Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Already thinking of Summer~ making plans

We are already thinking of Summer ~ it is early but being the beginning of May and where portfolios are due for us the first week in June, it's about right.

We have had some really warm days and I just can't wait to be able to run around barefoot in the grass and enjoy a picnic outside on our front porch~ the bbq's and baseball games on the radio, oh I could go on....

I have been thinking of things we are going to be doing for summer. While we do stop our traditional studies we do begin our summer (which starts in June for us) with unschooling and delight directed learning, (well somewhat).

Right about this time of the year (I can say that now since we will be going into our fourth year of learning at home) - I end up keeping a close eye on the boys interests and sometimes we may sit and have a chat about what we wish to do for projects or unit or literature studies.

This year the boys have taken me by surprise~ they have been coming to me asking me and letting me know what they wish to work on~ here are some things they have come up with that we will be doing:
13 Year Old - Chemistry, lapbook and experiments, setting up a lab etc..
- Oceans, lapbook and some field trips out to the beach for further exploration
- Rockets & Fire Works- we plan on building some rockets and setting them off -
Dad plans on helping out with this unit, not sure who will have more fun him or
the boys. (wink)
- Coordinates - wants to learn all about them to help him in his video games
- Scratch - this is a programming tool that he has wanted to do for the longest time.
- Studying Pop Rocks - I think this falls into chemistry again.. I see a pattern
starting here :) He wants to know what makes pop rocks pop and how they work.
- Stock Market, how it works and wants to give his hand a try~ says he has some
"ideas" :)

11 Year Old - Birds Study - ( my nature boy who loves animals) wants to study all the birds
in our backyard, we already have begun setting up feeding stations etc..
- Life Cycles - (again my animal lover) wants to learn about lots of life cycles of
- Oceans Study, plan to also incorporate a Art/Sea Mammal Study too and possibly
dabble a bit in marine biology for my guy~ :)
- Rockets and Fire Works, he will want to do this with big brother and dad
- Research a business - wants to learn all about the company LEGO and also
VELCRO how they began etc.. patents...

We may be adding more to the list I was thinking of kind of going with BFIAR for the summer but these may keep us very busy indeed.

Most days for our summer, we end up reading in the afternoon, right after lunch so they can keep up with their reading skills and fluency, (this can be quite important to do while working with dyslexics) and I also was planning on having them maybe 15 minutes before or after dinner work an online game for their math facts just to keep things fresh in their memory.

Now to gather resources for our units which I will try and share as I get the information pulled together~ Summer is almost upon us and we are ready for every drop!


elysabeth said...

I think that's awesome you are planning for activities that keep the learning going now, and that the kids are actually starting to come to you with their ideas and possible activities they would like to do. Keep up the great job. E :)

Elysabeth Eldering
Author of the Junior Geography Detective Squad, 50-state, mystery, trivia series
STATE OF WILDERNESS, now available
STATE OF QUARRIES, now available
STATE OF ALTITUDE, coming May/June 2010

Where will the adventure take you next?


Cindy K. said...

This kind of summer planning is really cool! I will have to ponder how that would work for us, and of course, how it would look in our family!

Learners at Home said...

Cindy~ this can look different in every home I am sure. It would depend on their interests, the time you have etc.. Our boys are really looking forward to our change of pace and are anxious to get moving on some more interest-driven learning. We start the beginning of June, so right now we are just preparing our portfolios and finishing up a few odds and ends with our structured studies. ~ :)

Learners at Home said...

Elysabeth, thank you for your kind words, NOW, what happens if they keep adding to our LIST! lol Hmm, big difference from when they first started learn from home. What a difference a few years makes~ :)

Cindy K. said...

OK, once your kids come up with a list of things they want to learn about over the summer, what do those studies look like? Is there a project they work on, is there an end product from their learning, or are they just free to read and research on their own without necessarily producing anything? One of mine does not like lapbooking (he says), but the other I think would enjoy it if that's all he was working on and if it was a topic that he picked out. I am trying to figure out what kinds of choices I can give the first son in addition to lapbooking to be a project that gives his "child-directed learning" a focus of some kind so that it doesn't just get pushed aside. Any ideas? Should I be posting this on one of my Yahoo groups instead of here?

Learners at Home said...

Perhaps both would be great for you since here you can get only my opinion but on the groups, as you know, you get many more.
One of my boys likes Lapbooks and one doesn't, so I have the same thing.
I usually will pick out some books for the topic when we go to the library or research it on our online library catalog and then go and search more with the boys there and then will find web resources, and games for the topic to mix things up, they may do a poster and a notebooking page~ for a few of my units I have found lapbooks that my younger son plans to do, I ended up getting some for the 13yo just in case since so many times he sees what we are doing and wants in, it never fails.. we may do dioramas of the ocean or something.. and also field trips also to go with some of the topics they are interested in.. I try and keep the writing mostly down to a minimum and do mostly fun crafty things, reading out loud or silent, drawing and making projects so it isn't so "schooly" for them.. (not sure if that is a real word)... We might for example start our bird unit and then hop to something else like plants because we are gardening.. I will make a folder for them to keep their collages and pictures in and we can bounce back and forth as we go.. very unschooling like to keep things fresh and moving.. they really like. Not sure if I helped at all here~ did I?

Cindy K. said...

Thanks, Tracey. That does help. So for the son (older) that doesn't much like lapbooking, he does more notebooking instead? But during "unschooling" mode, trying to keep the writing down to a minimum and do more fun, crafty things, what kinds of things does he like to do? This is the problem that I have - how to come up with "projects" and/or crafts for the older son during the summer?

Learners at Home said...

To answer your question about the notebooking yes, somewhat. Where he is 13 going on 14 in August he mostly prefers reading the literature and internet resources and then just writing about it. At first he would hesitate and get stuck because he would explain he didn't know what to write so I would then ask him some questions and he would answer back and I told him all that he needed to do is write like he was talking, as though he was explaining to me some facts and interesting things he learned.
for him, this works, because of his memory issues and such.. by writing things down like this helps the information stick more~
as far as choosing projects~
this has somewhat "evolved" for him. I have gone from planning things out for them to now sitting down and writing what they tell me they would like to do and then once I know what they wish to work on then I hunt a bit for resources and things on that topic.
I might find a reading book on it~ or some internet links ... some videos, he likes watching videos on something especially in science. We might find a neat model to make or craft like creating some birdfeeders or going to the Audobon Society or something ~ I try and sprinkle in field trips and more "doing" things.. for example, he really likes fishing~ and his older brother (23) will be back from school this week and they plan to fish alot together so I told him he may want to get back into the fishing book he had bought late last year to learn more about fishing.. he may even impress big brother.. so I saw his fishing book pulled out.. lol :)
He doesnt like crafts either, although loves and is quite talented with polymer clay so he may do some of that or he likes painting alot too~ and drawing.
I usually just ask him what he may like to do and he seems to come up with some really cool ideas ~ :)

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