IN THE CAR THIS WEEK
I love audio books. I can NOT tell you how good audio books are for us. For all that time spent in the car each week, instead of the pop music, we go educational.
Johnny Tremain We watched the movie last week, now listening to the book in the car. I wondered if this wouldn't be a bit redundant, but oh no! The book is rich with wonderful details and character development not found in the movie. We are all enjoying reliving the story in this format, often stopping to talk about things like... wonderful detail and character development. ;) "A story of the turbulent, passionate times in Boston just before the Revolutionary War. Johnny, a young apprentice silversmith, is caught with Otis, Hancock, and John and Samuel Adams in the exciting operations and subterfuges leading up to the Boston Tea Party and the Battle of Lexington. As Johnny is forced into the role of a full-grown man in the face of his new country's independence, he finds that his relations with those he loves changes for the better as well."
Living Language - Spanish Started this as an in-car supplement to our in-home classes (2xs/week). I secretly love it when we are all repeating words and phrases together in the car. Highlight - 5yo: "Oh, mom. Did you hear that one? I just did a really good 'Buenas noches'."
9:30 – 3:00 Homeschool in the Forest
"Played games with older kids, saw a huge buck, learned about the cooling properties of Madrone trees and laid on top of them."
A typical sight at pick-up - circle time, where everyone is giving thanks for their day. Makes me happy!
Tiny Buns sports his new shirt - a gift from his sister and grandma and their trip to DC. Perfect for him and for current block on the American Revolution.
5:00 Time for the 10yo to make another journal entry about his Monday experience in the forest. Today's assignment begins with me writing in his journal "Homeschool in the Forest is..." and I tell him he has to give me ten descriptive lines from there. I tell him to highlight his favorite memories/experiences and to craft them with as much detail as possible. I tell him to play it out like bullet points, but that the goal is poetry. I give him a couple examples, but nothing that he can really copy. He gets excited as he feeds me ideas. I love them and show excitement in return. He's off and away saying he wants all his weekly writing assignments to be like this. The final product:
"Homeschool in the Forest is:
Playing games in the noon day sun,
Damming up a steam in the fog,
It's starting a fire with nothing but sticks,
taking turns playing mask on a crisp morning.
Leaves crackling underfoot,
Catching fish in an untouched stream,
It's catching frogs in muddy puddles,
And making acorn brownies in late summer.
It's lifting logs in search of king snakes,
And coming home drenched in sweat.
Of course we ooh and awe over him. This coming from a boy who used to beg me - "Please don't make me put pen to paper!" He hates to write...except when it's meaningful. So the trick has been to find those opportunities and to jump on them. This exercise worked doubly well for him because he basically got to put his thoughts down in bullet points - and man-o-man, does this kid love his bullet points! Daddy talks with him about the beauty of poetry, how it "has the economy of words" and how in poetry "you aren't bound by the rules of grammar".
Then it's time for dinner and I need the table set. Daddy turns it into a game relating to American history. He picks a leader, talks about strong leadership skills, warns of a rebellion, praises the battle won. The kids assume their roles wholeheartedly to the point that when the 10yo tried to help the 5yo, Tiny Buns shouted: "You can't help me, you're my leader. I'm do all the work around here!"
9:00 - 10:30 Drawing Out Arithmetic ("Playing with the ancient tools of compass and straight edge, children will discover the skills and methods employed by the Ancient Greeks to uncover enduring mathematical truths"). Incredibly enthusiastic teacher, Daniel, developed this class all on his own with the goal of getting kids to touch math and to have a physical relationship with it. I've never seen anything like this and when you see it in action it is super cool! D says this week: "We explored similar triangles. We took a yard long dowel and found the place where the top of the dowel matches the top of the tree from the ground. The distance from the eye to the dowel was also one yard making an isosceles right triangle. We measured the distance from the rod to the base of the tree. Since it was 25 yards and the triangle was isosceles, we determined the tree is about 75 feet tall. Back at the bat cave, I asked each student to draw a representation of our activity. They all did a great job! Finally, we constructed a more perfect model of the tree measuring activity with compass and straightedge. I introduced the term hypotenuse and showed them a teaser of how to calculate it's length."
10:30 - 12:00 Language Arts From the instructor: 10yo "worked on a keyword outline for ancient Greece. 7yo girls read the fable on page 36 in the book and wrote their own keyword outlines on page 37. Then we all added in colorful verbs, excellent adjectives, and LY adverbs to the keyword outlines. They each verbally retold the fable/Greek paragraph to the class adding in their extra words (using only their keyword outlines). I gave them some tips to improve (example to use more interesting words in place of boring banned words such as good or bad. We played an active adverb game at the end."
12:00 - 2:00 Free play art class! Everyone's favorite time of the week. The 10yo begins on a pair a leather moccasins for himself (G. guides him through the basics: pattern making, stitching, etc.). Beanie does mossaic work.
1:00 - 4:00 PreK for Tiny Buns
2:15 - 3:15 10yo goes into his music class, still focusing on guitar and drums. Beanie and I walk down to a cafe to take turns reading from an easy reader adaptation of Les Miserables. I love these super-duper abridged versions of classics. They give the perfect amount for her, and just about enough for me. They allow us to get the foundation for one story while working on reading skills, allowing us more time to hit other related topics or activities.
We were both thrilled to finally get to the part that takes place underground in the sewer system of Paris! We learned about this while we toured that exact place in March, and it's actually the entire reason I reached for the story to read together.
Now the 10yo is sick. Such a bummer. The rest of us are finally on the mend and he's the last one to go down. I need to get him in a better mood than the one he wakes in. I make him tea, prop him up on the couch. He asks me to read to him, suggesting National Geographic. He pics the cover story on sugar.
You know I love reading to my kids. There is just this magical thing that happens when I read out loud to them. No matter what I'm reading, they listen. There we all were in the family room this morning, drinking our coffee and teas, wrapped in blankets and spread-out all over the floor. Even Tiny Buns, forever the engineer, sat building something out of paper clips and rubber bands, listening to me read about the history of sugar, injecting his commentary here and there. It bought us to the map several times, locating the hot spots in the world where sugar can grows best, had us doing math in our head to calculate daily recommended quantities in comparison to those amounts found in soda and candy and even had us touching on the history of world exploration and colonization. All this before toast! ;)
10:00 - 11:00 Spanish Tutor
Today's lesson was just the little kids, myself and the mestro. Because we didn't meet last week, we focused on review and went into colors. We finished with a reading of one of our favorite books, but in Spanish - Si Le Das Un Pastelito A Un Gato (If You Give A Cat A Cupcake).
Teaching children a language is tricky. We are still a bit all over the place and conjegating verbs is nowhere in our near future. Dare I say...we might all benefit from just using some worksheets. :-/
11:45 - 12:45 Beanie goes to science class hosted at a friend's house (sick 10yo runs errands with me). Note from instructor:
1:00 - 2:00 Poetry for 7yo
1:00 - 4:00 PreK for Tiny Buns
3:00 - 5:00 Beanie bakes a flour-less chocolate cake with her grandma. They bring it home to our house and my mom, myself and the two big kids head out to dinner and a one-time showing of the documentary ON THE WAY TO SCHOOL. Grab a box of Kleenex, watch the trailer, and know that the movie did not disappoint.
9:30 – 3:00 Homeschool 4-wheel drive - the 10yo's second day a week in nature. Run by the same organization as Monday's class, this group happens have only boys enrolled at this time, which I love. It's great to see them just go off a wild adventure with a great male leader. This week's report: (not yet received)
10:25 - 11:05 PeeWee Soccer
1:00 - 4:00 Tiny Buns PreK
1:15 - 2:15 Beanie does French
3:00 Pick-up 10yo, 3:15 Drop 7yo at soccer, 4:00 pick-up Tiny Buns, 4:15 Pick-up Beanie, 5:00 10yo makes journal entry about day in nature.
Spanish lesson is canceled so we can host Tiny Buns' 5th birthday party! Almost one month after his real bday, we eek our an early morning party for the boys in his preK class. I swear that this will be the last party I ever throw. ;-)
1:00 - 4:00 Tiny Buns PreK
1:30 The big kids and I start watching America: The Story of Us. I watched this series last year with the then 9yo, and it's honestly worth re-watching every year. Still heavy at parts for the 7yo, so I sheilded her eyes and ears multiple times.
EXTENDED LEARNING (AKA: THE WEEKEND)
We snuggled on the couch, Satuday morning and read a small stack of books from the library. The best one was The Adventures of Mark Twain By Huckleberry Finn, beautifully told and illustrated!
We are LOVING one of the vintage games I picked up on Etsy last week. QUINTO is similar to SCRABBLE, just with numbers. It's a great one with kids still strengthening their math skills. Tiny Buns is ALL sorts of motivated to learn addition.
On Saturday we begin the paper mache component of our Halloween float. More to come on this.
I'll close with the above photo because I just love what it represents - child directed learning. I had been outside for a long while, working on our Halloween float, when I came inside to find Tiny Buns creating this marble ramp, and testing the marble's force on a variety of wooden blocks and figures. Who knows what was going through his mind but he kept trying new things with its construction, and with the objects he was looking to hit. When I see my kids in these moment, long and thoughtful, I'm so grateful because I know they wouldn't necessarily have these if they were in school. Like I always say:
Do not overestimate the education a child gets in school, and do not underestimate the education you give your kids at home!