Gearing up?

We sat down this morning and looked at what was coming up in the next couple of months. It seems that while others are gearing down and looking forward to the end of their school year, we are gearing up. That’s the kind of thing that makes me realize that I really am an unschooler.  Wink

Earlier in the spring there was a little flurry of organizing being done by other moms. Our local homeschooling e-mail list was a-buzz with various field trips, classes, etc. Folks around here hibernate a bit in the winter and don’t like to have too many things out of the house that will either be cancelled due to bad weather or involve driving in dubious conditions. So once March rolls around, all the moms who like to organize things get busy. I appreciate this enormously.

So Tigger has been doing a geometry and art class once a week for 3 weeks now and there are 5 more sessions. She’s really liking it. And we carpool with another family so it works well for the moms, too. The same mom who runs that class has also organized some sessions at the War Museum. Tigger will be there for a morning and afternoon session this Thursday.

One of the things we were interested in seemed to be harder to get organized than it should have been. Getting the minimum number of kids took a while and then we’d lost the original dates. So that is only starting on May 9th (yep, it’s on Friday mornings) and due to a previous commitment of the teacher’s on one Friday, it’s going through to July 4th (which is not a holiday here; our day is the 1st). This is a science class loosely based on the Grade 9 curriculum (his description) and covering a bit of physics, a bit of chemistry, and a bit of biology. Tigger is excited and I think it will be a good intro to a range of things that could lead to more detailed study in the future.

The botany study with her dad is going well. So far it has mostly been reading the Elpel books, doing some sketching and talking, and checking out plants in the garden and the neighbourhood. But it is going to expand to include an exploration of local conservation areas and parks. He’s buying a map this evening. And someone at one of the conservation areas has organized a couple of homeschool field trips that they are going to participate in.

We are also trying to figure out when to go to Toronto to see the Darwin exhibit at the ROM. I think we are going to combine it with a visit to the Science Centre and just seeing some friends. But I need to look at train times and work out where to stay and figure that out. Probably the 3rd or 4th week of June, early in the week (so we are back for science class).

I’m one of those people that sees the activities organized for school kids in the holidays as great learning opportunities. One such is a Shakespeare camp run by a local theatre group. That’ll occupy Tigger for 3 weeks of July. They are doing As You Like It. She is really looking forward to it.

So, as you can see, there is no winding down or end of school year around here. We just transition from one set of activities to another. For awhile I was vaguely worried that we weren’t doing any science and now it seems like that’s all we’re doing. We seem to go in waves. I have been trying to keep some sort of record of what is going on, mainly by recording things in a day planner (after the fact). This is haphazard and not at all detailed but I think it is probably a useful exercise. I am still very glad I don’t have to report to anyone.

4 thoughts on “Gearing up?

  1. We also like to take advantage of the camp season — I envy your Shakespeare camp greatly! But V. is off to Concordia Language Villages for 2 weeks of *sleep-away* so that takes a big chunk out of our summer camp budget. Like, all of it. Little V. will get swimming lessons, and actually big V. will get more ice skating, because she is begging for it.

    I think we are much looser in the summer because we like to travel and be outside more — as you know, in the Northern Plains you’ve got to get it while you can!

    I am hoping to plan some American History stuff, as the Constitution is actually stopping at our History museum in honor of MNs 150th birthday, and we will be going back to SD and probably to Mt. Rushmore with friends. I am thinking of pitching it more towards little — fun, hands-on stuff, picture books, maybe some read-alouds.

    Also, obviously we have to take advantage of the Olympics in Beijing to learn more about China this summer!


  2. I do the same thing — recording the kids’ activities in my planners after the fact. Mine isn’t detailed either, but I find it very helpful — especially now that I have a kiddo moving into high school (I’m thinking ahead to transcripts)

    It makes sense to me that your activities follow sort of a seasonal flow instead of adhering to a government-designed calendar. I am fascinated by everything you guys are doing!

    Oh, and thank you for the book recommendations! I ordered S. a used copy of Little by Little and a used copy of The Yellow Wallpaper (an edition that also includes Herland) from Amazon.


  3. I like that “gearing up” idea. You know, I have been thinking that I have been “winding down” but actually, it’s just that a lot of our wintery activities are being replaced with more spring/summery activities. Thanks for the cognitive shift — like the glass half empty/half full perception ;-).


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