Friday, February 20, 2009

Cloud, meet silver lining.

February sucks. It almost feels like a cursed month. Everyone gets sick and by the time it passes around the four of us, some other bug starts up right on cue. The days are still short and seasonal affective disorder wreaks havoc on people. Doubly terrible when you are bipolar. So classes are missed, you start to feel like a shut-in, the kids are climbing the walls from boredom and sickness fatigue and all there is left to do is count days until spring. My only consolation is that everyone else is suffering from it too. At the last gym class more than half the kids were absent.

Still, something good has come of all this. We've been feeling particularly motivated in the school department these days. I sat down with Alex and came up with a game plan for lessons and projects we would like to accomplish. I think of Spring and Summer as a complete term. I find we do more at that time of year than in the dark days of winter. The kids still get to do all their fun summer stuff, just with a side of math and science. So I came up with the subjects and he narrowed down the topics.

Math - alternate books. Finish Miquon and move on to Singapore. Finish Singapore and move to the next Miquon. No time line here. Just keep trekking on as usual. Math is now scheduled every morning, after breakfast and piano. Minimum two sections (about 4 pages) completed.

Science - Weather, the planets, and oceans are the main topics to be addressed. We will plan projects and unit studies for all three. Right now we are working on weather. Reading books, drawing pictures. Severe weather, like hurricanes are a current favourite.

Geography - We picked three countries to learn about. These unit studies will include learning about the people that live there, touch on language, and include a food lesson. I can't wait until we do Italy, lol. Alex picked Greenland, Spain and Morocco. The latter two because he had visited both as a baby and he wants to incorporate real photos of our trip.

History - Pioneers and the two great wars. With WW1&2 he is more interested in weaponry and modes of transportation, like subs and early planes. After reading the biography of the Wright brothers (on his own) he was fascinated with Orville's contribution to the US War Department and how planes changed basic warfare strategies.

Social Studies - Groups, like families, and our place in society.

Everything else - Some spelling, more writing, working on his comic books and lots of reading.

This gives us an outline. My timeline is pretty loose. Just to try and accomplish as much as we can before September. Its not like we won't be learning a million other things as we go along. Makes me feel better, knowing he would be heading to school all day next year, that we have a plan. Or outline. It can be difficult balancing all the lessons, play-dates and group outings. We can get too caught up with everything else that home lessons feel haphazard at best. Definitely a strike while the iron is hot moment. We are all on the same page and eager to learn. It feels good.

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