Monday, September 10, 2007

When it works…..

The Dark Lord stumbled out the door bright and early for his another day of hell high school, leaving the house quiet until the other two woke up, which is happening earlier and earlier these days.

After big bowls of oatmeal, we got down to the day’s schooling which went remarkably smoothly, enough so that I wanted to take note of it.

Last year we dropped a ton of money on a big set of Zome which the boys have built with on and off. I also purchased a set of lesson plans to help me use them to the fullest for teaching math, science, art but because we'd enrolled in the Evil Charter School last year, I never got around to exploring the lessons. Given the hands on, multidisciplinary aspect of Zome I figured it might be perfect for MonkeyBoy this year and we started today with lesson one. We watched an introductory BrainPop movie on polygons and then got to work building shapes. We worked in a lot of new math terms and some Latin roots though I still don't understand why don't say quadragon. I loved that my 5 year old and my 12 year old were equally engaged, each exploring at his/her own speed.

Eventually we moved on to this week's Five in a Row book. I've long been intrigued with the Five in a Row model. The title refers to reading a classic picture book five days in a row and focusing each day on a different subject: art, literature, math, science, or social studies. The reading list includes books we already know and love along with titles that are new to us. Our first book was a total bust despite my assurances that it was one of my favorites as a kid. The Princess simply refused to hear it more than once. The next two books went over better and this week's book was lovely and engaging, even if it did require us to talk about slavery. Both kids listened as I read, admired the pictures and asked questions. So there they were for nearly two hours, completely engaged. It was like a homeschooling parent's dream!

Tonight we watched yet another great documentary. MonkeyBoy has his academic challenges but he will watch just about any movie we bring home. Not only has he seen far more documentaries that your average 12 year old, he's really learning things from them and his inevitable questions nearly always lead to great discussions. He's well versed on the problems of credit cards, the climate crisis, and the electric car, all due to recently watched documentaries. Tonight we watched Promises, a wonderful film about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through the eyes of kids from both sides. It was very well done and if you decide to watch it, make sure to watch the follow up material on the DVD.

The Dark Lord was gone all day and then had to spend the evening on homework so I haven't seen a whole lot of him. The whole schedule thing is still very challenging and he's currently not very thrilled about school. I still have no idea if this experiment is for the best but I do know that I miss having him around while we learn.


shula said...


You really are a wonder...

beth h said...

Book recommendation -- probably too young for M-Boy but "Ferdinand The Bull" is THE best children's book ever written. If The Divine Miss P hasn't read it yet share it with her.
p.s. I have a copy in Hebrew...

RedMolly said...

I've been thinking about re-introducing some Five in a Row-type activities at the Jedi Temple Academy. I'll need to take another look at the book to see what's included; I may just end up "FIARing" my own selections.

I'm sorry to hear the Dark Lord is still having a tough time at school. Courage to both of you.