Friday, October 15, 2010

Weekly Accomplishments

The weekly wrap up is becoming a very important part of my week.  I like having a written summary of how we are growing and learning week to week.  This week has been especially busy.
Sunday we met friends in New York City and had an A-mazing day.

Monday we spent the day with friends in the country.  We carved pumpkins and watched the Food Network’s Pumpkin Challenge.  Grace had her flute lesson and flute ensemble lesson.  

In history we continue to read The Odyssey.  So far we know Circe, the Lastrogonian Giants, The Lotus Eaters, The Cyclops, and the Gods Zeus and Poseidon.  I am looking forward to watching The History Channels program Odysseus in November.  By then we will be done with our read aloud and hopefully will be reading The Lightning Thief.

I am incorporating mini-lessons into our writing.  One lesson involved me pulling out some of my favorite books and comparing the first sentence.  We noticed that book books pull the reader in immediately through actions, feelings, questions or sounds.  I am noticing that the girls are incorporating these into their blog entries.

Our study of weather, prompted by Grace’s insatiable curiosity, has taken shape.  We are charting the weather, calculating wind direction, learning about hurricanes and watching weather related programming.  Grace is reading The Ninth Ward by Jewell Parker Rhodes.  She enjoys reading this book to me and I love the gentle spirit of Lanisha and the motherly figure of Mama Ya-Ya.  This books speaks to many social issues eloquently (poverty, bullying, uniqueness, spirituality).  I highly recommend it.  We are using Netflix to our advantage.  We just viewed Hurricane on the Bayou, which taught us about the Louisaiana wetlands and their vital importance in preventing storm surge damage.  This is a great video available instantly on Netflix.

Math has also taken a curious turn.  Lilah continues to master subtraction.  She is easily subtracting three digit numbers with regrouping twice.   Grace and I decided to put aside the Horizons textbook.  She hates the way it spirals back to concepts and while there is certainly value in this, too much can be overkill.  She also seemed very frustrated when I would show her a concept, like double digit multiplication.  I could show her 29x47 over and over again and all I would get is “I don’t get it”.  So I turned to what she likes best, her computer.  We looked up multiplication on youtube and voila! in less than 5 minutes she not only understood, she is now able to multiply any two digit numbers together.  Seeing this made me realize she does not need a text.  She needs units and extensions.  Next week she will learn three digit multiplicaiton.  Because Lilah will move onto measurement soon,  I will offer Grace a project/extension: finding the area of our house. I am doing a lot of reading about unschooling.  

My friend over at Frog Creek loaned me two books.  I finished Radical Unschooling: A Revolution Has Begun by Dayna Martin and I am almost done with The Unprocessed Child: Living Without School by Valerie Fitzenreiter.  Because I have consciously made changes that resemble more of an unschooling philosophy: interest led, lack of schedule/checklist, real-life based learning, I felt I should read more about this type of lifestyle.  I am not completely an unschooler though.  There are things that I want them to learn but I have to present it in a way that they buy into it (History and Math are two examples).  I am not going to wait until they either have an interest or trust wholeheartedly that they will learn what they need as we go.  So I am finding a balance between what I consider Charlotte Mason (lots of narrations, nature studies and an environment rich in literacy) with unschooling (interest based learning or real-life learning).  I feel these books were offered to me at a time I needed them most.  I feel that by following a more relaxed lifestyle where learning is organic and happens fluidly (with my constant awareness as to how to interject my plan into their plan) Grace is having an easier time and seems happy.  Lilah is able to work on what she likes and will ask for certain lessons if she feels ready to dive into more cursive writing.  Often they pull out the art supplies and decide they want an art lesson or they decide if it is time for piano practice.  Because of this they are spending longer amounts of time working on whatever they choose than if I directed them to it.  To my amazement, when I do these weekly recaps, the items on my agenda get done!  It is working.


Jen @ Forever, For Always... said...

I too am interested in a bit of CM and a bit of interest-led, unschoolishness...looks like you had a great week! I am going to look into the two books you recommended. Thanks for linking up this week!

Patty said...

Hi! I just stopped over from Jen's. I always enjoy reading what others are doing in their homes with studies. Have a great weekend!

mamak said...

Love how your finding your way. I feel like a sailboat most of the time, out at sea. Some days we are cruising along, cutting through the waves. Some days seems like there is no wind and we must paddle to get some where. Other days, a storm rises, but inevitably the clouds break and it's sunny and breezy and we are on our way again. Some days the crew and I are seamless, on others, I have a mutiny and am told to walk the plank. You just never know. But man, we have navigated some treacherous waters together, and the beauty found all around us has been breathtaking.

Theresa said...

I love the photo at the top!

Your posts on Story of the World make me eager to start!

I love that you just keep growing with this experience and you are willing to go with the flow. I feel a little like I am going against the current, but I am still nervous about completely losing control, but this post definitely gave me food for thought. I feel like we can try things, see if they work, re-evaluate, try something else...nothing has to be permanent or set in stone...we can go back to it or not. Just see where it takes us.

The girls do science kits at co-op and today I want to do some experiments, but we have done little science and have focused more on writing, history and math so far.

Helena said...

I'm excited to find you, and of course I found you! (How I love serendipity) We are on the same journey as you guys—the journey towards relaxed, interest-driven, "life learning," and I can't wait to hear how it goes for you.
Having just found your blog, I also can't wait to see all the lovely things you've written so far. It's like Christmas, finding a new blog, a person you feel a connection with, and thinking, Ooh, I've got all these sweet posts, all this lovely history I get to unwrap. SO glad about that.

Jessica said...

Welcome Helena! I will pop on over and check your out too!

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