May 20, 2010

A Day in the Life by Becky

So, I’m at the stage of homeschooling where I can still do whatever I want – in that technically he’s still four (five in June) and I don’t really care to sit down and write his curriculum just yet. So, for now, I allow his whims to guide us. This week, said whims guided us to a 3-D dollar store book on space. In that this fed into his endless fascination with spaceboys and rockets and aliens – I thought this would be a great time to build up some real and actual concepts about the solar system and space travel.

Now, as with all his whims, my main goal is to build a foundation of big concepts – and not to get caught up in the little details and distract him with ephemera. And beyond that, the dollar store book was written by someone with questionable authority in the area of aeronautics and astronomy, nor a great grasp of English – so we just sort of “fake” read the book. I would let him point to pictures and then I would talk.

The foundation points that I wanted to get out of this little unit were these:

1) the earth is made of rock,

2) we revolve around the sun and the moon revolves around us

3) there are bigger planets than us, the sun is a star (this leady to a lengthy debate in which I declared Luke the winner and he was allowed to continue to live in a world where the sun is a really cool planet with cool fire/alien people inhabiting it and someday he would go there and meet them – he’s only four, let him live the dream)

4) Saturn has rings

5) what those rings are made of

6) that a spaceship is called a spaceshuttle

7) that it needs boosters to get through the atmosphere

8) that it can be piloted like a plane to return to earth

9) that russia, china and the united states are the only three countries with the technology to go into space

10) that china and the united states call spaceboys “astronauts” and that Russia calls them “cosmonauts”…and so on and so on.

So, being that I’m such an artsy person, I try to drill a lot of this information into his little head as I keep his hands busy with an art project.

First I pulled out a piece of black paper and a white crayon. I told him to draw the sun at the center and to draw whatever planets he wanted to from there. He chose to draw Saturn (shocker), the earth, it’s moon and one of his alien buddies living on the Sun. from here we chose our paper colors and started to cut them up in little tiny bits to be glued onto their corresponding planets. I then wrote identifying words and he copied them.

As he did this we just ran over the information again and again and again. I will continue to quiz him for the following week whenever the topic comes up or I stumble upon him building a space shuttle or talking to his alien robot friends (made out of cardboard and wrapped in duct tape, there are 5 or 6 of them now). I found that it was the most important for me to continually stress who orbits around who – a core piece of knowledge he needs to get down before we go any further.

Anyhoo, this is how my loosey-goosey brain has decided to approach homeschooling at this age. Oh, and as a side note – why do they insist on making all kids material 3-D when 90% of kids hate the 3-D glasses and refuse to wear them (my kids representing the 90%, of course). I’m beginning to wonder if my kids think their world is just poorly drawn and covered in an angelic fuzzy glow. Go figure.

I also included a pic of what Charlie does 75% of the time we have school - stack tuna cans and ignore us. I don't know what she'll play with if we ever have to eat our food storage.

You can always find Becky over at

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