Tuesday, October 5, 2010

In the Zone

I can feel it.  It is coming back to me.  It took a month of ups and downs but this week I feel like we are in the zone.  The Homeschool Zone, that is.  I am letting our days lead us rather than the other way around.
Today for instance, the girls wanted to blog.  They were pulling out old pieces of writing and polishing off works in progress.  Grace wanted to write about her science kit: Magic Science that she loves so much.  I requested that she include three things she has learned from the kit.  I explained that when you write to inform you must provide certain information to the reader, not just your feelings on the product.  She learned to include the title, a description of activities, where it can be purchased and if she would recommend it.  Viola!  A writing mini-lesson in the context of her favorite activity.  Gives me chills.  Holistic learning.
After both girls wrote and blogged for about two hours, we moved to history.  We talked about our trip to the Renaissance Faire yesterday and I showed them a pack of information that was sent by the coordinators of the faire.  We chose to make our own heraldry: colors, pictures and symbols that families in medieval times used to represent themselves.  Lilah made a horse: Determination and care for others with the background colors of white and orange (imagination and bravery).  Grace made hers a cat: independence and drive with a background of red and orange (athletics and bravery).  I made a bird (thought and knowledge) with a black background (honesty and truth).  I adore them.  The fact that it flowed so seamlessly from our trip yesterday was what made it meaningful.  We decided since Robin Hood was a fictional character we would not put him in our Book of Centuries but we did put in King Henry II since he was mentioned in Robin Hood and gave us the time period of the setting.  While we were working in our Book of Centuries we added Homer in 800 B.C.  This led naturally to our study of Ancient Greece.
We read the next chapter of the Odyssey. Lilah is very sympathetic towards the Cyclops, even though he ate two men.  The chapter left her sad but anxious to see what comes next.  We learned that the Sea God Poseidon was Polyphemus’ father and as a God we predicted he will make Odysseus’ journey over the water difficult.  Lilah is illustrating the book chapter by chapter.  Today she drew a Shrek inspired cyclops.
I asked them to get some math done to make me happy and each did a lesson - no complaints!  While we were off to the Post Office, mailing the Halloween packages to Afghanistan, we ran into our friends.  A spontaneous playdate ensued and I took home four girls rather than the two I came with.  After dress up, we switched houses leaving me with 2 unexpected whole hours to myself!  Grace smiled at me and told me one of her favorite things about homeschooling is that you never know what might happen next!

Grace's banner

Lilah's shield

my heraldry

our visual summary of The Odyssey

a Shrek-inspired Cyclops

Lilah's illustration of chapter 1: the island of the Lotus Eaters


Theresa said...

Sounds like a great day! I love your visual summaries, you are a really good artist!

mamak said...

Love your day. That's a great one!

Marcie said...

Between you and Theresa I am inspired daily. I love seeing your new entry pop in my reader. I usually save it though until I can pay it the attention it deserves.

Jessica said...

Marcie, thanks! I am really just trying to figure it out as I go. The more I look to address my girls' needs with my desires for their education, we seem to be meeting in the middle between unschooling and an eclectic education. My motto right now is let the day lead us. Somehow magically it is all getting done (well mostly done!)!

Tiffany said...

I love days like that! Things run smoothly, there is peace, and it is natural. Good job with building habits so now things are running smoothly. There may still be bumps, but you have laid a great foundation!

specialneedshomeschool said...

Rare and wonderful! I love your tagline for this blog, 'a family under construction'. This is my first visit here (I'm going through the links at the homeschool blog yahoo group today :)
~Jen B

Jessica said...

Welcome Jen! Thanks for stopping by!

Ellen said...

So glad you found your zone! With our history and grammar changes, I'm off mine. Hopefully, we'll get back into a nice routine again. Thanks for stopping by... love your blog.

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