Working on the roof, July 2010

We’ve been up on the roof for the last week or so, fiddling about with the maintenance jobs that never seem to matter until (sigh) you try to sell your house and in order to do so, you have to bring it up to a standard which you’ve never enjoyed before.

But I love that we have the girls staying at home with us instead of going to school. They get to watch us work (and play), and they’re learning all the time.

Working on the roof, July 2010
Our roof is flat, clip-lock tin, so it's safe to walk on and easy to work with.

We allow the two older girls to climb the ladder to the roof, but Calista knows that she needs to stay on the ground. She’s accepted this quite cheerfully and waves vigorously to us from the ground.

Aisha, 5yo, Lauren, + Brioni, 3yo, July 2010
Aisha spent some time up on the roof, helping us to paint the gutters. (And you can also see Brioni climbing the ladder in one of the pretty dresses from our dress-up box.)

Aisha, 5yo, July 2010
I love working alongside Aisha. We talk about all sorts of interesting topics.

When Aisha and Brioni are up on the roof, they get to see and play with a lot of tools that are normally packed away in the truck. Today, the measuring stick caught Brioni’s eye. She started holding it against objects to see how wide or tall they were.

A measure of learning, July 2010
I simply guided Brioni to use the right end of the measuring stick so she would read the right numbers.

A measure of learning, July 2010
This stick displayed inches and centimetres, so Brioni would read out both sets of numbers to me.

A measure of learning, July 2010
Some of Brioni's numbers were quite creative, but today's activity demonstrated that she has an accurate grasp of 2_ numbers belonging to the twenty- family.

Just hearing the units of measure was a good introduction for Brioni. She also was learning how to carefully judge the sides of something (and which numbers corresponded accordingly).

Because she was enjoying measuring things so much, I pulled out a tape measure when we were back on the ground. The girls have often enjoyed playing with my tape measure in the house or the car. (Seriously, if you’re looking for a creative gift for a child, a retracting tape-measure is certain to be well-received.)

A measure of learning, July 2010
Again, Brioni needed a bit of direction to read the right end of the tape measure. (Her inclination was to hold the tape measure on the ground, pull the tab up to the top of the tyre and declare that the height of the tyre was "1".)

A measure of learning, July 2010
Feeling empowered by her new knowledge, Brioni took off — measuring all sorts of objects and reading out the numbers.

A couple days ago, I discovered Aisha playing with David’s socket set. She, too, was inadvertently learning about measurements and their relevance to everyday life.

A measure of learning, July 2010
Aisha was sorting through the socket sizes, trying to work out which one went where in the plastic moulding of the case.

A measure of learning, July 2010
She was using a trial-and-error method of placement, moving the socket until it sat snugly within the grooves.

After I turned the socket-set around the right way (so the sockets didn’t keep falling out), I pointed out the engravings on each socket and showed Aisha how to use the numbers to find the correct spot.

A measure of learning, July 2010
Reading the socket size.

A measure of learning, July 2010
And then comparing it to the picture leads to an understanding of the values of measurements (e.g. 6mm is smaller than 8mm) while also solving a puzzle.

Playing on the forklift, July 2010
Later on, the girls were pretending that the forklift was a boat, and they were sailing away to a far away country. (What, and you manage to keep clothes on YOUR children?)

More unschooling math ideas are found here.