I have mentioned before that we are lifestyle learners; that means we learn all day long everyday and I try to create and encourage an environment for learning. Collections and permanent learning stations are the best way to foster lifestyle learning whether you are homeschoolers or traditional schoolers. Some things we collect are...
We examine there shape, size, texture and most importantly we study the tide pool animals that used to live in them.
Family pictures and antiques are the best way that I have found to inspire a love and understanding of history. "Great grandma grew up in a completely different time and she used this egg beater instead of an electric mixer."
Sticks, pine cones and other dirty loot...
What is it? Is it a seed or a part of a tree trunk? What kind of tree did it come from? I pretty much let them collect anything that is not currently living or has eyes.
Big blocks and egg cartons for building forts.
We still have our mega blocks even though my kids have seemingly out grown them, they are still valuable for building structures and we add all kinds of things to the crate like egg cartons and big boxes from Costco.
Books, dictionaries, maps and Bibles are great for looking up information on the fly and inspiring geography, reading practice, vocabulary and deeper thought.
Mini tea sets are fun to collect and great for teaching manners as well as encouraging spacial awareness and delicate motor skill development. Every one of our tea sets has one broken piece but only one because kids are fast learners and they don't want to break their things. They are much more gentle with mine now.