Wednesday, May 14, 2014

even more unschooling

4 yo started reading Bob books. I had them forever, and I was pretty sure that she knew her letters, or at least enough of them to start reading. I knew that she was interested. When I pulled down the first one, she looked at it and read it as if she knew what is inside. She definitely has a tendency to name letters rather than say the sounds that they make, but I am sure it will go away. I am in no rush to get through the set or to get her reading fluently, but she is ready and interested. No drilling, no pressure, no stress, no reading readiness programs, just good old interest and house full of books.

Yesterday 10 yo chose "What Your Fourth Grader Needs to Know" as his car reading on the way to tae kwon do. From what I know about those books, if he learns everything that is inside, he will be ahead of most 4th graders. Since this is not the first time he is reading that book, we should be OK.

8 yo agreed that he should practice some writing. He has been picking poems to copy, of all things. We tried a limerick, but the lines were too long. Tonight he copied some lines from "Why oh Why Are Deserts Dry?" Considering how I feel ready to give up on getting this child to write down anything, this copying is very good news. He plans to copy the entire book, one stanza per day.

4 yo fed the chickens while the boys attended a workshop on poisonous plants. Afterwards I got a long lecture on which plants I should be careful not to eat ( foxglove, oak leaves, pear seeds). 1 yo crawled and crawled through the grass and pointed at those chickens.

The boys had zoo homeschool class. I took the two younger ones to the sprinkler park. 1 yo crawled through the splash pad and scuffed his knees and ankles pretty badly. By the end, he seemed eager to walk, downward facing dog style. If the PT will not cause him to walk, the desire to be on all surfaces will.

At home, 8 yo and 4 yo are organizing a desk in their room to serve as their workshop (some sort of ninja training center, I suppose). They brought over markers, scissors, a chair, and a notebook. I am wondering whether 8 yo is ready to start making projects on his own terms. I cannot even imagine what they will look like, but they are his projects, not mine.

10 yo made a model of a hillside with a secret entrance to an army base underneath, complete with stairs and chambers. The other day he made a pueblo. His material of choice is card stock. I thought I will use it to print out posters and flashcards, but kids have other plans.

In the middle of doing Chumash today, right before we got to new pesukim, 10 yo asked me, totally out of the blue: "What is your biggest fear?" I answered: "Something bad happening to one of the kids." I asked him what is his (I was pretty sure that was the reason for the question). He said: "Losing out financially in a major way." Well, I did not know that was on his mind, although after blowing a whole lot of his allowance and present money, he has not been spending any of it lately. I told him how even if you lose all the money, as long as you are willing to work hard and be smart about it, it is possible to be OK.

Serendipitously, a friend of mine just recently wrote how kids' emotional health comes before academics. I was thinking how his question had nothing to do with what we were learning and could have been misconstrued as stalling or distracting. By now, I seem to sense when they are distracting, and when they have a pressing need which takes precedence over learning.

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