First of all, Dawson received his acceptance letter for college this week! He wants to attend a nearby community college to utilize the A+ scholarship he has earned. This is so exciting for me because when we took him out of public school at the end of 7th grade to homeschool him, my main goal was to help him come to a place where he enjoyed learning and would desire to seek further education beyond high school (if his chosen field required it). Not only does Dawson enjoy learning, but his future plans include being a high school history teacher! What a scary thing it was for us to start the homeschooling journey. But what a life-changing decision that was for our family.
Are you afraid to fail? I think human nature causes us to be extremely fearful of making mistakes, or devastated when we do. Lately I have been really in-tuned to the fact that making mistakes and wrong decisions is just part of life and that we should not be fearful of it. I, personally, learn the most when I make mistakes. It seems to be a big topic of conversation with the kids, too, from Kyndal making changes to her wedding and the little kids trying something with their schoolwork and messing up. It's okay!!
Brynne has decided that she wants to write, direct and produce a movie based on the first book in the Warriors series: Into the Wild. She is currently writing the screenplay. At first she was so nervous and worried about how hard it was going to be and concentrating on all of the difficulties. But we discussed how she would have some successes and failures in this endeavor, but that is OKAY!
Which leads up to the fact that our schooling the past couple of weeks has resembled unschooling. We are so NOT an unschooling family, but delight-directed learning has led us there. How do you tell your student "no" when they say they want to make a movie? She has taken a love for reading to a new level. She is writing, without having to follow prompts. She is creating a story. She is planning her characters and setting. She has even thought about how she will get the credits onto her movie and where she will show it (she is thinking the public library). A planned science experiment or a math page seems like nonsense when this kind of self-directed learning is going on.
The only problem is that I have to keep Eli motivated and learning during Brynne's creative process. He has been honing up on his skills on Stack the States and Stack the Countries and continuing to work on his Lord of the Rings and Hobbit maps. He is a very creative young man who can spend hours in his room playing. He is being creative all day every day. That counts for something. He is writing stories, too, but just in his mind.
This shift in paradigm has come at a good time as we have been dealing with some daily life junk that has required attention and drained me of much-needed energy for active teaching. Plus it's just really darned cool to see your kids be so excited to do something!
There will be plenty of days for grammar and math. But this boost of creativity might only last a couple of days ... or it could be the start of a budding career. These are the things we must support in our students.
In addition to all of this creative fun, we did manage to do a few other things this week. (Brynne ended up running a fever with a sore throat yesterday, so school these past two days has been from the couch.) The kids stayed caught up on current events with CNN Student News. We read aloud a few chapters of The Long Winter. We watched the clips for the last five states we are learning the capitols for: Oklahoma, New Mexico, Arizona, Alaska and Hawaii. We practiced all of our capitols with flashcards, did a crossword puzzle, and then took our state capitols tests (they wrote the capitol next to each provided state, they wrote the capitol on the appropriate state on a map, and then they wrote the state next to each provided capitol.) They did lots more reading, with Brynne now on the second book in the Warriors series: Fire and Ice and Eli reading Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever. The kids also watched a couple more episodes of Brain Games with daddy. What a great show! Math and grammar ... nah. We didn't get to those.
Brynne will start her new after school program called Girls on the Run next Thursday. She missed the first class because of being sick. She will meet with 3rd-5th grade girls at the elementary school on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons for positive self-image and health classes and to train for a 5K. I'm going to have Eli go to the library on those afternoons and work on the library educational computers, read, and attend the Lewis and Clark class (they attended last year, but it's good for him to get out.) He is also working on a new style of bowling for their upcoming state bowling tournament.
What a great week of learning.
No failure there.