Thursday, September 11, 2008

Not Back to School

My favorite season is upon us; cooling temperatures, earlier nights, candles on the dinner table...and fresh pencils, paints, erasers and notebooks! Not to mention good books, beeswax, crayons and yarn. I have stopped questioning the whys of the conditioning that makes some of us school-supply and lesson-plan crazy at this time each year. It just is.

So two weeks into our "school" year, here is what has been happening around our home. We are focusing on North America this month, looking at maps of our area, of the country and the continent, drawing and coloring them and adding information in each child's area of study. The eldest has chosen the Crow Indians to map and study, from a historical perspective, as well as continuing her interest in healing herbs to learn about ones traditionally used by this people. The ten-year old is mapping his favorite poisonous bugs, and looking at the relationship formed between the land they live in, the plants and the people they eat, bite and interact with.

Everyone is doing a bit of math each day, to keep stretch their skills just a little after a summer of mere practice.

We're reading books (picture and longer) on N.America: "Aunt Minnie McGranahan" by Mary Skillings Prigger, "The Boston Tea Party" by Steven Kroll, "Carry on Mr.Bowditch" by Jean Lee Latham and "Indian Captive" by Lois Lenski, to name a few. We are still finishing up Missee Lee, a Swallows and Amazons adventure featuring six sailing children. (And taking advantage of this to work in latitude and longitude and prevailing winds and using a sextant to navigate by.) We will do a brief timeline of US history to keep and fill in as we come across other events later in the year.

We have learned or listened to some great autumn poems and verses, taken nature walks, and reveled in the crisp fall days that have begun.

We have also had days of cuddling up by the fire with knitting and a book on tape to enjoy.

My six-year old daughter and I are reading "The Mary Frances Book of Crocheting and Knitting," as she learns to knit and crochet. She is making a pink scarf for her dolly.

The two eldest received their new penny whistles the other day and have practiced for hours on end ever since.

We have been to visit a friend who fell and is recouping in a nursing home, and another who moved into an independent living home. We attended our library's carnival and plan to take in the Moon Festival there, complete with Vietnamese dancers and Chinese musicians, on Sunday. We have been to the Not-Back-to-School Potluck with our wonderful park day homeschool group. We met with the knitters at church today.

The three older kids have begun their theatre rehearsal again, and are thrilled beyond belief to be back in this group, Charles loves his movie and popcorn time each week while they're gone.

It's a great start to the year.

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