Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Now I get it...

I'm starting to understand the belief system behind unschooling.

I think it pertains very well to the young, before typical school age. Nicholas is four going on five and my well intentioned plans for loose homeschooling have taken their own direction as he figures out what he really wants to listen to me blather about each day.
The week on books went well. We read lots, discussed authors and illustrators, and the boys worked on their own books, making dot caterpillars for _The Very Hungry Caterpillar_, their own versions of Babar and an acrostic for the letters in the word BOOK. We're still working on them as we make new projects that can be put on the pages. The next week on games also worked well. We learned new games throughout the week and ended with a trip to the Sackler for the Asian Games exibit. Since then we've also acquired a Go board, have played more dominoes and learned Cadoo. Of course games are an ongoing topic as we play chess, mancala, Clue Jr, Life.... The next week was spring break for the girls and was spent Easter planning. They all decorated eggs, made paper bunnies and wove easter placemats. Of course there were lots of egg hunts and Easter Sunday Mass to wrap it up. The following week wasn't as guided. I'd wanted to do lots of silly April Fool's stuff with the boys, but it ended up being a week with music since we were taking the girls to the Kennedy Center on Sunday. But aside from reading some books that were noisy (about bands and such) and listening to plenty of opera and keeping the radio on, it didn't go far. Honestly, it's my own fault since I didn't want to have them make their own instruments. There's an instruments exhibit at the American History Museum but we didn't go that Friday because of the rain. Then this past week, Nicholas picked the topic when he brought up the American flag. I have several books about the flag along with a kid's Atlas, so those along with a borrowed video tape from the library (American History for Children series, ages 4 and up) started us into the flag. I also had flag outlines from a previous exercise at ISM, so Nicholas colored in a pretty good flag while Jonathon made a unique "Flag of JonathonLand". Those both went into their books, after we held a flag ceremony just like at AmeriKids complete with anthem and pledge. We tried again to go to the American History Museum to see the original Star Spangled Banner, but this time my mom wasn't feeling well and the boys decided they really didn't want to go anywhere anyway. The flags at half-staff the past week has led into its own discussions.
So far this week we've delved into time on an analog clock as well as time for minutes/weeks/years. Nicholas simply doesn't have the concept down that when I say "next week" I don't mean tomorrow. We came up with examples of what each length of time means... 1 second = a kiss, 1 week = a vacation, 1 year = new clothes and another birthday. It'll be a recurring topic, I'm sure.
Next week is Nicholas's birthday. We'll be plenty busy.
This Friday is a day off for the girls, so we -are- going to the American History Museum. The information desks have scavenger hunt forms which lead all through the museum. This way we can see the giant flag, the instruments and whatever else catches our eye. I think we'll also see the Science in American Life exhibit for the girls. We'll call it all a review.

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