Thursday, October 14, 2010

Blustery Squalls

I have been doing a great deal of thinking about how I want to homeschool.  It turns out I have been on a journey alongside my children, sort of deschooling along with them.  I just did not realize my journey would be as profound as theirs.   I will begin a series of posts focused on my evolution from picking a style that seemed very structured and sequential, to one that more closely resembles a combination of Charlotte Mason and Unschooling.  Look for that soon......
For some reason I feel like I have been neglecting science.  Last year I bought the R.E.A.L Science Odyssey for Lilah.  We plugged away at several lessons and we enjoyed it.  Unfortunately it never felt connected to everything else we were doing so it was always the last thing we got to, when we got to it.  Since it has yet to make an appearance this fall I felt I was neglecting science.  Then I thought some more.  
Lilah has been doing a spa science kit for about a month.  She has used food items to make facial masks, foot scrubs and bath bombs.  She knows that honey is soothing and has been a natural remedy for  sore throats and dry skin.  Oatmeal cleanses, salt sloughs away dead skin, olive oil is hydrating and lavender is soothing.  This all ties into her love of nature studies.  It is meaningful to her.  She enjoys it.  
Grace is obsessed with weather.  We have tracked hurricanes, discovered that the names are preselected at the start of the season.  We watch Storm Riders on The Weather Channel weekly.  She has watched season 1 of Storm Chasers on Discovery.  She has read Horrible Geography: Wicked Weather and Stormy Weather.  For her pleasure reading she is devouring Ninth Ward, by Jewell Parker Rhoades.  We just watched a documentary: Hurricane on the Bayou in which we learned how the destruction of the wetlands contributed to the severity of flooding during Hurricane Katrina.  
How could I think we have not done science?  I started a binder for Grace to record her observations and reflections.  She wrote about the wetlands after watching the video.  Today we began a focused study on weather using Weather: Super Science Activities Grades 2-5.  We built a weather vane.  In order for it to work properly we took a compass outside to locate north.  We drew the compass rose on our sidewalk and then on the landing to our steps.  We set the weather vane in the middle and watched the wind direction.  Since we are expecting a Nor'easter, wind was plentiful today.  We also started a weather calendar to record the daily weather.   
My grandfather was very into weather.  I remember being at his house watching his weather station and the red lights blinking from North to Northeast or south to southwest depending on wind direction.  My parents gave me his Selsi Forecaster.  It is very very cool.  When I googled it, the ones that look like it were made in the 1940s.  I have to ask my Dad if he knows its history.  It still functions.  Today the arrow moved from “fair but a storm within several days” to “in 24 hours blustery squalls”.  Like I said, a  Nor’easter is practically upon us.  I showed Grace how to read it and she was amazed.  
I am learning that it is okay to let go of a curriculum.  I do not have to move from lesson to lesson.  I can teach about heart rate and how it   accelerates with increased activity but the girls will not latch onto it right now because it is not important to them.  Weather is.  So for now we study weather.  As much as we can and as often as we want.  Then it will be time to move to something else.  I don’t know what that will be yet because I have not picked up on a new interest of theirs.  But I am always listening and watching to see where their questions lead.  Today we are learning weather, perhaps next it will be space or electricity or chemistry.  I know they are interested in a microscope.  Biology?   The sky is the limit.  Too bad right now it is producing blustery squalls.

Grampa's Selsi Forcaster

our weather vane


Theresa said...

Wow, what a fantastic family heirloom to have!

I started out feeling like I was not doing enough, but the more I think about...they can only absorb so much and then at some point it's just not sinking in.

I was talking with a good friend last night whose 2 year old was just diagnosed as autistic. The birth to 3 program provides home visits by therapists. One therapist uses memorization and pointing "That is pasta" That is pasta, etc. But the OT gets down on the floor and does whatever Cassie wants, plays blocks or feeds a baby doll and teaches her while she is engaged in the activity she wants to do; when Cassie moves on, so does the OT. My friend was saying that this seems to be working much better than the memorization, because the OT taught Cassie to feed the baby doll with a spoon, but on her own, after the OT left, Cassie fed the baby doll her sippy cup. On that kind of level, it is so easy to can't memorize everything, but if you are interested in what you are doing, it makes sense, you make connections :)

mamak said...

Yep! It's easy to say, OMG, we are not doing this or that. But when you stop and look at what your kids ARE doing at that moment or reflect on your last week of "things", it is often astounding.

Karen said...

Great post. It speaks to my heart so much. I have this idea of a perfect curriculum that I have been searching for since we began. Everything would tie together. All subjects. Unit Studies are like that to a point, but I want more.

I love Charlotte Mason approach and unschooling. In fact when I first started I was determined to unschool. I just couldn't do it. It makes me sad that I am still not able to let go completely. Maybe with your help I will get there. Happy weekend my friend

Jessica said...


I am not there yet. I am finding my way. I started off totally classical and I am surprised at where I am ending up. It feels better for me so I am going to follow the path where it takes me. Where ever I end up will be where I am supposed to be. I would probably label myself eclectic but who needs labels?! I have been thinking about the journey to get to this place and I am going to do a few posts next week about it.

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