Sharks and Sounds

“What you are is what you have been.
What you’ll be is what you do now.” Buddha


I feel my dream of being a part-time homeschool mom catching a spark. Following the “act as if” principle, I had a day off this week and “tried on” how it would feel if it were a regular homeschool day.

We had our breakfast shake in the bead room as we usually do when I have the time, and eased into the morning. After some time playing “cable wire man,” (where he takes my jewelry wire and connects it from a lamp to a nail hole in the wall) and trains, we got into a fun little animal unit study.

We have been talking a lot lately about reptiles (especially alligators), and this week he has been interested in fish and sharks. Using Modeling Clay Animals by Bernadette Cuxart, we got out our Stockmar Beeswax and fashioned a couple of sharks, complete with counting beads to use for teeth and eyes.

In the midst of our creating the animals and playing with them, we talked about how fish, reptiles and birds lay eggs, while whales and other mammals have babies. The fact-finding broke down when he insisted that Shirley and Shrek (the married sharks) have an octopus baby hatch from their egg … his name is Rex.

Not only did we have a lesson in animal taxonomy, but we had a speech breakthrough to boot. For a four-year-old still having trouble with his “s” sounds (he usually skips over the sound completely), a morning spent with sharks proved to be fruitful. He voluntarily practiced pairing “sh” with “irley” for Shirley the Shark. And he did it! Now he is practicing “Shirley” and “Shrek” regularly, usually saying “Sh — irley” and “Sh — rek” with long pauses between his new sound and the rest of the word, but he will smooth it out in no time.

These sweet and natural learning moments are why I am grateful to keep my child at home for a few more years. Mornings are such a peaceful, fun and creative time, and it seems so apparent that some of the best learning can happen then.