
--to the various puzzles or other activities that we've downloaded and then personalized together:
But the best thing that this new interest has led us to is a vastly better organizational system for these paper-based activities. Previously, I'd been storing each activity or set in a Ziploc bag on a shelf in the girls' room, where it soon gets lost and/or forgotten about. However, these file folder games naturally beg for a hanging file box to store them, and it was then an easy task to round up all these other playthings and assign them to file folders in the bin, as well. And THEN I moved each of the girls' random activity pages (nearly all of them from the free Dover samples that I get each week) from clear plastic bins to folders in the file box, so that now they take up less room!
I've read about some homeschooling families, unschoolers usually, who never have their kids do "worksheets." I even read one book by an unschooling mom, I forget which (tell me, anybody, if you recognize it from the story I'm about to tell), in which anytime one of her children asked to go to public school she'd give them some worksheets to sit down and do quietly, and they'd soon realize from this that homeschooling was way better.
I'm sorry, but I think that's messed up. Mind you, we're not homeschoolers, much less unschoolers, but we LOVE worksheets over here. I love crosswords and puzzles and brain teasers, and my kids love worksheets and activity pages and copy pages and sheets of math problems and whatever else they can do. I mean, I don't enjoy sitting and filling out my taxes or medical forms in triplicate or anything, but seriously, who doesn't love a challenging worksheet?
They're good for your brains, my friends. They keep you from getting Alzheimer's.