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If we value the pursuit of knowledge, we must be free to follow wherever that search may lead us. ~ Adlai Stevenson

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Another week in review...

We have had a good learning week, and most of it wasn't sit-down-at-the-table learning. Instead, I gave Cyrus and Cassia the freedom to choose, and I have to say, I am pretty impressed with what they've chosen. They would like homeschooling, at the moment, to focus on science and mythology. I'm good with that. Yes, I will still insist on math for both, reading lessons for Cassia, and writing for Cyrus. But, that's it. The rest is up to free choice. Obviously, I am not all about unschooling, and I don't know that I ever will be! But that is okay. I am learning to let go of those pesky "learning standards" the state has, and which I do not have to follow, being a private school.

Anyhow, what we did this week was this:
Language Arts & Literature, etc.:
We started reading A Wrinkle in Time, taking a break from The Borrowers series. I also checked out Gods & Goddesses of Ancient Egypt and the D'Aulaires Book of Greek Myths, which we'll start in the upcoming week. Cyrus has started The Marvelous Land of Oz. Cassia and I are still reading our way through The Red Fairy Book, and she did some work on both Progressive Phonics and Starfall. She is going through a phase where she is copying words out of books, mainly fairy books, and then asking me what they say. I think this is pretty good practice for reading and writing!

Cyrus is fascinated by dragons. Some time ago, I taught him how to look up books on the computer at the library. This week I taught him, at his request, how to place books on hold. He found a couple of good books available right away (see the sidebar Amazon widget), and placed two more on hold. He and a friend are planning to search for dragons when they grow up, and are designing armor that will hold the dragon's "acidous" (acidic) saliva and venom at bay.

Math:
Again, more Go Fish, War, and Solitaire, including Clock Solitaire, which my mom taught them. They did a few pages from Math Mammoth, and I got a book called Marvelous Multiplication for Cyrus (at the library). His current goal is to learn enough about multiplication and division to start the Life of Fred series. I dug out my old, battered copy of Family Math and am browsing through it for Cassia-friendly games and activities.

Sciences:
We re-watched the Symphony of Science videos (which we love), and which inspired, at least in part, the current interest in science. I'm adding science videos to my Netflix queque... old Cosmos episodes with Carl Sagan (we watched the first one already), the Life series, and so on. We're going to start reading The Story of Science: Aristotle Leads the Way and following interests from that.

History:
We started New World Explorers (by Homeschool in the Woods) but set it back aside to pursue deeper interests in science and mythology. I'm also looking at Liberty's Kids for them to watch, and they are planning to watch one episode a week of America: The Story of US.

Other:
We attended a 4H Business for Primaries (the younger crowd) meeting, where they learned about library systes, and what it would take to start a community library-- funds, a building (or at least a room), books, a check-out system, fine system, etc. Then we went to Park Day for the first time in a while which was really nice.

And today we went to the Farmer's Market. We drank homemade chai, and got lots of good, fresh veggies and fruit. We looked at beautiful yarn (hopefully I'll be knitting soonish), tasted smoked olive oil and fresh butter, smelled beeswax candles, talked to farmers, and ran into a friend. We planned a week's worth of menus and headed off to the grocery store to finish shopping. Right now, there is a beautiful fig tart baking in my oven, recipe courtesy of Deborah Madison's Local Flavors.

And since I'm freeing up our agenda in learning, I'm finding lots and lots of cool opportunities in our local homeschool community. A field trip to a California history museum, a potential history faire in which to participate, a chance to hear the San Francisco Symphony, another field trip to the local county museum, and to a wildlife preserve. Another trip is in the works to go walnut picking. Regular playdates at a friend's farm in on the calendar. Maybe some regular ice skating too!

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What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.
Emerson

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