Homeschool Thursday

It’s school vacation week in Maine, which doesn’t automatically mean vacation for us–though it means different things available throughout the week.

Juniper has been at Tanglewood 4-H camp all week, doing their February vacation week.  A 1 mile hike into camp, snowshoeing, outdoor wilderness games, art, and hot cocoa in the cabin by the woodstove.  The temps have been in the mid to upper 40’s so she’s had great weather for it.  The boys have had sleepovers, playdates, and board games.  Today we’re tapping a few trees.

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Otherwise it has been business as usual here.  All three kids are working through Beast Academy for math, doing just a few pages a couple of times a week.  We’ve been using SpellCity online and that has been a fun way to get some spelling practice in.  For writing we’ve just started working on taking dictation (think practice for note taking in the future) either typed or written or preferably alternating by the day.  The idea is they’ll use a passage (from some novel) for copy work one day, the next day I’ll read it while they write, the third day while they type.   I’ll let you know how this progresses.  Generally,  when I try to implement something like this it works for a week or two–then they go back to writing a page on anything they choose.  That’s ok too, but its good to mix things up.

Juniper is trying to master walking on her hands, so spends much of her day upside down.  She has also created an entire American Girl apartment in her closet, all out of hand crafted shelves, couches, sinks, even a refrigerator and a shower.  Most of her creations are cardboard.  Occasionally she and a friend will get crafty with felt or paper mache.  She has developed a new habit of reading in bed every night and morning and has started reading Kale’s bedtime stories at night.

Wylie has been excited about bullet journaling, and that has been a fun way for him to get some writing practice (an otherwise barely tolerable task).  For years I kept a daily journal, and still do have an ongoing journal for meeting notes and such. But I’m feeling inspired so maybe it’s time to really start again.  He has several ideas for a regular radio short, to air on our local radio station, and is beginning the early stages of making it happen.

Kale is learning through board games these days, Yahtzee, chess, and Life and Bananagrams.  Plus, endless pretend games involving plastic toy soldiers or Native American scenes.  It is great when we can find stories that go along with the games he’s playing.  He just pulled out some of our ancient Childcraft books.  A few years ago our neighbor donated her whole collection to my kids, and they have been great.  There are several volumes dedicated to stories, “stories of freedom”, “legends”, “native peoples”, that have very appealing (particularly to 7 yr. old boys) illustrations of battles and such.  I’m not sure how historically accurate they are, but they give enough info to offer a general idea of a time period and pique an interest in history.

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Two weeks ago we made a trip to Boston with friends, to the Museum of Science.  They have a traveling Da Vinci show until the end of February, so we did some reading up on Da Vinci ahead of time. It was so cool to see Mona Lisa (even though it was a copy) and all of the work they’re doing with infra-red lights to reveal the painting’s past.   Though I have to say I think my friend and I enjoyed the Da Vinci exhibit more than the kids. Wylie loved the human body exhibit which was full of fun kinesthetic exhibits and the physics challenges like building a tower to support a bowling ball.   Juniper and Kale really liked the physics and motion exhibit.  It was like a playground. We ate in China town, experienced bubble tea for the first time (mixed feelings) and were mildly traumatized by a delay in the subway with over tired/over stimulated kids.  The next day the 3-hour drive became 6 hours due to the second of 3 consecutive blizzards. We listeded to the entire audiobook of Maniac Magee, and stopped for donuts and latte at Whole Foods in Portland, so that made it ok.   The things we do in the name of education (or boredom?).   It is nice to break up these February weeks.

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