Tuesday, July 31, 2007

August is Upon Us! Plans in Progress

The monsoon has blossomed!

Every afternoon, the clouds build up over the mountains. Every evening, we get rain showers.
Friday = 0.12 in.
Saturday = 0.59 in.
Sunday = 0.36 in.
Monday = 0. 15 in.

At about 10 PM, the moon comes out to light the drip-drops from the eaves.

August is upon us, and in the burgeoning door garden, the butterflies are busy in lilacs.

It is time to complete the last of the Summer Field Studies Curriculum, and begin to look forward toward the fall.

The last of the three part Field Studies begins in about ten days. We will be taking N. out to the Bay Area, where he will participate in a Children of the Earth Teen Experience, called Coyote Tracks. Children of the Earth Foundation was set up by Tom Brown, Jr. (The Tracker), for the purpose of providing children with a taste of the wilderness experiences he writes about in his books.

N.'s learning will begin as he plans the drive out to California with us. We will be using highway maps and guidebooks to plan the trip to and from the camp. We will calculate milage, figure out how long we will be driving and where we'll need to stop for the night. At the camp, N. will learn " wilderness survival, nature awareness, tracking, and outdoor environmental education" with other teens.

As August comes in, the monsoon cools down the days by providing us with cloud cover in the afternoons and rain in the evening.

We are spending this week outdoors as much as possible, enjoying the garden and the forest. And we are talking about our fall plans.

We have decided to start some of our formal schooling work the week of August 27. We will get back from California around the 20th, and my UNM classes will start on the 21st. N. will have a week to hang out after camp, and then we'll start.

We have decided that Monday,Wednesday, and Friday, we'll do the more formal work for Math, History and Science. On Tuesday and Thursday, N. will work on Kemana II, read and reflect. Writing, formal and informal will be incorporated into all of the work.

The bees are busy in the sage as I write! And we will have a busy year. But we have made some changes from last year's schooling.

I got a catalogue from The Teaching Company, and N. and I decided that some video courses would be a good way to go this year. N. likes to watch parts of videos over again, in order to really get the scene or the film. And he wants to get his math skills to a place where he can be ready for Algebra I by next spring or summer. So we ordered Basic Math from the Great Courses at the Learning Company. Since they are having a sale on their High School Courses, we have also gone ahead and ordered the Algebra I course.We also chose the Joy of Science course, because it gives an overview of the big ideas in science. This week, I will order whatever support materials are needed to go with the courses.

For history, we are going ahead with our timeline approach. We will continue to use Jewish history, with it's shifting centers, as a lens to through which to view world history. This year, we will be starting with the Common Era: the rise of Christianity, the Roman Empire, and the barbarian invasions, and the beginnings of nations in Europe. We should be able to discuss the rise of Islam in the Middle East, the Mound Builders, the Mayans, the Aztecs, and the Anazazi in the Americas, and, at the end of the year, the Crusades back in the old world. That's a pretty full year of history.

When N. begins a full-blown high school curriculum next year, we may decide to begin again with the classics and go through world history over 4 years at a higher level. He'll have a lot to say about that, of course!

What I am really fascinated with is how much N. has had to do with the planning. No longer a little boy, he has decided what his goals will be for math and science, and he has chosen the methods by which he will learn. He even planned for the M,W,F formal studies and T,TH informal studies. I will be doing some direct teaching, since that is the fastest way to learn certain content, but I will share the job with the video courses. But I can see that I will be doing more facilitating and discussion.

N. is growing up and taking charge of his education. He is setting goals. He is blossoming just like the monsoon, the door garden, and the grasses and flowers in the fields and forest!

August is upon us. And I am beginning to get excited about our homeschooling adventure!


momof3feistykids said...

Terrific post, and your photography is phenomenal. :-)

Melora said...

Looks like a really interesting year of history and science! It is wonderful that N. takes such an interest in his studies and is setting himself goals. T. is not like that (well, he does have Goals, but they involve avoiding any academic subjects like the plague).

Elisheva Hannah Levin said...

Thanks, Mom of Three!

Melora, it took us a whole year of deschooling to get to a point where N. expressed an interest in setting his own goals. Last year, when we started this homeshooling journey, I set about it like a "sage on the stage," making plans and buying curriculum with very little dialogue with N. By mid-year, we were talking a lot about what worked and what did not, and I was becoming more relaxed about schedules and plans.
In the spring, we had moved into a completely unschooled situation, giving N. all of the choice about what he did and when, what activities he stopped and which ones he continued. I was quite nervous about this, but forced myself to follow N.'s lead. A turning point for me came when he complete Kamana I on his own, with only support from me. This summer's learning has been entirely his lead. I am learning to discuss, to suggest, to give options and to interfere when I am asked to do so!

Come to think of it, this may be a time to reflect on the past year! I feel a blog entry coming on...

Angela, MotherCrone said...

Thanks so much for the link for Tom Brown...we had no idea he was so close to us! Scout has a few of his books, and will be thrilled to be able to day trip there for events!