Preschool Years at Home

Laughing, Loving, and Learning Together

Safari Day

on September 28, 2012

We woke to steady rain and chilly wind this morning, which gave me high hopes of a “productive” school day. After all, I reasoned, the girls couldn’t play outside, so we’d have plenty of time for constructive play (and learning!) inside. I pulled a craft kit, a new puzzle, and some seasonal math manipulatives out of the closet, then stepped into the bathroom to sort laundry. I came back out three minutes later to find Little Bear curled up with a copy of African Critters, a 96-page photographic safari and collection of true stories as told National Geographic photographer Robert B. Haas.

“Mommy, can we read this book?” she asked. “Pleeeeease?”

And so began Safari Day.

We spent most of the morning snuggled under her blanket in the recliner, reading, talking, and watching YouTube video clips. The book she’d first chosen took us about an hour and a half to complete, in part because Baby Bear wanted to be included in the fun. We’d read a couple of animal stories, discuss them, ooh and aah over the photographs, pause to read two or three board books with Baby Bear, then return to African Critters and repeat the process. We took time to watch a video clip of African elephants crossing the Namib Desert and watch a cheetah speed through the grassland. And then came the familiar refrain of “More! More! More!”

With that, my “plan” for the day officially went out the window, and we plunged headfirst into an impromptu study of Africa. We located the continent of Africa on a map and on the globe. I pointed out the major countries in Africa (not that I expect Little Bear to remember these, but I wanted to reinforce the concept that continents are made up of individual countries and that Africa is a continent, not a country). We read the following books.

By lunchtime, it felt like we’d barely scratched the surface of this fun, unexpected jaunt to the other side of the world. But my voice needed a break, and we all needed to eat. … At Little Bear’s request (or rather, plea … she’s been requesting  for days!), I stuck in a Busytown Mysteries DVD and let the girls watch television while I fixed lunch. Afterward, Little Bear built a “camp” out of Duplos, populated it with wild animals and took her Duplo people on a safari of their own. By the time I finished my chores, she was ready to do more work, and Baby Bear was ready for a nap. Continuing our morning’s theme, Little Bear colored a picture of a tiger and completed a sticker page depicting Big Cats. She also continued on in her Kumon cutting, pasting, and tracing books.

Our only formal schoolwork of the day was a review of the first chapter in The Reading Lesson: Teach Your Child to Read in 20 Easy Lessons. Slowly but surely, Little Bear is learning to blend sounds into words. She ended today’s lesson by independently reading three short sentences.

Was today the day I’d planned? No. Not at all. Instead, it “collapsed” into something far better. I love having the freedom to help my child follow her interests and develop a passion for learning. I love learning alongside of her. I love being able to do “school” from the comfort of the recliner, with both my girls in my lap and a cozy blanket atop us all. I love being my children’s teacher as well as their mother.

One Response to “Safari Day”

  1. Norma says:

    A good day’s work!

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