I love playing with Little T. That’s when I see her up close thinking, learning, and being. Nothing beats watching her face light up when she is struck with a realization or when she accomplishes something. And nothing is sweeter than seeing her beam when she realizes that I noticed.
I was reminded of this last week when we read and based our activities on Plum Tree Cottage: A Doll’s House Story by Elaine Mills. It is not on the booklist of Before Five in a Row but is excellent and deserves the 100 plus times (no kidding!) we’ve spent reading and looking at it. The gorgeous illustrations have provided us hours of fun of just poring over and discussing the details.
STARS Peggy Doll first lived in the forest, under the trees. Lying on our bed, Little T and I imagined sleeping under the stars like her, with stars twinkling above us. We sang Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star, and Oh Watch the Stars, a favorite from Kindermusik, as we flicked our flashlight on and off. A wonderful memory-making activity, if ever there was one!
ART Using tongue depressors, which are bigger than popsicle sticks and therefore better for small hands, we put a house together on half a sheet of poster paper. It was supposed to be simple, but Little T’s improving fine motor skills allowed her to enjoy painting with a brush. She didn’t stop until we had a very nice version of Plum Tree Cottage. This art work is 90% made by Little T. I provided the instructions, some demonstration, and a bit of outline for the rainbow and tree. Almost all brush strokes are hers!
DRAMA Since Little T knows the words by heart, playing the role of Peggy Doll who was looking for a home was easy for her. With a picture of a tree, blocks, two doll houses, a painting of a house, wooden dolls, and finger puppets, we staged and acted out the story.
Peggy Doll lived in the forest because she had no home.
She walked along the road until she saw a house. She asked if she could stay there but was shown and told that the house was full.
She walked further along until she came to a big house with only two people there. She was turned away because her boots were muddy.
Then, Peggy Doll walked again and finally found Plum Tree Cottage which was just right for her. Rabbit, represented by a plain red block as suggested by Little T, knocked on the door, was welcomed, and lived happily ever after with Peggy Doll.
GENEROSITY I introduced two new words to Little T: generous and selfish. The lady at the second house was selfish and mean because she turned away Peggy Doll even when she had room at her house and it was raining. She was not generous. Asked about what she thought of Peggy Doll when Rabbit knocked and asked if he could stay with her, Little T said Peggy Doll was generous and knew how to share. Then, she suddenly remembered her book Sharing: How Kindness Grows, and said that she would teach the lady at the second house how to share and be generous! I was very pleased with how she connected ideas and even got the book to read to the “second lady.”
Seeing Little T’s progress and light bulb moments makes me more determined to continue our homeschooling journey. As I told my mother, it’s not that I don’t trust other people to teach my children. I just want the thrill and excitement of being in the front row seat of their development!