Monday, October 01, 2012

Young Explorers - Block 1 is Almost Done!

Here we are in our last week of the pilot community homeschool block - Woohoo!!  I'd say it was a huge success; I've asked for feedback from my guinea pigs and will be making some very positive changes going forward based on the comments received.

All the feedback relates to logistics, and not to content, which I'm very pleased about. I know the content is good and worthy - that is why I created the group - to fill our buckets with good things. However, seems like people would prefer one morning a week, so we will switch to that. For now. I think a community homeschool program would be awesome for newbies wanting to get their feet wet with this style of homeschooling - and then implement the ideas after seeing it in action. I can see a program like this thriving if I were to cast a wider net and make it more "formal." I think the target market for this would be slightly different then.

But most of my  homeschooling families are NOT newbies. They know what they are doing and are primarily looking for good enrichment in a small, safe environment that recognizes the "sacredness of the child" and the "difference between schooling and true education." These families are excited to be homeschooling and probably don't want to give up two full mornings a week on a sustained basis.

Therefore, we will be forging ahead with the same type of content - rooted in socratic discussion of works focusing on good versus bad, right versus wrong, true versus false; complemented with picture study/composer study, living math, living science, and art.  It will be spread out over a longer "block," which I'll finalize after a look at the calendar. We definitely will wrap things up by the end of November as Advent begins. Advent is the time for us to refocus our lives and our learning :).

OK, and now for a recap of today.

1. 7 Habits - the 7th Habit - "Sharpen the Saw" or "Balance Your Life."
This story sees Sophie get into a little bit of trouble because ALL she does is read read read but in the process ignores other important areas of her life - such as physical exercise, time with friends, time to nourish her soul. This of course, is a habit that most adults probably neglect. We talked about how not taking time to nourish all the areas of our life (body, mind, heart, soul), can lead to imbalance. Someone suffers as a result. This was a great story - and it marked the end of the book! Many of the kids said they have purchased this book because they loved it so much. This is a great book to review every year :).

2. Picture Study - Van Gogh's Vase With 12 Sunflowers

3. Composer - Beethoven's 5th Symphony
We broke away from the piano Sonatas to listen to an entire orchestra.  This is one of Beethoven's most famous symphonies. I mentioned to the kids there is a fun little CD that puts silly words to classic masterpieces - called Beethoven's Wig: Sing-Along Symphonies.  I remember getting this at the library for my older kids way back when, and they loved it. Check it out!!

4. Poetry
Continuing with the nonsensical poetry, we read the full version of Old Mother Hubbard, and then Lewis Carroll's Jabberwocky.  We read it a couple of times, to try and imagine what all those nonsense words might mean.  Great, fun piece of poetry!

5. Wolves of Willoughby Chase - Socratic Discussion
Oh, the plot thickens.  Bonnie and Sylvia have found a secret passage in the house and have discovered Miss Slighcarp is burning the Willoughby's will.  We talked about what a will is, and what it might mean for Miss Slighcarp to burn the original and replace it with a forgery. Leaving everything to her.  Families, we won't finish this book by tomorrow ... but I know of a few copies floating around to borrow.

6. Group Art Project
As this is the 4th week of the block, we put aside Living Math and Science to do art. The group art project is to illustrate what can be done when we work as a group to produce a single piece of work. Each child was given a square of beautiful art paper (watercolor quality). Using a sharpie, I traced two different-sized circles on each square. The children were given oil pastels and instructed to color in their square completely.  We then cut the finished squares into 4 smaller squares.  You'll have to see what we do with them tomorrow :).

This one was already cut into 4 squares, the child pieced it back together for a picture.

Stay tuned. More to follow tomorrow!
ps Thanks for the brownies!!

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