Tuesday, April 21, 2009

A Serious Dilemma

Aku: I have a serious dilemma. I don't want to do school, but I don't want to be an idiot when I grow up either.

Monday, April 20, 2009

What value this? Finding balance

I had a call scheduled for this morning, one that occurs weekly. Typically during this time the kids do whatever - finish morning chores, play, read. I had the *great* idea to schedule "Art" for this hour and fifteen minutes I'd be on the phone.

Aku decided to paint warhammer. Ayeka and Sasame both chose to work in Fimo. When I arrived at the end of my call all three were deep into their projects. Aku couldn't decide between a head or a helmet for his Fire Warrior, Sasame had only the stand, legs, and torso for her Ood, and Princess Ayeka had only the stand and one foot of her miniature Master.

(Ayeka has been making an entire collection of Dr. Who characters in miniature. So far she has two Tardae, The Doctor, Rose, three pig-slaves, a dalek, and an unfinished Cassandra. Master's legs and stand have at this point been baked and she is working on Martha's legs.)

By my schedule, it was time for clean up, to be followed by Math, and Math by Science, and Science by - but I couldn't do it. I value art, the whole process that leads to creation. But it goes beyond that. I have a weakness for the learning that takes place unforced, unplanned, the moments (hours) where my children follow their own paths unencumbered by grade requirements, state tests, and my desire that they be Latin scholars. And yet -

They have goals beyond this day. The oldest have goals for high school, thoughts for college. Meeting grade requirements is good. Doing well on tests is good. Knowing Latin (a subject they bloth love) is good.

I would like to end this post by telling you how we follow these passions and it all works out, it always does. Or perhaps the ending where I explain how we balance these hours of self chosen exploration and expression by making the time for studying subjects and meeting pesky grade requirements on other days, weekends, the oddest and most incredible moments. But it wouldn't be true. I am constantly striving for balance.

Friday, March 27, 2009

We're doing something different these days

We start with a magazine article. Our current selection of magazines includes Popular Science, Equus, National Geographic, and Horse Illustrated. I thought we'd cycle through the magazines, one article per day. Ha! Little did I know how much would come from this simple exercise.

Day 1: We read about SpaceX's new Falcon 9 in Popular Science. Not only did we learn really cool things like SpaceX was established in 2002 with the goal of increasing space travel by decreasing cost (Come on, just how cool is that?), that the same flight which costs $120 million on the Ariane 5 costs only $58 million on the Falcon 9, and that SpaceX has a contract with NASA for at least 12 launches to carry cargo to the International Space Station, but it brought up the questions, "How big is the International Space Station? How many people live on it? What do they do?" I wrote the questions down then we continued to read from Popular Science. (We read about a cell phone with a built in projector that can project a 100" image, and a fish that utilizes mirrors to see what's to the side and bottom of it - the brownsnout spookfish.)

Day 2: We looked up answers to yesterday's questions, but our list of questions grew. "What's the longest space stay? How do they go to the bathroom? How did the ISS start and when?" At 45 minutes I had to call an end to ISS research as Math was calling. (Okay, it was calling me.)

The plan is to wind up ISS questions tomorrow and move on to an article in one of the horse mags, or National Geographic.

Overheard today...

7 yo daughter: "You're a boy, she's a girl. Completely different species."
12 yo son: "We're the same species."
7 yo daughter: "But different sex." (Said as though that explained everything.)