11 November 2008

Catching up

This is the first of what I hope will constitute a chronicle of the year of Augustus' home schooling. There is much to say to catch up since I should have been doing this from the get go. Needless to say, all is in order and I'll be able to "wrap this thing up and summarize and conclude real quick" (RosannaDannaDan).Then I can get to the fun stuff like posting adventures and pictures, etc. SO for now we're up and running, home schooling since September, though it's almost more De-schooling, or unschooling. What I feel I've been doing is to dissect how Augustus learns what he does, and how he percieves his world. What do his senses feed his mind. What sort of filter is his mind and how does it decode all the information he takes in.

Since home schooling, so far, is a study in how Augustus processes information, thus how to engage him--it is a gently unfolding, organic thing. (Mostly, I think I'm closer to "unschooling".) Eg., Wondering why he didn't want to read, or why he would fall asleep after 20-30 minutes of reading got me thinking about his visual processing and vision issues which led me to wondering about his vision--so we got his eyes tested. Turns out he's a bit far sighted; just enough to make reading really tiring. So now he has reading glasses and reads just fine. It's not his favorite thing, but he does it willingly. (How is it that school doesn't test vision?!) Anyway, things like that, getting into this with baby steps.

The next processing issue I need to explore is math. He has a hard time with it. So I need to understand how his brain wants to process complex multiplication 'cause the way I'm trying to teach it doesn't make sense to him and we both get frustrated. Roger is reading a book on how math is taught in China and I'm waiting for him to weigh in. So for now math is playing darts, or making change at the store, or finding other practical applications. I figure the way we learn anything when we are pumped to learn it, he's not falling behind,i.e., he'll catch up on any subjects we're missing. He also learned to really ride a bike this fall--something he's been afraid of for some time. He is a different child to the outside viewer--more calm, happier.

For structured activities, we are still doing suzuki cello, and an interactive (live) web class for physics (sciencejim.com), as well as AYSO soccer and fencing. Then, we pair up medieval studies with the fencing--sometimes we read, sometimes watch movies, or, for example, today we made a sword and shield in the wood shop. We have a latin curriculum, but I have yet to jump into it. We've been taking full advantage of the online library system which now allows one to request any material in the Chicago Public Library system to be sent to one's personal branch--books, movies, audio--luxurious!

That's all for now folks. More tomorrow when I post photos of our first field trip out of state!

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