Term 2 came to a close yesterday here in New South Wales, though we aren't stopping for a break yet. Partially because we haven't achieved as much learning as optimal in the past month due to life's interruptions, also we're waiting until our two City boys come home in a fortnight to be able to enjoy their visit for the two weeks they're here. One of the benefits of home education is we can be flexible and work around family time.
Truthfully though we're all feeling a little stale, students and teacher, and in need of a change of pace. I'm always of the mind that 'there's more than one way to skin a cat', outcome is that the children are learning, process is always negotiable. With this in mind midweek I came up with the idea of a fresh presentation with a relaxed atmosphere, and the deep immersion and explosion of learning resulting has been so heartening. It's been awhile since we've seen this Reggio Emilia type of approach.
So what are we doing? Thinking about the subject matters I'd like the children to continue to learn plus the more creative ones we often neglect due to time and energy I brainstormed on the board, having fun with alliterations and arrived with the following list. The idea is that the children are to write their initials next to the workshops they'd like to do and I'll do my best to help facilitate or lead their workshops. As noted on the spreadsheet I was concerned that some of the children would only choose the creative workshops, neglecting the more academic ones. To my pleasant surprise this wasn't the case and they all happily picked far more than 4 workshops a day. My challenge has been logistical, trying to be available to facilitate/lead the workshops which need my input. This weekend I'll be creating a new document assigning time slots for the workshops, I'll share how that goes next week. I'm already thinking though that I won't emphasis how many per day but how many per week. This will allow time for depth of immersion.
So how did it go? What did we learn? As we didn't begin Winter workshops until Thursday, we only had a sneak preview but it looks quite promising:)
Jem became fascinated by volcanoes, he then sparked an enthusiasm within the other younger boys. All three watched several youtubes on famous and not so famous eruptions and how to make a volcano. Thanks to Kate's tutorial on how to make your own youtube channel I can niftily save youtubes for the children to access.
A decision was then made to make their own volcano, they discussed a few different ideas, choose a couple and discarded the others. One option involved newspaper which we didn't have, another needed an empty lemonade bottle, I suggested a milk bottle but Jack Jack wasn't convinced it would suffice.
The boys began a model that included flour, salt and water, however it was obviously too wet, JJ brainstormed if he could put it into the oven to harden a little and then mold into shape. I suggested we find a shape and cook it in that. We ended up pouring the mixture into a glass pyrex dish and placed a cookie cutter in the middle, not perfect but JJ was happy, afterwards he painted his volcano. Many times over the next couple of days his volcano was to erupt.
Jem has surprised me with his keenness to learn via youtubes, I wouldn't have expected such technicality to hold the interest of a six year old. After a day of immersions in volcanic activity he became engrossed in all things dinosaur. Jack Jack delved into fish of all things, unusual fish.
Michelangelo has long been a user of youtubes for his Science studies, this week he studied the elements, planets and food.
I ran a Faith Quiz with the children, they pretended they had buzzers and thoroughly enjoyed themselves. PC has talked of making us buzzers, I think it's time to encourage him. Many years ago my mum compiled a huge folder of thousands and thousands of quiz questions, a real mix; catechism, saints, Church history, Bible knowledge, Sacraments, Sacramentals, the Mass and more. My mum has given me permission to share these on the 'net, one day I'll have the time to research quiz websites and sort and upload the questions. The children enjoyed the quiz format, happily surprising me with how much they knew and learning along the way. The Faith quiz will be sure to be a regular throughout the Winter Workshops.
Handwriting Boot Camp
The girls choose to do the Handwriting Boot Camp workshop, admittedly they were not the 'target audience' who needed to sign up. Jelly Bean however is keen to improve her cursive and it was a good opportunity for her to do so, Princess has beautiful handwriting and loves to write, I'm going to organise calligraphy lessons for her Boot Camp next week.
You'll note on the form I have several blank workshop spaces, these were intended for any further ideas or independent studies.
Michelangelo turns 16 in little over a week and intends on obtaining his Learner's licence forwith, hence he has been enthusiastically studying the Driver's manual.
Princess has been studying Spanish for some time now using duolingo and has impressed us with how well she is doing.
Bass asked for a craft activity, so with quick help from Pinterest we came up with a Fishy Activity, I combined a template, celery sticks and paint with a fish book and A Book and Activity made a reappearance:) Certainly planning on A Book and Activity to be a regular workshop.
Rocket into Reading
Whilst my 'target audience' here was for the younger children learning to read or needing further support, admittedly it didn't happen these two days. The older, independent readers however are always reading and continued to do so. Very happy to note Princess taking her reading 'up a notch' and currently tackling Jane Eyre, thanks to Anna Maria's suggestion, teen girls always listen to big sisters:)
Off to a great start, looking forward to what next week may bring:)