Monday, September 28, 2009

The Rocket Legacy

I was just looking for a post I thought I'd published, about what the Rocket Phase of Ezra's caused to set in motion. But I can't find it, so even if it's here somewhere, I think I'll recap. Ezra claims he's "done with rockets," though he still uses his Nerf rocket launcher, and still says he wants to go to Cape Canaveral. I think he still wants to be a Rocket Scientist, too, though I haven't asked him lately. These days he's all about weaponry and self-defense.

In any case, the rocket phase started with YouTube, as previously posted. From that, he got into model rockets, memorized every Space Shuttle ever launches, developed an interest in Florida, learned a lot about planets/astronomy, learned countdowns in four or five languages, and developed a slight interest in whichever country was launching (for example, Japan or India). He also memorized about 20 countdowns, along with the static, background noise, accents, mistakes, etc.!

He also set up his Rocket Party (see post) and planned an entire 2-3 hour event with guests, snacks, Q & A, and lots of artwork.

Oh, and his drawing really took off!! With his Doodle Pro last summer ('08) he drew thousands of space shuttles just on our one-month camping trip. He also drew many with marker, and became an *excellent* drawing artist, in mine and many other people's opinions. He had many drawings up at the St. Paul Art Crawl, and he had his own painting booth out in the hall for the event, painting rockets for a crowd!

He also participated in the A-Z Gallery Art Show - he entered a drawing of Atlantis, I think.

He learned a lot about chemistry and physics by asking friends and relatives about rocket fuel, propulsion, etc.

He has been saving up change he finds around the house, to help us pay for a trip to Cape Canaveral.

He got a huge package in the mail from a family friend who works for NASA - got tons of merchandise.

Pretending to be an astronaut was his favorite passtime for over a year. He had a space suit we found for $6 at the thrift store (see photo at bottom of blog). He wore it almost *every day*, and developed his acting and "hamming" skills. He also obviously attracted plenty of attention and got into *many* fascinating conversations with adults about space shuttles, space, etc..

More recently, he exchanged letters with Bob Cabana, director of Kennedy Space Center. He wrote Bob a letter that I think was about 4 pages (dictated). Bob also sent him all kinds of photos, stickers, etc. (Turns out Bob is the son of a couple my parents know).

He took a NASA class last spring. He was too young for the class, but they let him in because he was so enthusiastic. This also led him to take "Blow it Up!" - a class at the Science Museum of Minnesota this summer.

Oh, and also last winter he started saying he wanted to learn math "because you need math to be an aerospace engineer." So he started asking lots of math questions, and we got him a workbook.

He also got into some great music and movies that had to do with space. Two of his grandparents bought him "Hail, Columbia!" for the holidays last year, for example, and for a long time he was really into the song "Rocket Ship" and would go around the house singing it. Oh, and he also got really into the religious song "On Eagle's Wings" after watching a sad video about the Columbia explosion set to music.

Oh! And I almost forgot - he started learning to read by trying to read the names of the space shuttles, and needing to retype them into the box on YouTube.

That's all I can think of right now, on a very distracted Monday morning. But I think so far it's a great list - and it shows how one thing can lead to another if a child isn't distracted from going in whatever direction he chooses!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Whole Child/Whole Parent Inspiration!

Here is an awesome quote I just came across in a book I just finished - Whole Child/Whole Parent by Polly Berrien Berends. It's a very good book, about 20 years old, I think, but it is occasionally *too* enlightened for my own comprehension level. However, I have gotten some fabulous ideas and inspirations from it.

For example, here's the essence of unschooling, right here, from p.129 (italics are in the original):

The learning child unconsciously assumes two things that are crucial to learning. The first assumption is that there is nothing standing between him and happiness but what he hasn't learned yet. At least for a while, he does not think that having or doing something else would be nicer. As long as he's learning he's happy. He lives to find out. The second assumption is that whatever comes along next is the next thing he needs to learn. He does not doubt the fulfilling nature of life. These two assumptions are crucial to receptivity. And receptivity is crucial to learning.

I think I will tattoo this on my forearm: "Whatever comes along next is the next thing I need to learn."

Just imagine not having lost that assumption! It's time for me to re-assume it.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Fall, Revised

Alrighty then! It's official, we are *out* of the homeschool co-op classes for fall, and I have to admit to being a little relieved. For some reason it was starting to feel a little too school-y for me, anyway.

After I made my list yesterday, I asked Ezra what else he'd like to learn and after some discussion he said he wanted me to teach him some Spanish. (This came up because the class that was too full for him to get into included a Spanish class.)

I have to admit a part of me dreads this, but OTOH I've been feeling really angry at myself for letting my Spanish slide so badly for the last 8 years. So, we're off! I've decided to try and do Spanish tomorrow morning while we're waiting for the milk man.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Managing Fall Semester

Fall is the time of year when all the neurosis comes out in homeschooling families, in my experience. Suddenly you feel like you are supposed to be signing your kid up for a million activities, just like everyone else. Supposedly, anyway.

Well, I missed this frenzy period once again this year, because of moving around Labor Day.

We did get in on the local Homeschool Co-op startup, though, but we are currently in the position of deciding whether or not we will try to continue this fall, or wait until January, when a new semester begins. I am leaning towards waiting until January, due to the fact that bringing Ottar along has been way too challenging for my ability levels right now. And also Ezra was put in a class that is for 4.5-6 year olds, and he is going along with it but not enjoying it to the degree that he is willing to participate in it on his own (with me dropping him off). So, I am thinking of things we could do this fall as True Unschoolers!

Ezra did start "Little Ninjas" last week - a martial arts class. He's wanted to do martial arts for a long time, so I was very excited when I saw this class being offered.

The other things Ezra said he wanted to learn this fall are: archery, blacksmithing, and art.

I can't find him an art class so far, so I think we'll do that at home. And I also can't find a kids' archery class, but I am trying to figure something out. And there is at least a one-day blacksmithing workshop we've found that he can take with one of his parents.

As parents we have also decided to take the opportunity to look at Ezra's "first grade year" as a chance for us to gain some of the skills we are bitter that we never learned, ourselves! So, for this year we are going to work on a variety of skills as a family. Included among them, for the record:

-woodworking projects
-sewing lessons
-"handy" projects, such as fixing the screen Ottar just wrecked
-beekeeping workshop (I've always wanted to do this!)
-hunting skills (my husband is going to work on this with a friend)
-patio construction

Well, that's it for now! I just wanted to write some stuff down before I forgot. Once again, too bad I don't have a digital camera right now, to spruce up this barren post.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Counting Votes

photo by Leo Kim

Everyone say "aye" if you think it would be a good idea if I actually had a digital camera, so I don't have to cut and paste pics of my kids off other people's Facebook albums.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

So Help Me God

I will get *this* house organized. This is our fifth move since Ezra was born and I am ***done*** living a life of organizational misery. Especially since there is another move on the horizon . . . probably within a year or two.

Luckily, during my ill-fated attempt to actually be able to browse at the local library (only 3 blocks away, I think! If I actually go directly there instead of biking a mile out of the way looking for it.) I happened upon the above video in the kids' section, when I wasn't even looking for it! Divine intervention, for sure. Especially evident because I was unable to even attempt the 2nd floor adult section due to Ottar's need to run willy-nilly through the library, carrying one of those cool metal stools.

Anyway, I already almost cried several times during the video, and I'm only a little more than half done. This woman, Julie Morgenstern, is like an angel from heaven sent to save me from myself.

Of course I will keep this blog (and my other blog, Organizing Is Easy, I hope) updated on my amazing progress.

Also, I think that watching this video is a MUST for all homeschooling families. Really. Unless you are one of those people who has it all together, like Mariah.