following her

It had been a while (a while) since I'd switched out any of the works in her little 'classroom' corner in the office.  I don't have a schedule for doing 'school' work with her, and I don't aim to do certain things on any kind of a regular basis.  You know, because she just turned three, and because academics just isn't what I think little ones need to focus on most.  It's the play and the exploration and the connection and the down-and-dirty fun that are really crucial during this time, right?  But.  She loves it.  She asks so many questions and seems to crave the process of sitting down and more formally(ish) receiving information (of all kinds) and comes away from it deeply satisfied.  So it's here for her.  And we're here to do the works with her, when she wishes.  Which is often.  Or rather was often, until I kind of let the works get all old and boring by way of not freshening things up for her.  So, out with the old and in with the new.  She was so over button sorting and bead stringing, lid/bottle matching, napkin folding, etc.

Now there are some sequencing cards, new puzzles, a color wheel (and color mixing), table washing, new dominos (with shapes and patterns), some simple body part identification and preposition recognition (little pictures where she points out in which ones the subject is over, under, up, down, inside, outside, etc), a continent puzzle map, some newly made sound cylinders and smelling cylinders, and wood polishing (with this recipe).  And soon, hopefully, (if I get making) some pin-poking,  color tablets and number rods.  Her favorites are the sandpaper letters with sound object boxes, the cylinders, and art.  Always, always art.

I found these clear tubes and filled them with rice, mung beans, and chickpeas (for sound cylinders), and vanilla beans, cinnamon sticks, and cotton soaked with wintergreen oil (for smell cylinders), then covered the outsides of the tubes with tape to hide the contents.  She chooses a sound cylinder and shakes it, then goes through the others, one at a time, until she finds the match.  She loves it.  For the smell cylinders, I blindfold her and sit with her, opening different tubes and asking her to let me know when she smells two that are the same.  Those are a little trickier, but she digs them as well.

I love the way this 'school' naturally evolves as she grows and her interests and needs shift.  I remind myself to not push her into one thing or another, to always have it be her choice, to focus on the process, to keep it fun, and of course, to follow her.


  1. VERY sweet!! I love how you made the sound cylinders. You could even change up the sounds that the cylinders make by changing the contents inside, I suppose?

    Bea is my wild child and can most often be found running around the yard dressed inappropriately or perhaps not at all. But oftentimes, in the evening she'll get to work on "school work" and even ask for lessons. It's sweet. Tonight, one of the last things she said before she nodded off was "Mama, can I have some lessons tomorrow?"

    1. thanks, Nichole~ you are a huge inspiration in my homeschooling(ish) efforts, I hope you know! I hadn't thought about changing out the contents to change the sound- great idea! that will come in handy when she (soon, probably) tires of them as is and is ready for something new. Since I set up this little space for her I've found myself looking at some of the more traditional practical life and sensorial works and have had a hard time picturing Claire really taking to them- or, more likely, think that she'll get bored with them easily. Things like pouring and transferring and what not. Or maybe ti's that those things were already incorporated in other play of ours before I decided to make a more 'formal' learning space. Anyway, it's so interesting to observe her and try to gauge her interests and passions and fine tune things to match those needs.

      Ha! In her little red and black tutu/leotard, right?
      very sweet~ they'd be good playmates, I think. As would their mamas ;)

  2. Love all of these. And her hair do too.What are the things she is playing with in the last photo - did you make those? Her area is very inviting - what are the pics you have taped on the wall (nosy)?

    1. Thanks, Rach! They are from an old (25 years maybe) little wooden shapes set - you first match the shapes to the image of shapes on the card, then use those shapes to make the other image (the smaller grey one). the three cards in that picture are the first three in the set (of maybe 30?) she has moved on to the next three, and they get trickier as you go. Thank you- I've tried to make it as inviting as possible, and I regularly change things around, at least a little. The pictures on the wall were of some flowers (those have since been replaced with pictures of fresh and saltwater fish, butterflies, and animals with their young), and also a couple pages torn out from an old Putamayo calendar. (you aren't being nosy- that's what blogs are about, right? peeking into other people's worlds?)



thanks for taking the time to read and comment~