Saturday, September 12, 2009

The New Learning Year

When I say that we officially began our home learning year the day after Labor Day, what I really mean is that we introduced a few new elements to help further our interest-led education. Since we never stop learning and perusing our interests, we don't really re-start each fall. Each fall, we do, however, review and reflect on the year and consider goals for the coming year.
This year, as all 3 children want to learn to write stories, each at their own level, we implemented 3 periods of "writing" each week. During "writing time", we each write silently, without interruption, for 20-40 minutes. We then discuss what we have written. Since Blueberry and Eggplant both want to improve their reading skills, we also have an hour of dedicated reading time using the Progressive Phonics program several times each week.

In an effort to reduce the number of requests for difficult projects just as I am getting ready to make dinner or right before bed, we have also initiated 3 periods of what we are calling "Thomas Edison Time" (TET) each week. When the kids come up with a project they really want to do at a very inconvenient time they write it down and stick the paper in the "Thomas Edison Jar" (TEJ). During TET, we take those requests and, if still desired, run with them.

With that, here is an outline of one of our days this past week:
  • Eggplant woke up and created miniature version of coin spinner from The Peggy Notebaert Museum
  • Rhubarb "read" to Blueberry, meaning she invented a story to tell her because the book has no words, only pictures, so that the "reader" can invent their own story
  • Rhubarb did a page on syllables in her workbook
  • Eggplant built a fort
  • We had a reading time, using Progressive Phonics for Blueberry and Eggplant; Eggplant also read to me The Alphabet Mystery, a favorite book in our home.
  • We had TET: we invented a recipe for gluten-free, agave sweetened, vegan chocolate cake and made it. During the baking, we did lots of fractions, using the measuring cups and spoons. Fractions clicked for Rhubarb during this process and she excitedly exclaimed,
"You know Mamma, fractions are really making sense in my brain. Before, it was all jumbled up. Now it makes sense."
(This is me doing a little happy dance!!) 
  • Also, for TET, I taught Eggplant to use sewing machine. He made Blueberry a purse out of old jeans.
  • Rhubarb practiced violin.
  • Rhubarb hand felted a bracelet, using an old knitting swatch of mine and wool roving to add a flower.
  • Blueberry worked on reading on starfall.com.
  • We walked to the park and the kids climbed the rocks along the beachfront all the way home.

This was all before dinner. After dinner, we read the usual bedtime stories and hit the sack.
All in a day.

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