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Monday night the lad and I were talking about school starting this week. He was completely taken aback! WHAT???? It can’t start mom!
Well.. oops lad, it is.
MAN! (typical kid eh?) but it was quickly followed with “OH RIGHT! We’re studying what I want to, aren’t we?”
Anyways, we got on with making the beds and generally just chatting along about math and latin and language arts (still need to find an appropriate spelling/grammar rules program for him)
Our conversation continued about how I might have him make a salt dough map for his world war studies… his response.. Mom..could we just use clay instead? It’s EASIER to work with, I can build layers and colour it and everything. He took his time to explain the pros and cons for each method and what he was envisioning.
AND THEN OH MY… He got into how we could use toothpicks and make little flags and make the hills and cliffs and make mountains. And then colour coding the allies and axis power and using playdough to map out trenches. It was amazing listening to him and all his plans.
We then went on to talk about how to divide up his workload… One week we’ll watch videos and read books (and work on math/language arts etc), the next week we will be looking for rabbit trails and answering points of inquiry and tucking into science and art aspects. Our discussion continued about how if he discovers lots of items that spark his curiousity we can just dive right into them. His eyes just lit up!
THIS, this is what I have been working for all this time! A lad who knows what he wants to learn, is able to articulate it well, and define what he likes about another medium (in this point clay) over another. I am so hoping it all goes smoothly. That my lad finds much to tweak his interest, that we have a blast following rabbit trails and learn much together.
If tonight’s talk is any indication….. IT WILL BE!
So how do you get there?
How does one build to that type of study and articulation without doing a formal study?
Frankly my lad is not always the easiest kid to school. Shocker eh?
He does math quite frankly backwards (at least to my thinking). He gets the answer, he sorts it out and it works for him but honestly, half the time I don’t understand how he gets from point A to answer Z. We’ve utilized all sorts of math programs that work well for a short span and then they simply stop working. The exception to the rule has been NatureGlo. Math combined with science, history, geography and more… It suits him to a “T”. LOVES IT. BUT he made a comment to me last week. I want to keep doing NatureGlo but can we also do a math that teaches me stuff that I have to answer math questions not connect a variety of dots? SURE! So yeah.. another thing I need to solidify. It’s been a struggle getting to this point though.
Why do I bring up math?
Because it’s been part of the journey in learning to voice opinions and not just say “I don’t like this program” to being specific. What don’t you like? What is the struggle? Too hard? Too easy? Something setting you off? We learned fairly quickly that anything gimmicky WILL NOT LAST. It is fun for a while but then it gets irritating with my lad and he can’t look past it. He had to discuss it well with me about what did and did not work. We actually took a break from math for a while and you know what happened? He started to watch youtube videos. This lad knows stuff I haven’t a clue on. 🙂
From math, then what?
Using our discussions in math we branched out to… here’s some curriculum… what topic do you want to start with? Pulleys? Animals? Human body? We found one study or interest often led into another subject.
We started reading history encyclopedias… written by different people from different perspectives.. I tell you IT WAS FASCINATING!!!!
Learning how one aspect of history tied into another. How an economic downturn could affect the nations around a struggling area (for good or ill) We often declared that isn’t the neat how THAT connects with THAT point in history. Do you see how God used this event over here to turn the hearts of THAT person? Let’s see how this person colours their history lessons .. see if we can discover their focus. Do you see how they talk about this country bossing that country around and then they go over here and boss this country around and then… Until finally they find someone/some country who is strong enough and brave enough who says STOP, go no further? Do you see the family connections there and the movement of land and economic growth there? How it influences how people think? Following connections happens everywhere… and talking about them as we go, helps articulation happen and dots to form about how everything connects.
EVERYTHING has a connection of some sort.
And this year…
This year we will follow rabbit trails all centered about the world wars, Canada’s involvement, and if we have time… the other wars. 🙂 Dad doesn’t think we’ll get through it all… (you think he knows us too well????) I’m kinda hoping one of those rabbit trails will lead to a discovery of music the lad didn’t already know about, or even a love of European foods or a love of physical fitness!
What sort of connections will you form with your students this year?
Think anything interesting will pop out for you? Follow the rabbit trails eh?