Monday, December 1, 2008

List Maker

Surely you suspected that I'm a list maker, right? An incorrigible one. And I make lists for other people. Sometimes I'll call Matt up at work, and dictate these really long lists to him of stuff he's supposed to be doing--making a dentist appointment, emailing back the Human Resources lady, finding a cheap flight to Mexico, etc.--and he'll be all, "Uh-huh, uh-huh, okay." It took YEARS before I realized--he's not actually writing it down! He's just pretending!

And that, my friends, is why I have to do everything myself.

Last night in the car, sometime in between bouts of "I'm bored!" and "I have to go bafroom!", the girls and I wrote up these learning maps for them. Basically, you have each kid name four or five things they'd like to learn about, and then together you think of all the things you can do to learn about those subjects. Circles are topics, cloud-shapes are activities, underlines are field trips; interconnections between subjects are highly prized, but challenging, sometimes, to make. Here's Willow's learning map: The fun thing about a map is that it brings up possible activities that I hadn't thought of before--I know, for instance, that Willow likes rocks and fossils and shells, and has innumerable ones, but I hadn't yet thought of helping her make them into an official "collection": organizing, labelling, displaying, etc. A possible trip to the Exotic Feline Rescue Center is a new idea, too.

I think that the topics Sydney suggested for her learning map are pretty cool--Christmas, Baby Beluga, ponies, and cows.
Notice that I tried, for her, to focus mostly on hands-on stuff that wouldn't be totally over her head: taste-testing cheese would be super-fun, for instance, as would be learning to play horseshoes.

And since this coming weekend is the big The Nutcracker production that Willow and I are attending, I sort of zoomed in on The Nutcracker part of her learning map and expanded it to come up with even more things we could focus on this week: Some stuff is ordinary, like the dance class the girls attend every week, but I like how some stuff is for me to do, like possibly sewing their pancake tutus and making them freezer paper stencilled Nutcracker shirts, and some stuff is stuff that we'd need to do anyway, like making ornaments. Ideally, I'd find a way to cover more academic subjects in each learning map--math, science, geography, languages, etc. And of course, these are just ideas, so a lot of this we won't actually find time to do--but if something feels inspirational, there it is.

And here's a list I made for myself this morning, because things are getting a little crazy around here, with my freshman comp classes, an upcoming craft fair and cloth diaper workshop, Christmas prep, as well as the two usual little monkeys:
Can you find the unexpected event that threw all other planned projects into oblivion? Sydney hasn't yet repeated the incident, luckily, but I still have probably another seven hours of laundry before me, and I have just a little touch of a phobia about vomiting (yeah, YOU try being hyper-emetic for two months while pregnant, and tell me if you don't lose your will to live for a little while, too), so I am still FREAKING OUT.
Okay, the blog is about to be a check; on to the Craft Magazine photo shoot!


Anonymous said...

As a visual learner, this is such a great way to brainstorm. I will definitely be using this in the future!

(are you pregnant?!)

Abby said...

i can make one hell of a list, too. love the brainstorming with the kids.

some other things i need to tell you.

1. we need more pins (15 more?)
2. we have 5 people signed up and prepaid for the c/d workshop. i'm going to send out an email to remind people.
3. i'm thinking cranberry muffins for this workshop. sounds good to me. we'll see how it turns out!

julie said...

Nope, not pregnant--just a barfer.

I looove having the kids help me make lists--they're so weird. One game we play when I have time on my hands is to make a list together of "What to do Today", and whatever the kids girls say--make chocolate chip banana cookies, say, or visiting the zoo, or having a party--we have to do it, or figure out a way to approximate it, at least (a surprise party for Dadda when he gets home from work!)