Sunday, September 12, 2010

Our weeks are going to be even a little more full than I'd thought, as Sarah's decided to join both Lego League and another class/club/activity being organized by a new friend to explore different world cultures together. I'm delighted by all the activities she's interested in, and happy to make room in our week for them. But...

I've gotten so used to having all the time in the world to sit at home together, doing crafts, reading books, making music... And having the option of multiple field trips or spontaneous playdates in a week. We're suddenly looking at, at best, one free afternoon a week. It's a little intimidating.

This week Sarah had a great time at our local Not Back To School day at the zoo, seeing a few old friends and making a new one. We also got in a few days of playing school, finishing up the last bits of our most recent themes -- history of math, building/engineering/architecture, history of books and libraries -- and getting ready to jump into all our new ones. The timeline on our livingroom wall is getting awfully full...

On Friday, at Fairy Scouts, we did Alien of the Week club, read a few more chapters of _The Girl Who Could Fly_, and watched Pippi Longstocking together. This was our last Fairy Scouts meeting, at least for awhile, as our two fellow scouts are starting school on Monday. Sarah and I love them both, and I think we're feeling both sad for ourselves and excited for them at this new adventure of theirs. They're both such fierce, independent, thoughtful young ladies, and their new school sounds wonderful -- I'm looking forward to hearing all about it. I'm... envious of their new teachers a little, I think -- I butted heads with both of them so very often at TMcAFS, oh my God, but the school, and my own experience, was so much richer for their presence.

L suggested the same thing Sarah and I had discussed when I first told her about their plans -- that after they settle into their new schedule, perhaps we can start meeting once a week after school, as scout troops often do. I certainly hope we can do something along those lines. We're filling up the spaces in our schedule, but new friends certainly can't replace such dear old ones.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

We're shifting more fully into our fall routines, this week and next. This week Sarah and I had a long talk about all the freedom she has, the fact that she has the opportunity to pursue any interest or passion she chooses. I want us to start having a larger picture in mind, and if we're doing a mostly child-led approach, I need her to start thinking about what her bigger picture is. How does she want to be spending her time? What interests does she want to start putting more energy into?

We talked about different things she's curious about -- archaeology; different periods in history; a little more about the history of math and writing; a little more on fairy tales, folk tales and mythology -- and we're going to be planning some themes and field trips around those. Mostly, though, she wants to pursue her interest in rock and roll, so we're looking into drum lessons, and have started doing ear-training and singing exercises on our own. We're also continuing the History of Rock workshops that Joe's been doing for us.

We're also shifting from two or three themes each month to 6 or 7 themes per season -- with room for shorter term themes or interests as they come up. Our fall themes are: History of the US, NYC, Communications (written communication, oral communication, philosophy, making books, etc.), Nature study, the Hudson River, her continued badgework (reading, adventures, bravery, potions) and lifeskills (sports, cooking, shopping, etc.), and Math (split between waldorfy math stories focusing on fractions and regrouping and division, and the Living Math history/philosophy of math approach). We're integrating some Oak Meadow Waldorfy stuff into the communications and science work we're doing.

Our weeks are starting to look pretty nicely packed. Monday we'll alternate between seeing our local homeschool group and visiting relatives. Tuesday I'm hoping Sarah will decide to join a Lego League being organized by a friend (she's intrigued but unsure). Wednesday we'll be volunteering at GSE and doing some science classes at a local environmental center. Thursdays we'll alternate between homeschool soccer and a local homeschool park day. Fridays will be field trips and playdates, with an emphasis on NYC and the Hudson Valley for the field trips. And Sundays we're expanding our family field trip plans to start including more friends.

I'm really looking forward to this Fall.