This is how I know real learning works:
Seeing as how the little girls loved reading Curious George, I told them that today would be a monkey day. There was much excitement. I knew I had Caps for Sale on the shelf and plenty of nature/science books with monkey information. Lilly though this was a GREAT idea and insisted that the big kids be included in the fun.
When we got home (at 9pm!) I gathered up the books and asked Lilly to gather all the monkey stuffed animals she could find (there was an alarming amount of these by the way, partly due to their obsession with Beanie Babies). I put everything in baskets and set them on the table, ready for the next day.
Just before 11 pm, Lilly came up with some blank comic book paper and asked if she could work on "something" for tomorrow. I said fine, but don't be up too late.
Come this morning, I find Lilly has made this:
She looked through the science books and made this poster. It includes a detailed drawing, with labels (hard to see in the picture) and various facts she learned about monkeys and apes.
The photographs are ones Maddy took at the Bronx Zoo on their trip to NYC last summer.
Lilly also made this :
This is the first page of a book(!) she put together for the little girls about monkeys.
I gathered up some pictures to color and some other fact sheets for the big kids to read.
Lilly taught the first part of the lesson, going over her research. Then I supplemented a very tiny bit more. We read Caps for Sale. The little girls practiced writing the letter M. We brainstormed things that begin with the letter M. Sam practiced a cursive M. Maddy and Lilly read about Mozart (who we listened to as well). They will narrate what they read. Carmen dictated her own monkey story to me. Anna will tell me hers after lunch. Everyone colored pictures of monkeys. We even did a Five Little Monkeys finger play, though Maddy seemed a bit embarrassed to do it too enthusiastically. I suppose that's what happens when you're twelve.
Included in her plans was a Money Safari. That consisted of the various monkey toys set up throughout the front room, including a spider monkey on the cord to the blinds (so he could swing of course). Lilly took tickets and pulled her siblings sitting on a pillow and kanging on to a jumprope through the "safari", pointing out the various types of monkeys. Right now the same monkeys are performing a "Jungle Rumble" show. You must have a ticket. (Pictures coming soon.)
St. Anthony will be studied this afternoon. Bread will be baked (real bread!). St. Anthony soup will be made. Icons will be colored.