a few of my favorite things…

March 31, 2015

We are winding down now, with only a month left of school.

 

 

Some of my favorite things from this year:

 

All the Minecraft learning.

mam-made Stampycat doll

 

I think I have come a long way compared to the days when I was annoyed with all the MC Youtube videos the kid would incessantly watch. Now I watch them right along with her and sometimes even sneak an episode of Stampy in my own freetime. I no longer just nod my head when she throws all the gaming lingo at me but actually speak the speak with her. Ever since I asked her to share Minecraft with me, it is like a door was unlocked, and I love that I have a sweet, patient guide to this new world.

multiplication tower for math

 

Besides trying to do some of our work via Minecraft, such as her Lincoln exhibit and math lessons, it has also been a great platform for her to build an expertise and then share her knowledge with others. She has spent hours reading and watching about MC in addition to her time spent in game. She nerds out and exchanges knowledge with friends–I really do love it when she shows friends how to ride a pig. I am also inspired by how she shares Minecraft with me. She makes sure that I have a firm basis in the game, constantly sharing info, posing questions, mostly patiently answering all of mine, and challenging me to keep getting better (she makes sure I don’t just know how to build but also how to battle zombies and the like). Going through this process with her has also provided a space for us to discuss how she learns best–a conversation that I look forward to continuing to watch grow…

 

Field trips with friends! I love that we have a homeschool group to go on field trips with, but we also enjoy going with regular old friends, too. So far this year our ventures included going to an Andy Warhol exhibit, cedar glade, basset hound rescue fundraiser, two horse stables, swimming pool, cemetery, petting farm, historic house (too many times for her taste, though), botanical garden full of bug sculptures, zombie walk, natural history museum twice, kids’ science center, camping with our Girl Scout troop, theater twice, park a million times, with still more to come (and I may have missed some). Really we can’t get enough field trips…

my little bug heaven for my horse loving girl the cutest teddy bear of a lamb

 

I love that for independent reading she chose to pick up Harry Potter again. The series was her first book love, and it makes my heart happy that the embers are still burning brightly…

 

All the new books we read. Besides The Borrowers all of our read-alouds were new to both of us, which I don’t always seek out. Usually I feel like I am introducing my favorites to her, so it is nice to discover new ones with her…

 

Watching and discussing movies with her. We haven’t watched many new things, mostly old favorites,  but I really do love experiencing movies with her. We probably talk more with movies than with our read-alouds, but I am perfectly fine with that. I am taking this as inspiration for next year to deepen the conversation even more…

 

I also love experiencing poetry with her. Until we started doing the Brave Writer poetry teatimes, I had not read much poetry beyond required reading in school and Lily had not read any. We don’t always drink tea with our poetry but carving out time to even if we only have just read a single poem to each other each week making it a routine has added to our homeschool in many ways. She gets practice in reading fluency; it’s another strand with which to enrich our language-arts tapestry; I get to make up for all those years with no poetry. By far her favorite is You Read to Me, I’ll Read to You written by John Ciardi and illustrated by Edward Gorey. My favorite is a vinyl recording of Dylan Thomas reading his poetry…

reading from her favorite poetry bookmy favorite

Outdoor education is also a favorite and a constant in our homeschool. This year she is taking a homeschool class from our local nature center. Besides providing a group learning opportunity, it has also served as springboard into our nature studies at home. Last year we didn’t use a formal science curriculum but had various kinds of science fun here and there. I love the depth of this for science study and plan to take it as inspiration for what we do next year…

checking out aqua critters in our creek

Also, adding bones to our nature collection was super rad.

deer bones

She’s not so interested in the work of cleaning them, but that is okay with me–more fun for me. I cleaned up a deer skull and vertebrae and will be working on a box turtle shell next…

 

Studying chemistry was really done on a whim based on a conversation about her interests. Until recently though I didn’t realize that her vision of chemistry involved explosions, meanwhile we had been doing a fairly boring Minecraft class about the elements followed by the curriculum, Inquiry in Action. While Inquiry in Action was not exactly the showy chemistry she was expecting, it was still an excellent curriculum, including not only activities to understand chemistry-related concepts but also to practice the scientific method…

 

I also love crafting with her.

This year we’ve done more sewing and a bit of knitting. She also got into making loom band bracelets. My favorite is working on projects with her for her doll, and I look forward to adding to her wardrobe over the next year, too…

 

I already reviewed our Lincoln study so I won’t repeat that. Right now we are studying fashion history, which started out with us following a timeline. Now I just ask her what she would like to look at each week using the Survey of Historic Costume textbook I held onto from my own studies and various Youtube videos as inspiration. Lily said she wanted coloring sheets, but I couldn’t find one comprehensive resource I liked so we used some of these paper dolls from Practical Pages and I also made some of my own using my geeky prowess. We also had discussions about technology and social history, which were a nice bonus for this history nerd–more history, yes please.

As part of our study we also went to an exhibit of wedding dresses owned by women from our community. It was one of the best museum experiences I have ever had. Another visitor, an older lady, started a conversation with us by asking Lily where she went to school. Lily answered that she homeschools and the lady actually had a supportive response, which was refreshing in comparison to our other exchanges with strangers on the topic. She shared about her experience in attending a country school (I ‘m assuming one-room school based on her description). She also shared with us that her wedding dress and her husband’s suit were in the exhibit and talked some about their wedding story. Then she told us about his experience in World War II and about a documentary that included his story, which brought their family an opportunity to visit sites where he had fought. When we got home I watched the documentary and realized I may have missed out by avoiding military history in my studies; it’s about more than just military tactics and engagements…

 

Recently we also decided to do more Girl Scout badges independently from our troop to complete any remaining ones she is interested in before she bridges to Juniors at the end of the year. Right now she is working on the Make-Your-Own badge. Her topic is books, and she has decided to make a PSA about book care, make a poster showing the parts of a book, learn more about her favorite author, and learn how to and then construct a book. She can earn one of these badges each year so I think we may do it again next year as part of school…

 

 

All in all, I am really glad that I have stopped planning solely based on what I think she should learn and instead that she takes the lead more. I am also taking joy in being inspired by what we do to take up in my own learning. I think this is my favorite year so far…

 

 

 

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