A quick rundown of recent…learning? Or attempts. The Chicago and Mexico trips were major “teachable moment” blocks, but we’re back, with no major trips planned until July, probably, so..no more excuses!
(Although there will be the usual raft of staycation roadschooling things. My daughter will be home for a few weeks before her next adventure begins, and I want to try to see things like the Tuskegee sites related to the Tuskegee Airmen, Booker T. Washington and George Washington Carver, the Montgomery sites we missed last time, and some Nature of one sort or another. We also have a short Charleston trip in mid-May.)
- The (now) 13-year old finished the AOPS Pre-algebra book a while back. So now we are backtracking a bit and working through the Alcumus problems, also on the AOPS site. They provide and excellent, challenging review. We won’t do much “school” through the summer, but he will do a bit of math every day that we can manage. At this level, you can’t just leave math aside for three months…you’ve got to keep screwing that information and those concepts into the brain or else they just get loose and fall out with time. I also have a couple of more conceptual, big-picture math books that he’ll be dipping into over the summer. More on that later.
- 9-year old is finishing up 3D of Beast Academy – doing area now. Then we will move right on to level 4. I hope that we’ll be just behind enough so that we don’t get ahead of their publishing schedule…
We’ve let Latin slide at the moment because we’ve had to go hard core with Spanish for the 13-year old. Why? Well…because he’s going to school next year. He won’t be going back to his old school, but to another one, run by Nashville Dominicans. We didn’t enroll them there when we first moved here almost six years ago for various reasons, but now it just makes sense – it’s an excellent little school, 8th grade is confirmation year in this diocese, and doing it through this school would be more fruitful, I think, than through a parish program, plus he has a friend who has transferred over there. We’ve done the tour, he shadowed for a day and really liked it. He’s ready to go back and hang with other kids Who Are Not His Family. The then-fourth grader will stay and do his unschool thing at home, though. He’s a natural unschooler, and while we won’t have the freedom to travel we did over the past two years, it will be fine..we’ll still be able to do a lot.
(We were at the library yesterday and passed the “Used books for $1 cart.” He immediately spied a college biology textbook and requested it. Sold. That – plus the rabid interest in All Things Mayan, plus reptiles, plus….well, that’s what I mean.)
Oh, and so the Spanish? They have an excellent middle school Spanish program at this school that prepares them to start with Spanish II – most of them in honors – in high school…so we need to catch up. We’ll be working at home with their texts, online resources, with some tutoring, but unfortunately not from this fellow:
(It works…we all know the days of the week in Spanish now…without even trying…)
- Keyboarding every day, as well as cursive practice. Just fifteen minutes or so.
- The zoo/science center classes have been winding down, but there have been a few – on microscopes, conservation, the water cycle and such. Our routine is that they go to the class, and the next day they present to the rest of us (all two) what they learned.
- If American school children know anything cold, I’m convinced, it’s the water cycle. And rainforests. The water cycle and rainforests.
- Art classes for the 9-year old continue apace. Plus, there’s your random art festival children’s area.
As I stood/sat there for fifteen minutes watching him make his very detailed Dalek (upper left), I said, “You know, we do have buckets of markers and lots of poster board and paper at home. Any time you want, you could spend your afternoon making Daleks.” He shrugged. Maybe if I set up a table in the back yard and sell three dollar cokes?
The best children’s section I ever encountered was at a festival down in the Tampa Bay area. Someone had a station featuring the Japanese art of making prints from fish. Real, dead fish that you ink up. I thought it was fantastic (as did my kids) and I’ve often wondered why I’ve never seen it anywhere else….
- Still watching the Great Course on Roman architecture. Watched the first episode of Eyes on the Prize , which includes material on the Montgomery Bus Boycott.
- Read-aloud is Tom Sawyer. This is a second go-round, but the first time was probably three years ago, so it might as well be the first.
- 13-year old is reading, for his “assigned” reading, To Kill a Mockingbird. We discuss it and use various random resources for related writing prompts.
- We are working our way through Hamlet. This is going to take a while. We’ve read a couple of story-type re-tellings, and now we’re sort-of-reading through it. We’re going to watch scenes from lots of different productions as we go along, and at some point this week, we’ll watch this:
(The fact that there’s a version starring David Tennant is very helpful – even though it apparently has problems…nothing like Harry Potter or Doctor Who faces to keep a certain viewer’s attention.)
- religion? The usual – daily prayer which includes the Mass readings if we’re not going to daily Mass. Discussion of the saint of the day, anything interesting in said Scripture readings. Plus we are still working through the super-dooper The Mass Explained app.
- Various local activities, like today:
It was an “Artbreak” at our (wonderful) Birmingham Museum of Art, tying in our Delacroix exhibit to Chopin. The speaker told the interesting tale of the connections between Delacroix, Chopin and Georges Sand. We were the youngest people there, naturally, (and I mean “we”), but they’re used to that at this point. The material was a little above their heads, but not too much, and at least they heard words like “Romanticism” and the names of these folks and a couple of memorable stories, plus the 9-year old, in particular, appreciated the music. He is very attentive to live music.
- There’s been quite a bit of camping activity – the 13-year old was on campouts three of the weekends of April, including a two-night backpacking trip up in Tennessee, and the 9-year old on one. Lots of learning there! Including mom learning for the first time how to remove a tick!
- Meterological education was not neglected, as in the two hours in front of the television last night following tornadoes ….
- I think we’ll go see The Barber of Seville in the ATL this weekend – this review indicates that it’s a good production, and, as I wrote once before, it was my entry-level opera (way back in Mad Men days..probably 1969 or so – the Kansas City Opera)…so..let’s go! And…hit the library tomorrow for some books on opera….
- I have a couple of art projects in mind, and I think I’ll order a cow’s eye for dissection for when my daughter is here – she would have fun doing that with them….and that’s about it, I think. Math, Spanish, Shakespeare and some teachable moments/events and travels…plus lots of time outside, as per usual. Yes, it’s spring!
Summer is already filling up. Older son is going for a week of sleepaway Scout camp. Then there’s a local basketball camp he enjoys, and he’s said that this year he wants to do two weeks of that, instead of just one. The younger one doesn’t want to do the bb camp this year, but will be doing a sort of higher-level music camp. There are, of course, no lack of camps – science museum, art museum, and so on..but what he have at this point is enough. More than enough…