I don't know if you can see this clearly (left). I think you can click on the photo to make it bigger. After we read The Gold Bug last term, Kieron made this code out of cookie cutter shapes. He got the idea because we were making Christmas cookies and Aidan was calling the shapes by letter names and arranging them on the tray.
We also found this substitution cipher program online. It has the Goldbug cipher, and the Sherlock Holmes dancing men cipher, and even a bionicle language cipher. Kieron had fun with it.
I am trying to collect some more things to read to him and to have him read for himself. Here's a tentative work plan for next term. I am feeling like it would be good to go back to some academic work after a very unschooly January for him, but I am feeling like I want to get into it slowly and carefully. Generally I want to move towards him having more a hand in his own work; this is about the age we usually start heading in that direction.
Paddy naturally seems to think in terms of literary "rabbit trails", as I have mentioned in other posts. For example: whenever we happen to read Winter Days in the Big Woods, a picture book excerpt from the Laura Ingalls Wilder series, he tells me he wants to:
- Make paper dolls (only his have to be soldiers, not fashionable ladies, obviously)
- Make dough and give him little balls of it to make his own cookies and loaves (we make edible playdough quite regularly already but this is always different somehow because it's *from the book*.
Whenever I read the "Winter in the Big Woods" book to him, I always like the idea of each day having its proper work.... like this.
Wash on Monday,
Iron on Tuesday,
Mend on Wednesday
Market on Thursday
Clean on Friday
Bake on Saturday
Rest on Sunday
Here's an article about it. I had a "focus" system for several years but it was more complex. Last week, I did a thorough cleaning on Thursday instead of doing a bit each day (or not) all week. It was so nice to have a (relatively) sparkly house and I maintained it all during the weekend because I liked it so much. Realizing this, I made a list of possible "themes" for each day. There are too many, TEN, and only seven days in a week! But sometime I'll list them. I'm tempted to call February "Focus Month" and try doing things like that One Day at a Time.
The corollary of that, in Winter in the Big Woods, is that in the evenings, Mrs Ingalls doesn't feel strange about sitting down by the fire with the baby and cutting paper dolls for her girls. She doesn't think, as I tend to, "Hey, I can get a start on tomorrow's work!" Yet they were probably busier people than we are nowadays, because survival depended on their work. But it probably depended upon their leisure, too.
Now back to the kids' things: A couple more "book threads" of Paddy's.
About a month ago he chose a cluster of Bear books to read. We were reading Winnie the Pooh, and he also chose:
- Two Orphan Cubs
- Blueberries for Sal
- One Morning in Maine (not a bear book but a follow-up story about Little Sal when she is about six and loses her first tooth -- very interesting to Paddy because he is just about that age).
This month, we seem to be on a Magic School Bus pattern. Interestingly, as we repeat the readings of a book he likes he naturally seems to go deeper into the subject. Yesterday we reread Inside a Beehive for about the fifth time and he asked a LOT of very good questions which I wish now I had written down. At first he didn't care much about the end of the book where the authors explain in some way what is real about the books and what is imaginary. But now that seems to be one of the most interesting parts to him.
He's also on a Clare Turlay Newberry trail -- we started with Barkis and then read Marshmallow, Babette and Mittens. They remind me of the Billy and Blaze books a bit because of the soft, realistic drawings, the soft and calm descriptive style, and because they all have a similar theme to each other -- a child about Paddy's age wants a pet and somehow acquires one, and then there is some little mishap that resolves happily.
Aidan wrote this on the garage door with his leapfrog magnet letters.
I wrote a Year 1 Work Plan not so much to start the little ones on more work -- they seem to be learning so much in an unschooly format -- but to give myself a Plan for bringing things into their world. That's always a weak spot of mine unless I plan for it.
So far this term Sean is maintaining something like a 3.7 GPA at school..... Last term he ended up with a 3.0 which wasn't bad considering how different the PS system is from our home school. In some ways this isn't a big deal, but it's nice validation that you can have quite a relaxed homeschool environment and the kid can still do fine with a different system when the time comes .... you don't have to hit them on the head from birth so that they get used to it.