Wednesday, December 14, 2011

'round here

I have been using the December break to my full advantage.  Many homeschooling families take the month off from lessons and activities to focus on the holiday season.  I wish we could do that, but because our activities take us out of the home so often, we have to use our at home time to work on the lessons that require peace, focus and time.  
The girls have been working diligently every day.  They may still be in their pajamas at 1:00 in the afternoon, but they have accomplished many things in their pajamas!  
With Grace’s help, I discovered the app store on my Mac.  We purchased and downloaded Canvastic, a graphic organizing program.  We are still learning how to use it to our best advantage.  
My web:

Grace’s web:

How is it that children are now born programmed with the skills necessary to work a computer?  I try very hard to keep up with current technology but my daughter has surpassed me.
We took a trip to the library and were pleased that this time there was no “homeschooling drama”.  While the librarians never acknowledged our presence, asked if we needed assistance or just said hello, at least they did not critique our book choices or try to limit our borrowing number.  We picked up some great finds.

Co-op ended for the winter break.  The YMCA decided to sell off the property that housed our coop for the past five years.  Some of the children who grew up at this location were devastated.  We are grateful we had the opportunity to participate at this location and have faith that our next location will be able to meet our diverse needs.  

During last coop meeting of both the fall and spring terms, there is a craft sale.  Only handmade items may be offered.  The children work very hard to prepare for this event.  We came home with candle holders, dipped candles, handmade cards and coasters.  Grace’s friend was inspired by her reading.  She created clay sculptures of the figurines from the books The Seekers and The Warriors.  She sold them with a painting of each character.  She sold out and was taking orders!  This inspired my girls, who do not have much experience with Sculpey Clay.  They had so much fun working on these animals while listening to StoryNory.  In the past, I have over-baked their pieces (which may be why they never used the clay again.....).  This time, I got it just right!

I am even learning a new art form - needle felting.  I sacrificed an old cashmere sweater that was stained and beginning to fall apart.  I washed it twice in hot water, in a pillow case with marbles, and dried it on high.  I am going to use it as the base of a flat felting design.  Pictures will come later.....

Of course, there has been much reading.  I have to check in with Lilah every few days to get an update on her reading.  She is finishing up Frindle this week.  Grace is enjoying a Clara Barton biography I found at the library.  We learned that Clara Barton went to Galveston after the hurricane of 1900 to help.  I find this amazing because she would have been 79 years old!  Grace’s weather learning just overlaps into all kinds of amazing areas.  I am keeping my eye out for something similar for Lilah.
Lilah has been working on her mosquito lap book.  While she finds it interesting, she is not absorbed by it the way Grace is with weather.  I think I have to be more creative about finding resources for entomology and animal studies and incorporate learning about naturalists like Jane Goodall or Ansel Adams, or Jaques Cousteau.
Both girls have been practicing essay writing.  Lilah wrote about her desire to travel to Hawaii.  Grace wrote about the importance of family traditions at Christmastime.  Hopefully these will be on their blogs within the week.

This is our “downtime”.  It is lovely learning at the table with the dogs cuddled at our feet or in front of the fireplace with a cup of tea or hot cocoa.   It feels good to know that we can balance our time out of the house, with our learning in the house.  We can’t think like a traditional mind would start to spin.  Our learning differs diametrically from learning in a school environment.  The content is different, the delivery is different, the pacing is different and the is what it is!  But the learning.  Learning is amazing no matter where it happens, in a school, in a field, in a theater, in a lecture hall, in a dining room.  Learning is so very very cool.  And there has been much coolness ‘round here.

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