Today is the second lesson for October this year. I'm all ready for a holiday, but that will have to wait for now. Still building castles for what I plan to do next year, I should firm things up.
Today, we do Pangaea, as an extension to the Great Lessons done earlier this year and before we learn about the Stone, Bronze and Iron Ages. I used resources from USGS which had a teaching guide and resources you can use including a pangaea puzzle. The children were more attracted to the dinosaur era creatures and plants than the continents shifting.
The middle of the class is the hardest, so this is usually the part we do hands-on activities, ideally outdoors. Today, we learned how to tie some basic knots like the reef knot and clove hitch. Last week, on our activity on making ancient tools, I noticed the children had difficulty tying their strings on their branches, so I thought this was a nice follow-up.
I had imagined the kids would have an easier time than me, however I overlooked the fact that there is a need to align the pictures in the cards to the children's hand position and that the devil is in the details, such that if there isn't complete focus, you totally get all tied up. I also preferred to demo the knots myself to using youtube.
It was a good start anyway and this would be a good addition to our practical life shelf.
By the time we got back to my place, the children were ready for written work, with some energy released downstairs, and finished our Fundamental Needs of Humans workbook section on food quite easily. We also went through the section on Religion which was their homework from last week and learned more about Buddhism and Christianity. Hinduism was discussed last week as part of our lesson for Deepavaali tomorrow.
Before you know it, it was time for the boys to go home.
I had briefly introduced the children in my Culture Tuesday class about this topic but yesterday we went in depth about it. To ensure they understand the concept of areas like Spiritual and Material and its components, I used the three-part information cards that described each area.
I made my own cards with help from my History manual and the internet. Actual ones are quite expensive and the supplier is far away from where I am. After that, I brought the children to the 'backyard' to make tools from the sticks and leaves that we could find there. This is in preparation for our lesson on the Stone Age next, to give the children how people in the past had to rely on their surroundings and common sense to protect themselves and solve everyday problems.
I cheated of course. I brought two types of tape, elastic strings and bands, staplers, papers, scissors and cloth. Honestly, the 'backyard' is just a cleared up space for an exercise area and playground with some trees, not quite the woods, so I don't expect to find hanging roots to use as rope.
-The children were at first distracted by the playground like they have never seen one in ages, but got right into it when they saw the pile of sticks I picked up along the way. One built a fishing rod, another something that looked like a crab-catching contraption and two made a bow and arrow set.
The child who made the crab-catching contraption look-alike even experimented from the top of the slide how he could improvise what he made and tried to make it like a flying fox for things but the string was not smooth enough. I let them play with their 'devices' for a while before heading back home.
When we got back, I read to them about the Hindu religion, as Deepavali is coming and in line with our lesson today that included spiritual needs. As we were running short on time, I asked the children to do their work on different religions at home and automatically, they asked for discounts and flexibility- "One sentence enough?", "Can I just ask my mother what to write?" Reminds me of my boys who are now in their teens. InsyaAllah, next time they will be good at bargaining at trade or standing up for what they want.
This week has been full of errands; but I appreciate the break from the routine. We missed our nature walk on Friday and went to the library and the mall instead to get supplies. Nevertheless, the week presented opportunities to slant my lessons towards certain areas; mostly through, my 6 year old, who still asks a lot of questions.
So, we explored insects on Monday, and No.2 helped catch a fighting spider (so said the hubs when I described it to him later that night) which gave us the chance to observe it in more detail. Spiders are of course arachnids, a possible topic to move on to after insects in our study of invertebrates.
I usually start off with vertebrates, but insects and arachnids are easily found around the house, unless you want to count house lizards; you know I will not go anywhere near their cold bodies- yes, one dropped on me before and I "felt!" it. Insects are also easily found when we go for walks.
Which led me to think about curriculum planning; do you go from a to z, or do you bounce off the topics that interest your child first? I have no supporting evidence, but to me it is more important to calibrate the level of complexity than the content when teaching Science and humanities.
Unlike Math and English, your ability to appreciate a certain phenomenon is only limited by the maturity of your thinking, reading ability and observation skills to some extent.
Ok, enough of the quack education theory.
No. 4 has also asked me why we need to use money and when we started using handphones. I guess by the latter she meant phones, her generation barely sees a regular phone around these days. We don't have one at home either.
What's a mother to do, but grab a book to explain all these. Unfortunately, I was not so lucky with the phone topic and will have to research on it later. It was timely that she should ask these, as the two can come under the topic of Fundamental Needs of Humans which I will be covering for group History class this week.
I also plan to have a sewing project with her each week. The poor child has been trying to sew things on her own and they all end up as scraps. She is however impatient with waiting for the lesson and has ended up using the piece of cloth I bought for the lesson.
My plan was for me to try the project and then teach it to her in the form of a kit that she can put together with me. Next time, I will have to hide the materials from her.
What of the other children? Big sister is so quiet, I don't know what to do with her sometimes. She has however developed an interest in Psychology and Philosophy. The former possibly after all the visits she had with the psychologist last year. Her taste in literature has gone to the abyss of dark and gothic armageddon-like tragedy. That's it! We can explore TRAGEDY!
I have no idea how she started getting hooked on Philosophy, but apparently she enjoyed the logic "riddles?" (and Crash Course videos) that she likes to spring on Little Miss, who is unfortunately only six, and just enjoys making funny answers. Actually, Big Sis likes that, as she can then answer her questions herself and feel witty.
Little A is still onto horses. I think this will be quite a long-term relationship and I can safely move away from this subject. No. 4 bought a set of sponge aquatic animals- that can be a theme for Little A.
We may also explore India as daddy will go on a business trip there.