It finally feels like we are getting in the swing of things this week. Last week marked our first week of full-session classes/tutoring sessions, but Beanie was out in DC with my mom. She's finally back home and we just wrapped up our first solid week all together. This is how we did it:
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.
The Shakespeare Stealer, by Gary Blackwood. Picked this one up on the recommendation of the librarian when looking for Renassance relevant content in preparation for the fair. So far, so good. Kids are hooked, and I'm super happy to discover this is an actual series with two more books to go.
Shakespeare, by Bill Bryson. This one was for me, and my prepping for the Renaissance refresher. But like so many adult books I read or listen to, I feel there is a lot of wonderful information that is perfect for curious young minds. Typically I listen to these while alone in the car to make sure the content is OK for young ears, and then I play it again while they are with me. They always tune in, and I just love that. I don't believe our culture gives kids enough credit for what they can take in. Here is another adult audio book we enjoyed together in the car.
9:30 – 3:00 Homeschool in the Forest
Emailed summaries from pack leaders:
5yos group: n/a
4:00 We head into the city to celebrate the 5yos birthday, per his request.
Little kids: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
9:00 - 12:00 Big kids enrolled in locally taught homeschool courses Language Arts + 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"). I hang out and watch until the 5yo gets restless. When I picked the older kids up at noon, both were THRILLED with their morning of math. I'm THRILLED too! Neither have ever been THRILLED with math, but this hands-on, down on the floor approach is perfect for them. Their teacher D. is incredible and walks me through what they did so I can reinforce it back at home this week.
While big kids are doing the above, Tiny Buns and I head home and bake mini muffins for his preK birthday celebration. You can learn A LOT of math through baking!
12:00 - 2:00 Open studio art class for homeschoolers. Imagine a fully stocked open room and the freedom to create whatever you want. My kids love to spin clay on the wheel, as well as build terrariums and doll houses.
1:00 - 4:00 Play-based PreK for Tiny Buns. I'm just driving all over the place at this point.
2:15 - 3:15 Music for the 10yo. Last year he started classical piano and continued through the year with little passion other than the for the desire to be able to play well. He now studies with a great musician, in an open studio, exploring any instrument he wants, learning any song he desires. It works much better for him and he is now engaged and enthusiastic to learn. While he is in session, Beanie and I review medieval attire and brainstorm costume designs for the upcoming Renaissance Faire. I suggest we review art of the time and pick one favorite person depicted and recreate their attire. My mind moves to paper as a medium, ala Isabelle de Borchgrave. She'd begs to just add this dress to her cart and be done with it. Oh well...I tried.
3:45 Soccer drop-off, 4:00 PreK pick-up, 5:15 Soccer pick-up
At home the kids play legos for several hours until it's time for bed. While construting stuff I read to them about the Rennaisance period and I'm impressed with how tuned-in they are - asking questions, commenting, etc. Beanie tries re-constructing The Globe Theater in legos. :-) I'm in heaven and continue reading for an hour.
Wake up to the sounds of kids playing *black plague* - "Kill the rats! Kill the rats!!"
10:00 - 11:00 In-home Spanish class with tutor. Kids and I meet with "Señor Jason". We are still finding our way here, as this exact situation is new to both of us. He is used to older students and the work being done seated and at a table with worksheets. We continue to experiment with different ways to keep three little kids engaged for a solid hour. Today we spent it in the yard, learning our numbers through games - hide-n-seek and Simon Says. A great hour.
11:45 - 12:45 Beanie takes science with 7yos (while big kids play in the yard). Report from instructor for this week:
1:00 - 2:00 Beanie (and the 7yos) move over to poetry class with lovely language arts instructor.
1:00-2:30 Science with J - great homeschool class organized by a fellow mom, and taught at her house to a group of four by a UC graduate student. Lots of great content for these kids - unlike anything they'd be offered at this age in public school.
6:30 The big kids catch two episodes of BBC's Robin Hood (a kinda-sort prep for the Renaissance Fair ;)
8:15 - 9:15 The 10yo meets with a math teacher while the little kids play legos in the next room and I catch-up with stuff.
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 to be themselves with a great male leader.
Emailed summary from pack leader:
"After our first week's adventure up Loma Alta to check out the watershed from the perspective in the North, we ventured into the center of Marin - at least Central Marin - to take in our surroundings. Little mysteries joined us the whole way: from galls on scrub oaks to lizards on rocks, we made our way to the rocky ridge, exploring healthy and not-so-healthy oaks & madrones along the way...a little research project for us all, as we scout the county for health of ecosystems and species.
10:25 - 11:05 PeeWee soccer is ridiculously cute! Beanie plays on a nearby playground at this time, but normally I see us reading or working on something.
1:00 - 4:00 PreK
1:15 - 2:15 7yo has first day of group French class, K - 3rd.
4:00 - 10yo journals about day in nature. He hates to write. I'm not terribly worried about this as he's a great reader, and when he has to write, he does just fine. That said, I am making him keep a journal about his nature days seeing as they are his favorite. Two days a week he comes home and has to write about his adventures. We review it together and I have him make corrections. More than anything, I just want to improve his penmanship.
In the morning at breakfast, I read the kids chapter one of Shakespeare for Kids. Great content and 21 activities to get kids familiar with the master. I'm really excited about this one.
9:00 -10:00 Family Spanish tutoring lesson. These are getting better! A bit chaotic at first, Señor Jason and I are finally figuring out how to get Spanish to these kids in a fun ways. Being outside helps immensely! We work on some basic phrases, having them copy in their notebooks what he's written on the post-its. He tells them they must memorize all phrases by next Wednesday. We finish up with a game of tag.
10:00 - 4:00 We drive to St. Helena (listening to The Shakespeare Stealer) and visit the amazing Castillo di Amorosa as part of this month's focus on all things medieval through 16th century, and in preparation for next weekend's Renaissance Faire. Super cool!
BEDTIME READING: CASTLE, by David Macaulay
EXTENDED LEARNING (er, uh - THE WEEKEND)
Soccer games Saturday, it's Beanie's first game ever, Dad is coaching. She's a tiger and makes a goal! This is huge for her. At night, I take the big kids out to see a screening of I AM ELEVEN. It makes for great conversation on the way home. Sunday, Dad takes boys to the Sacramento Reptile Show. This marks the final stop on a long journey of researching, planning, working, and saving. After months of build-up and preparations, the 10yo got to buy is baby Bearded Dragon today!!