Jan 30, 2012

Cat in a hat, zombies, and bats


Here we are at the end of the first "school" day here for 2012. 


Homeschool, unschool, home education???
I have to tell you I am struggling more and more with the term "homeschool" as it is blatantly obvious that this is way beyond any kind of "school" experience here at the Mansted Family Project. 


The biggest problem I have had today is getting a word in edgewise during the 2 read alouds we did...the girls are so fired up and excited. It seems that the inter-disciplinary approach Mike and I have designed for their education is really working as we now start the second year of independent home ed (after an earlier couple of years with Distance Education).


Example: reading about Thales and his discovery of static electricity using amber (elektron in Greek) around 585 BCE "sparked" (sorry!) the girls telling me about electrons jumping from cloud to cloud in lightning and how static makes a balloon stick to your hair and that bulb filaments glow hot as the electrons have to squeeze through the wire...blah blah. You get the picture. It is loud around here : )


Synergy. Linking concepts. Applying. Higher order thinking. Analysing. Synthesis. Creating. Right brain explorations...this is truly a delivery that our gifted kids are thriving on. 






How we do it
How did we come up with this master plan? Frankly, it has been a happy accident of good shopping (for curriculum and kits and books) mixed with our own intense love of learning which (surprise, surprise) seems to gel with our girls too.


New school year planning and timetabling
Naturally, it took all six weeks of the holidays before I finished tidying away 2011's bits and bobs ahem, last night, and actually writing a plan of what we'd use this year: 



Here is the timetable as it stands - and keep in mind that it will probably stay like this for about a week before things move in (and out) and around. Looking at this, we look very structured but once it is underway things can become very "unschool"-ish (another term I really dislike). I need the structure to remember all the wonderful things I have on hand like...



  • Michael Clay Thompson's Grammar Island, Music of the Hemispheres (poetry) and Sentence Island - with November starting Caesar's English 1 by herself this term
  • Life of Fred for November (finishing Fractions and getting into Decimals and Percents)
  • Murderous Maths series for both girls as supplements - Mathematricks for July, and the last bits of The Mean and Vulgar Bits for November
  • Stanford's wonderful online maths program for gifted kids EPGY for July
  • D'Aulaire's Greek Mythology stories and study unit
  • Fallacy Detective for logic and reasoning
  • Story of Science for actual real-life history and the wonderful accompanying teacher and student Quest guides that supplement this great book from Joy Hakim (guides from John Hopkins U.)
  • Alternate dipping weekly into Mapping the World with Art from Ellen McHenry and Drawing on the Right Hand Side of the Brain Workbook
  • Biology and Chemistry experiment and instruction packs from Scyance

No wonder we are excited!


So how did Day 1 go?
Well, other than the aforementioned talking (with bouncing up and down and hands up) in the reading aloud times, it has gone really well. Detours outside occurred to look at the cluster of baby micro bats...



that live on our verandah when it is this wet (ridiculously wet, that is) and to pose as zombies in their very different clothes choices for the day...


while indoor detours included bird watching the fire-tail finches courtship behaviour, colouring in  Greek mythological creatures printed on tracing paper, and of course, making a hat for the cat.

Great day. Now to just keep it all going : )

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