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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

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Balance part two...

So, I think I have found my balance point, between schooling and unschooling. We are dropping formal history and science studies, and integrating more of the kids' own interests. Their paths are diverging - Cyrus is interested in Vikings, dragons, and the universe, while Cassia is fascinated by the Little House on the Prairie series, mermaids, and ladybugs. I remember posting in the fall how great it was to watch them expanding their own worlds, following their interests, and building upon them, and I would like to see more of that again. We'll stick with the three "R's" as I have them, and then everything is more free form. I do plan to sit down and watch an episode of The Story of US with them once a week for an American history overview, but it doesn't have to be the only focal point. I may show them Liberty's Kids as well, and read occasional good stories to further explore things, but a lot of what we'll be focusing on is what they are passionate about.

In place of formal geography studies, we're integrating social studies and geography. A fellow homeschooler has set up a once-a-month potluck which will be focused on various world cuisines. The first month, March, is focused on India. So we're reading some Indian fairy tales, watching the Story of India, and trying out various recipes, tonight's being butter chicken.

Speaking of cooking, Cyrus (who makes the best sloppy joes in the world) has decided he wants to expand his cooking repetoire, so I am giving him a cooking lesson once a week. This week, he learned to make beef stew from scratch. He did all the chopping, peeling, cutting and everything else himself, while I simply guided him through it. The results were delicious! He wants to learn to make omelets and chocolate chip cookies (from scratch) next. He's also got The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook from the library, and is trying to choose a recipe from that to test out. I plan to have him make his own grocery list for whichever recipe he tries, and shop for it himself. I also want to see how he does reading and following a recipe on his own! Of course, I'll be right there is he needs me.

And speaking of sloppy joes, that was Cassia's birthday dinner last week. Can you believe she's EIGHT already? Where is the time going? Since I was still in recovery from strep gone bad, we kept it very simple this year, with cupcakes at the park, her favorite dinner with extended family, and of course plenty of gifts!

Now, speaking of Cassia, I have some concerns. She still can't remember more than a handful of letters/letter sounds. I am thinking I may need to bite the bullet and have her tested for some sort of learning issue(s). I am giving it one more month, and then will make my decision. To me, it always seems like it is simply that she doesn't pay attention, but what if it is more than that? I keep reading all these unschooling books, blogs, etc., that talk about kids suddenly picking up reading, but I am not so sure that is going to happen. Have any of you, my readers, been down this road? I will admit, it scares me.

Well, we have a library trip in the works, a piano lesson later, and then a ballet lesson, so I must be off!

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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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