Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Trip to the 1800's

Homeschool Day at Old Sturbridge Village...
certainly an adventure into history!
For the little boy, it's the first time he's ever been...and it stirred up fascination. The little lady, on the other hand, had that 'been there, done that' attitude, although she did enjoy herself. I have to say how delighted I was to watch the two skip hand-in-hand down the Woodlands Walk. A rarity, indeed. Their excited laughter the only noise that could be heard in the woods was something I won't soon forget. <3
The little boy has hopes of going back in order to try to catch a chicken ~ a task he was unsuccessful at today, much to his dismay. Not that we don't have opportunities to catch chickens closer to home. I guess there's something about the Old Sturbridge Village chickens that appeals to him.
When taking in the 1800's fashions, the little lady exclaimed that she'd be the first to "invent pants for girls"..."and sneakers." :D I thought the dresses looked pretty comfortable, although we learned that it required a full month's time in order to make one coat. As far as the shoes, apparently the comfort came from the number of knitted socks one was wearing.
We enjoyed watching the potter make a mug while he talked about trading a door hinge from the blacksmith for a pot, or what have you. He discussed the giant kiln outside his shop which he filled with 800 pieces of pottery a year. This, he did in his "spare" time, when he wasn't busy tending to things on the farm. It was an extra way to trade for necessities or make a little extra money on the side.
The little boy is undecided on his take of life back then. Little Miss is comfortable in the here and now. I, on the other hand, rather enjoyed the simplicity and seemingly satisfying life of old. Watching the little boy engage in a game of hoop toss with some other children at the Village made me wish there were no such thing as Playstation 2, Wii, and Nickelodeon. I'm sure if the little lady would have let her hair down, she would have had fun playing the game, too.
The landscape at the Village is beautiful. The adventure into history is quite interesting. Whether it makes a person appreciate modern conveniences, or whether it sparks daydreams into the past, Old Sturbridge Village is a hands-on learning experience into how far we've come.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Fourth Week.

As our fourth week of homeschooling nears its end, it's a good time to reflect on our first four weeks, as well as gear up for what's ahead. :)
The transition to being taught at home has gone quite well. The little students agree that their new teacher is "lovingly strict" and they're worked a bit harder than they would be if they were attending public school. ;)
We had a fun day spent at Six Flags New England at the end of August. A Friday "celebrate being homeschooled day" at the amusement park, if you will. Seems to have been a major highlight, as it's been the subject of several of the children's writing projects since. :P
The little boy's strong suit is mathematics. He's been wizzing right through and shows real excitement for math. He is also reading his first chapter book, of which will be the subject of a book report he has due on September 14th. We chose for him to read The Boxcar Children because Gertrude Chandler-Warner was from our home town and the Boxcar Museum is open daily here. We plan to pay a visit to the museum, which is inside a cute little caboose, once he has finished reading the book. He said he's really enjoying the book and often talks about what he's reading. It's amazing, especially because he was quite reluctant to read it!
A fine writer our daughter has proven to be! Language Arts is her forte, for sure. Her narratives have been simply impressive, and it's obvious that she enjoys the assignments. She's already completed the book chosen for her book report and stated that she may read it again before it's due back at the library.
American Sign Language (ASL) has been a fun adventure. :) The little boy is really taking to it and doing quite well. Surprisingly, hand coordination is not going too well with the little lady. Hopeful that practice will pay off, we'll keep reviewing the signs we've learned and incorporate signing as much as we can throughout our daily routine.
Most recently, we did some autumn projects together in anticipation of the coming season. These are now decorating our classroom, along with some of the children's artwork from prior years. Both did fantastic jobs on their posters! Two artistes! :D
The children were delighted to learn that they will have "report cards". Our daughter had homeschool report cards in the past. It helps keep them motivated and excited about learning, and it gives them a sense of pride in their accomplishments. We will also be taking school portraits this autumn, which should come as a surprise to all! LOL Perhaps we'll squeeze in a class photo, as well.
Nature was our classroom at the beginning of the week and the precious students absolutely loved taking learning on the road. It's interesting that things can be found that have been overlooked in "play" trips to the park which spark so much curiosity. Our next planned outing is scheduled at the middle of the month for Homeschool Day at Old Sturbridge Village. One of our scholars has never been there and is looking forward to it, while the other is putting it into her head that it'll be the worst day of her life. Haha! Nothing is set in concrete at this time, but a day trip to the new Connecticut Science Center is definitely in order, as is Mystic Aquarium, a local orchard, and Mad Science Homeschool Workshops. :D
We have also been discussing music and learning to play instruments. We have a female aspiring guitarist, but the little boy thinks he'd like to learn to play the drums. ??? With no drum set, in addition to living in an apartment ~ not too sure how that would be possible, but we don't squash dreams here! ;) Even if not the drums, there'll be another instrument for the little boy to learn to play. More work for teacher, as she has to learn to play first, in order to teach the children! :P