16 July 2008

Homeschooling in July?

Yes, we do! We're on a relaxed sort of schedule, but we school year-round. Most of the reason we do this is because Elf is autistic and has decided that this is part of the weekday routine. We take a little time off here and there, but mostly on weekdays we spend at least a few hours on math and reading.

In mathematics, we're learning the different ways to express division. We're also doing equivalent fractions in that 3/4 is the same as 6/8. Now we're learning that it's because we're multiplying the fraction by 2/2. I've taught the boys since they were bitsy that 1/1, 2/2, 3/3 and etc. are all variants of ONE. Because if I have one piece out of a one-piece pie, it's one pie. Two pieces out of a two-piece pie is... one pie. Three pieces out of a three-piece pie is ... one pie. And so on. But in real life, the little pieces get so messy and the fruit slops out. The children know well enough that evenly dividing pies is a very abstract concept.

And even though four is bigger than three, cutting a pie into MORE pieces means the pieces are smaller. This seems to be the most difficult concept to grasp, but the children caught on quicker than you might think when I passed out food items this way. Just show them the fraction of a bowl of Teddy Grahams. Do you want 1/2, 1/8, or 1/4 of the bowl? They didn't ask for 1/8 again when 1/2 was a possibility next time.

In English, we're reading the Mary Pope Osborne renderings of The Odyssey. Odysseus strikes me as a rather bad commander. He just left 11 ships to the rock-throwing giants and has sent half his men to be turned into swine by Circe. He's only going to outsmart her because Hermes has shown up. Their theology is a little strange in that no one seems to question, well, where was Hermes *before* the 11 ships' worth of men got eaten up? Hmm? Looks like all the books on "When Hermes Doesn't Make Sense" have been lost to the mists of time.

We've printed up some Ancient Greek people in their tunics, and then printed up some paper doll clothing to go with them. This will be a fun colouring project, and they can act out the story. Paper dolls are very doable for boys when they happen to have removeable armour and spears. The boys have plans for an historically accurate battle later, which will take place in their Fisher Price English castle against some Bionicles and a stuffed tiger. I'm going to log the hours they play this game as an elective "Creative History" course in my logbook. (kidding. But the "art" part where they make the dolls counts.)

In science, the boys have FINALLY FINISHED their unit on the human body! I don't think I've ever been more happy to pack a book away. We all just hated the unit for some reason. I don't think it's the material. Somehow we all just built a dread up to doing this work and it literally took us months to get through that Lifepac. But we got it done and they do know the material. Usually we're pretty happy about learning something new and I can't figure out why this particular unit was so troublesome.

We'll actually start social studies once we have learned a bit about Ancient Greece. I keep meaning to get 'round to the Bob Jones curriculum I carefully purchased with all the kit items, special timeline, listening CD, additional texts, etc. etc. etc. and here we go off writing notes for Flat Stanley and reading the Odyssey. We're having a lot of fun, and we can get away with that sort of thing now, but later we're just going to have to be more determined to do the stuff that goes with each year during that year. I can't say I'm scatterbrained per se, more that I see an opportunity where the boys are excited about learning something and we just do that for a little while.

God bless ya and happy summer!

1 comment:

  1. It sounds like things are going good with school. That makes me happy. Were those lifepacs the ones I sent you last year? Are you still using those? Wow! I'm glad you were able to use them. We're starting school in two weeks. I can't wait. The kids however aren't enthused as much as I am because they know that they are doing more work.

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