Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Dragonology notebook picture

This was today's work. Certainly a labor of love for Superboy. I think it turned out great. The constellation card is in the envelope at lower left.


Modgirl and I are sick, so school has been on default setting- do math and then read something. But that has sent Superboy (the healthy) on a wonderful rabbit trail. Yesterday while left to his own devices he happened upon a long forgotten resource, The Box of Stars- A practical guide to the night sky, its myths and legends, by Catherine Tennant. Inside is a booklet about stars, but the really neat thing that caught Superboy's imagination is the set of constellation cards. These are beautifully illustrated cards with pinholes for the stars that you can hold up to the light and they twinkle like real stars. The one that Superboy got excited about was Draco-of course-due to his current obsession with anything and everything dragons.
He must have thought about it all night, because this morning he got up and, after doing his math, decided he did not care for the illustration for Draco on the card- it looked too snake-like. I suggested he make one of his own to illustrate. So he did-pinhole punched on black paper and illustrated in pastel pencil, and it turned out great!
Then he decided he wanted to work on his Dragon notebook (his independant study project). So I suggested he add the card, and then read some Draco myths and add a summary to his notebook. So he did-read, wrote, typed it up in a fancy font, and it turned out great!
We spent some time with our Star Gazer wheel, learned how to use it so that if we ever again have a clear night we can find Draco in the sky. We also pinned up our star chart. Then I remembered a website to make your own star wheel. I sugested he make it and add it to his notebook. So he did-printed, cut, paste, assembled, and it works great!
In order to put the wheel in his notebook so that it could be removed and used, we learned how to fold little mounting corners from another website. Then he wrote up instructions on how to use the wheel and pasted them in his notebook.
The result of a day's work is a beautiful 2-page spread that looks fantastic and is all his own. He is so proud, and I have to say that so am I.
The best part-a happy day full of completely self-motivated, interest-driven learning and no whining whatsoever!
What more could a homeschooling mom ask for?
Well... maybe if I could just kick this flu.
As soon as I figure out how to post pictures, I'll add some of his notebook.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Much better today

Today was so much smoother than yesterday. Hooray! I am now regarding our schedule as more of a guide than anything and I think just that bit of mental relaxing took the pressure off.
For Superboy, math and science continue to go well. For math he loves his "I Hate Mathematics" book. How ironic! Chalk on the sidewalk, ice cream cones, what fun! He also really like his "Get a Grip" math kit from TOPS. Had to pry him away with promises of another day!

For science yesterday I had him go on a scavenger hunt in the woods and that was alot of fun. I had made up a list of things for him to find-three different kinds of tree leaves, something soft, a stick shaped like a letter, three kinds of seeds, etc, etc, and he went merrily off on his hunt with JBug happily following. Then when he brought in his finds I had prepared a few activities for him to do- a rubbing of one of the leaves, identify one flower, draw the most interesting thing (a snail shell), find out three facts about one thing. It was fun and relaxing to just look through all the stuff he found and peruse the guidebooks-a good start to our forest study.
Today he read up on moths and has set up an experiment for catching moths. He has strung up a white sheet outdoors and run an extension cord and a shop light out to it. Tonight this light will shine on the sheet all night, attracting (hopefully) some moths. In the morning we will see what turns up, take some digital photos, do some sketches, and try to ID what we can.
Another thing that went really well was Superboy's history. He listened to a chapter of "Story of the World" on CD. I had him take notes in the form of keywords as he listened. Then he read over his notes, and narrated the story back to me in his own words, using his notes, while I keyboarded. It was awesome! I showed him his narration afterwords and he was so proud. He couldn't believe that just listening and taking notes could produce an original "report" so easily! Thank you Julie Bogart of Bravewriter.com! Writing may not be painful this year!

Modgirl had a successful day as well. Her world religion project is starting out beautifully. She is writing it in the form of a Victorian era journal of a sociologist traveling the globe to study religious beliefs of other lands. If you've seen the "Egyptology" or "Dragonology" books you can get an idea of what she's going for. She has such great ideas, I cant wait to see the final product.

Our first Tuesday tea was a big hit as well. Poetry and poundcake with raspberry jam and fresh raspberries, and Tara's "Jumpin for Joy" tea in our special antique cups- a soothing way to wind up the day.
Good stuff.

Day 1: What was I thinking?

Yesterday was our first "official" day back at homeschooling. It went pretty well. Not as well as I would have liked, but not bad, either. Math and science were a hit with Superboy. Modgirl is getting into the groove of Language arts and World religions.
This is the first year I have tried to have an actual schedule. Previously there has been more of a "routine", or simple "order of events" to go by. I've always balked at schedules because of their restrictive nature. Flexibility has been the mainstay of our existence to date. This year I made up a real schedule with blocks of time from 8 to 5 and everything filled in just so.
I'm not sure why. Perhaps because of the wide age spread of my kiddos (pre-K, 5th grade, 10th grade) I felt like I needed to schedule our time a little more strictly to ensure that I don't leave something or someone out. I have it organized so that each child has my attention during the subjects he/she needs it the most, and independant work is scheduled when I am working with another child. Lunch is scheduled, as well as snack, and nap for JBug.
Needless to say we did not stick to it very well yesterday. I doubt we will today.
What was I thinking?