March is nearly over, and I'm not done writing my math post yet. I started it... and then I spent a day throwing up. Which is how one of my children feels about math, actually. I recently found an old homeschool journal in which I wrote about this child: "I just want him to learn to like to read, to think math isn't "boring", and to write using real letters instead of made up ones."
"I guess we got 2 out of 3," I told him.
"No, I still write using made up letters," he said.
Inspired by Tolkein, he invents alphabets these days. I'm pretty sure most of the story he's writing is in English, though.
I was going to call this an "in review" post, but then I wasn't sure if you could call what we've been doing "school"... maybe a lot of unschool. Except not totally unschool either, because there was math and it was "boring". So there was learning, but only a fraction was orchestrated by me.
Maybe that's as it should be. Because it's nice to see that some of your ideas -- written many years ago by a much less experienced you -- have borne fruit, and your kids really do like to read, and to learn, and can even write using real letters when they need to.
I still don't know how to make math not boring, but I'm working on it. Maybe next year. Anyway, one thing I've learned since I wrote that old journal is that not all learning has to be exciting.
So, some March highlights.
Katydid has had the camera out quite a bit lately, documenting spring. Coming up on her agenda: an "azaela festival", in our shady backyard area the kids have dubbed Azaela Garden.
Some other photos I found on the camera:
Carolina chickadee, taking off...
Of course, then I also find pictures like this:
I'm not sure who took this photo. I think it was from the day I was sick.
(Don't worry. No preschoolers were harmed in the making of this photo. They have been warned not to do it again, though.)
Katydid is looking forward to the new photography series on the Weather Channel featuring photographer Peter Lik. Over the weekend we watched a recorded NOVA about E.O. Wilson called Lord of the Ants, which she also enjoyed, particularly (I think) the sections about Wilson as a boy naturalist. I think that Andy and I enjoyed it even more, though, because, as the parents of children who spend a lot of time mucking around in the woods and yard with ants and other creatures, it was nice to see the where that sort of learning can end up, and not, you know, as a deadbeat living in your parents' basement.
Anyway, lots of ants and insects around here lately (and by lots of ants, I mean, really, billions) and the little boys have had a good time catching them using nearly every single one of my Mason jars. Farmerboy has enjoyed setting up food experiments for his ants. I'm hoping to get a decent schedule going for the first time all year (in spite of stomach viruses and baseball season) and am trying to read to the younger boys while they eat their breakfast. We've just started Insect Life from the Eyes and No Eyes series and Among the Meadow People.
In addition to insects, there are still dinosaurs. Andy and I have been putting up some new Ikea bookcases in the hopes of finally unpacking the garage, and in one of the boxes I found an old dinosaur skull kit that Gareth had built a few years ago but forgotten or gotten frustrated with. He popped the rest of it together and Farmerboy spent a couple of afternoons applying clay:
He even added taste buds to the tongue with a clay tool.
Farmerboy's favorite TV show these days is Meteorite Men, so in addition to his dinosaur construction, he has also been throwing rocks in the front yard to test various theories about craters, strewn fields, etc. So now we have a rule: Before any meteorite experiment, you have to yell "CLEAR!"
This isn't all we've been up to -- the little boys have become addicted to starfall (which now has a sister site with math, some of which you can only access with a subscription), Farmerboy is still struggling slowly through reading, and Gareth has begun working with his Greek tutor -- but it's where I'm going to have to stop. Something I'm learning -- how to feed everyone around all the baseball practices!