Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Interest-Led Learning: Our Unplan for Science

“Catching frogs, building forts, exploring wild places.  We allow children’s passions to guide the learning process.  Through weaving games and stories into learning, we create an “invisible school.”  Our students are having so much fun, they often don’t realize how much they’ve learned through the day..  We allow children’s passions to guide the learning process.  Through weaving games and stories into learning, we create an “invisible school.”  Our students are having so much fun, they often don’t realize how much they’ve learned through the day.”
                                                                  Philosophy Statement @ www.twocoyotes.org
Lilah is going on her third year at home.  This is #2 for Grace.  All this time we have been moving towards understanding how homeschooling will work for our family.  We have come to a very exciting place in our journey.  The place where we diverge from a plan and let the children lead their own way.  
Grace 2010 at The Audubon
We consider the world our classroom.  Learning cannot possibly be confined to something as small as a school building.  This summer I think we truly embraced the fact that we are explorers, searching out information on what we love and what we are interested in.  Once we identified our own unique interests, the information seems to find us.   
When I began blogging about our homeschooling experience it was to help my friends and family understand why we made this choice and how we would execute it on a daily basis.  I think when we tried the school-at-home route, it was very easy to understand.  But now that we no longer do that, that we learn year round, that we seek out learning opportunities on vacation, that we don’t have a set schedule or a core curriculum it is harder for those who do not homeschool to understand.  I get that.  So here it is.  Our unplan subject by subject for the beginning of this year.
First you have to understand our guiding interests or passions.  All things flow from them.
Grace: science, with a focus on Meteorology, music
Lilah: science, with a focus on Nature Studies, art
Me: Natural living, with a focus on nutrition
Our our botany walk Spring 2011
I am including myself in this list because I am no longer the “teacher”.  These are not “my” plans.  I choose to learn alongside my children in the areas that interest me the most.  I would like to think that my interests inspire my children as well.
It seems natural that much of our lives will revolve around the SCIENCES.  Grace and Lilah will be taking a Nature Study class once a week.  The class is six hours long and lasts 12 weeks.  That is 72 hours of science! Lilah has taken this class before.  Here are some of her highlights from the spring of 2010:
  • Was inspired by her guide, an artist who used the map of the Nature Center as a living canvas, continually painting on it as they explored each area.
  • Caught a frog, gave thanks to it, build a fire and cooked the frog. (Lilah did not eat the frog).
  • Learned about local plants and animal habitats.
  • Learned to identify edible plants.
  • Experienced a guest - an herbalist who shared her passions with the children.
  • Listened to storytellers weave tales of long ago, participated in the activities that accompanied these tales.
  • Learned how to construct shelters.
  • Deepened her love of insects.
  • Kept a beautiful journal of her memories and experiences.

In addition to this, Grace will attend a Meteorology Class at a local University that is designed for 7th and 8th grade public school students.  She was granted permission to join this class based on her independent study.  I do not have a syllabus for this class yet but she is super excited for it to begin.
Lilah chose Astronomy as one of her classes at co-op.  This class meets for one hour each week for 12 weeks.  To supplement her learning, we will be taking out many books on this subject from the library.  I am also searching CurrClick for mini-studies she can do independently.  
That’s our unplan for science...at least until the end of November. 

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