Tuesday, December 14, 2010

The Power of the Sharpie…and All Things Beaver

A new friend, who was an instant favorite of my oh-so-cautious-of-new-faces son, recently gave us a positively delicious stack of DK publisher books. If you are unfamiliar with DK books you must must must check them out. They are fabulous non-fiction books geared for children of all ages (they’re fabulous for moms and dads too!), full of gorgeous detailed images, tons of information, flaps to lift, etc. They are amazing. They were instantaneous launching points for my little ones. We have spent hours on the very first page of one of the books showing detailed cross-cut illustrations of a beaver lodge. We were completely inspired. It is amazing to be a parent and witness a little mind latch onto and take flight with a concept or subject. There is no telling what they will be interested in. But you are sure to learn a whole lot on the journey with them!

2010-12-12 026This brings me to the power of the sharpie. I didn’t take long for my little girl to realize that the sharpie markers, kept safely out of reach of the littlest fingers, and used for careful and important work (or labeling one thousand moving boxes!), held a power and magic all their own. To her, anything important should be done in sharpie. It’s actually quite incredible how many things are very important to a 5 year old!!! With the power of the sharpie in her hands she created one of our favorite homeschool projects. A cross-subject report. 2010-12-12 035

On a huge piece of paper she drew and colored her own beaver lodge, beavers, and habitat. She dictated to me what each aspect of the drawing was, and in essence gave a (detailed, yikes!) oral report on beavers and their homes. On one side of the paper she dictated, and I wrote, a short imaginary story on beavers. This cross-disciplinary project is just the sort of thing that I love about our homeschool program. It works for us, and we love it. In the works right now….an enormous drawing of, and a similar report on a massive termite mound. Found on page two of the book. Oh we love a good book.

2010-12-12 037 (The project is hanging on the hallway wall outside her room, proving very difficult to get a good shot of…)

And just for fun, here is the story she wrote.

The Beaver Who Found His Mother

Once there was a beaver that had no family. And one day he went off with his food and his friends. And they went off to find his family. He knew that they were not dead but they had gone off somewhere, so he went to find them.

Then they stopped at a big beaver lodge. He saw many beavers working and working. He leapt into the water and everyone leapt to him. He swam to the beaver lodge and he found his mother. And he went out again and began to chew down lots of trees and swam and put them right in the beaver food storage. He was busy for many days. And he lived happily ever after. The end.