We started off the “official” school year with a “Not Back To School” PJ day at the park with other homeschool pals. Then went out for some raw vegan ice cream at Ecopolitan, one of our favorite restaurants. There’s an open view into the kitchen and the kids love watching the staff make the ice cream and usually inundate them with questions while they work.
Ava took a nature photography class for a few weeks which was right up her alley. They learned about the digital camera and went on hikes each day to take pictures. At the end of the course, the kids brought home a pop-up picture displaying the pictures they took as well as some buttons with their favorite bug shots! On the last day of class, Ava wanted to show us the trails she hiked on and we came to a fort-building area where the kids worked on forts for a while with some other homeschoolers. I love watching the kids work when adults stay back and they do their thing! I cringed as I heard one of the older kids yell “timber!” and push over a tall heavy wooden piece three times their size leaned up on a tree. But of course, they had first planned a safe area and made everyone move back away before it. They then measured the board/log with their feet to see if it would fit across some other structures near-by. Then they all worked together to carry it over and test it out.
Ava and Noah ran a kids run during one of my 5K events. Ava did the half mile and Noah did the quarter mile. Amora ran the finish stretch with Ava so she got a medal as well. They did great and were so proud of themselves! During the event they also got to climb a climbing wall and press apples for apple juice.
Noah has started writing and drawing more. While this was something his big sister was always so in to, Noah hadn’t had a lot of interest in it. He wouldn’t even allow me to show him how to hold a pencil. So, I left it up to him. He drew his first real picture a few weeks ago. It’s of him and me. I treasure it! He also has started writing letters. It’s so interesting to me because with Ava I made such an effort to show her each letter and she’d draw it over and over. She enjoyed it and I was still sure that was the only way they learn to write. Noah, has had no such instruction. He hasn’t wanted it and hasn’t been interested in it. Though he does enjoy computer games and the Leap Frog videos which introduce him to the letters, and has liked an occasional worksheet to do on his own. Yet, he asked me how to spell a word recently and as I said the letters, he drew them! And well! I didn’t even realize he already knew what they all were in his head let alone be able to transfer it onto paper so easily. But yes, they learn! They learn without us. Without us forcing them, without us teaching them, without us having them write over and over on paper. They do it because they want to do it. Because they see others around them doing it. Because it’s a natural part of their environment and they want in on it too! I adore learning this as we continue homeschooling. Wow! It’s just so different from what most would have us believe about kids.
In the same way, Noah doesn’t write his name yet. He’s five, and if he were in kindergarten he’d be pushed to do this on a daily basis, which, knowing our son, would frustrate him immensely. He might even be considered failing if he didn’t write his name by a certain age. But he’s simply not interested in it at this time. He refuses to have me write his name on paintings and projects he makes, he thinks it looks “stupid.” So he likes to do things like take apart an old VCR, or experiment with water, and is into organizing things into his own special “keeping boxes.” That’s awesome! I love watching him work. And I’m not worried that he doesn’t want to write his name. When he’s seven or so, he’ll certainly be able to do so without even thinking about it. Or even if it’s later than that, he will learn it. He will learn it when it makes sense for him to do so.
Science has been a fun subject around here lately. Though, I don’t really find it necessary to separate life learning into subjects, the kids LOVE when we do science experiments and visit the science museum. Our recent visit to the science muesum was so wonderful. Noah’s main reason for going is always the dinosaurs. And this time, was no exception. All the way there he asked about the dinosaur exhibits and confirmed, “this is the museum with the dinosaurs, right???” However, he and Ava got so caught up in a wind catching tunnel that he really didn’t have any interest in the dinos this time. They each got to design a wind catching object using a paper cup and other materials, then test it in the wind tunnel to see if it would catch the updraft up to the top. They spent so much time there and then began teaching other kids that got there how to make the best wind catcher. Amora worked on a little wind turbine. And not just played at it, but really worked at it! She tried over and over to get the blades at the right places and angles to catch the wind from the fan.
We also watched Tornado Alley at the Omnitheatre which the kids thought was pretty awesome, and saw the actual vehicle featured in it on display. Later, we went up to see the real, live, (well, dead) mummy. Ava chatted with the woman staffing the exhibit asking questions about it (and some other life/death questions the staff member handled with grace). As she was busy I went to see what Noah was up to and found him talking all about the bones and artifacts with a man who was chaperoning a group of older children. For a while there I wasn’t sure what to do with myself! So Amora and I put together a puzzle while the kids were learning from the resources they had found.
Also this month, we went to homeschool days at the aquarium, a fall festival with scarecrows, a wagon ride, and apples, and we broke out a science kit with the neighbor kids and learned about test tubes, pipets, and combining colors and trying (unsuccessfully, of course) to mix oil and water. Ava got her own lap top computer for in her room. She spends so much time in there now working on games, listening to music, and typing/drawing. Also, she continues with gymnastics and art classes and Noah had an insect class that he absolutely loved, at a local nature center.