The previous post was made in response to a bunch of emails I recently received regarding homeschooling. I tend to get lost in thought sometimes and just have to get my feelings out. I can really empathize with parents who are so fed up with the school system and know in their hearts that homeschooling might just be the answer - but they're held back by the unknown. It's important to realize that nothing is ever set in stone. There is always the option to change what isn't working, whether that means coming home, going back to school, changing curriculum, or taking a well-deserved breather from anything structured.
Speaking of structure, W and I redid his schedule to include less AO books and more workbooks, science experiments, internet research, and hands-on projects. I still read to him - we've just started Wind in the Willows - and he reads out loud to me (his fave now is If You Lived in Colonial Times). He does copywork and poetry every day, we do nature study once a week, and narrations are important. I really do believe that narrations of the books we read are the precursor to good writing skills. The AO books we're keeping are: Joan of Arc (Stanley), A Tree in the Trail (Holling), Seabird (Holling), Pagoo (Holling), Handbook of Nature Study (Comstock), all the free reading - Understood Betsy (Canfield), The Wind in the Willows (Grahame), Robin Hood (Pyle), A Wonder Book (Hawthorne), Tanglewood Tales (Hawthorne), Five Little Peppers and How They Grew (Sidney), Thumbelina and Other Fairy Tales (Anderson), Pied Piper of Hamelin (Browning), Five Children and It (Nesbit), Farmer Boy (Wilder), The Story of Doctor Dolittle (Lofting), Brighty of the Grand Canyon (Henry), Mr. Popper’s Penguins (Atwater), Chanticleer and the Fox (Cooney), Along Came a Dog (Jong), The Door in the Wall (De Angeli). The Charlotte Mason methods and principles are staying put as well. You see, W loves the curriculum and the method, but he doesn't like being tied to a specific timeframe. I get that. I enjoy having a guideline/starting point and I'm comfortable with the endless tweaking of it to suit our needs. We should all live by that thought. Nothing in life is really constant - especially when it comes to kids. We always need to go with the flow. "Unschooly, eclectic AO" is more W's style. Love that, lol.
W's cub scout Pinewood Derby is tomorrow, J has 2 private dance lessons today (for her solo and her new duet) and 3 hours of group classes - the next competition is next weekend, and K had a blast on her college overnight trip. She visited 3 SUNY schools starting with Albany - then Oneonta, and then Sienna - and finished at Marist. She left yesterday morning at 6am and will be home tonight at around 7pm.
W's new passion is weapon-making. He's fascinated with putting together his own contraptions. He has made homemade blow darts (out of aglets and pins), sling shots, and awesome crossbows made from chopsticks, disassembled pens, rubberbands, tons of tape, and big clips. I have to hand it to him for creativity. The crossbow is so cool and works well. The chopsticks are used as the main frame, the empty pen cylinder is where the ammo goes (which is the ink tube of the pen - with the tip still on or fitted with a pin). The clip holds the rubber bands in place and acts as a trigger which then shoots the "arrow" out really fast. He's very careful and keeps all his supplies together in one place. It's fun to watch him. And he made these all on his own without any help. Check it out in action: