Thursday, June 07, 2007

Summer Pondering

I have been trying to decide whether to change my mode of record-keeping for the summer. There is this article on Unschooling Recordkeeping. But part of my reason for being attracted to unschooling is because so much of life doesn’t fit into little subject compartments. And ahem, to be honest, the kind of learning my kids tend to do does not fit there either. Rarely do they have a pure “math” experience, for instance. Last summer, Kieron became proficient at mental decimal math by looking up things on Ebay and Lego and adding in shipping. During the fall, he learned quite a lot about fractions by helping me bake. But this sort of thing seems diminished, somehow, to me, by calling it math.

Then there is this Unschooling Record Keeper. It lists things like movies watched, books read, discussions, field trips, evidence of progress, and so on. I think this is a bit closer to how I’d like to keep records during the summer. Maybe the idea is to list the books, games, experiences etc and then later compile them somewhat by subject IF I think I need to.

Today Clare and Liam got digital cameras. Liam got a camera for an early 21st birthday present. He will turn 21 when we are in Ireland! So I gave the camera to him today so that he could get used to it before we leave. Clare used her savings to buy her camera. It was on a half price sale at Amazon. I was going to upload a picture but I seem to be having trouble with the logistics. Anyway, I’ve noticed in the past few days that my older kids can read instruction manuals better than I can. This is a useful life skill.

The last couple of days we have been playing a game sort of like Bingo called HEART — the board has names of various saints by chronological order and the cards you call have some info about the saints. THe nice thing about this type of game is that even the littlest ones can play and it doesn’t really matter if they lose interest and walk off.

I have been reading a whole pack of Montessori at Home books, trying to get ideas for things to plan for Aidan (and Paddy) next year.

Some of the habits we built up during the school year have been sliding recently. I know it is because I have been doing all this decluttering and organizing and am distracted.

The teens have watched several Humphrey Bogart movies recently:

Key Largo
African Queen

Paddy has been so much calmer since we went back to twice a week video games. The other day he said “I am invisible and I am everywhere. I can do anything. I am called God!” This is a bit disturbing theologically : ) but it showed that he is processing the endless replies I give to his equally endless questions about the qualities of God.

Aidan helped me rake today. I make it my goal to haul off 7 wheelbarrows of needles, twigs, etc to the burn pile, every day. Today he helped me shovel the debris into the wheelbarrow. At first, most of it slid off his shovel, but after a while he learned to grip it and lift it, using his hemiplegic left hand as well. He has an unerring instinct that tells him when he’s done something worthy of pride. He has so many good qualities: great work ethic, great confidence, great initiative. I only managed 5 wheelbarrows today, but the slowing down was worth it to see him mastering the job.