Sunday, May 27, 2018

Blogging Progress...Blogress?

I've been asked how, as a homeschooler, I track my child's progress.

This is an interesting question because it means that the person asking it thinks that progress needs to be tracked. Learning needs to be quantified. If it's not quantifiable, it must not be happening. It's the conventional way of looking at education.

I do track my public school students' progress. Now that we've reached the end of the year, I can look back at each student's beginning of the year reading assessment, middle of the year assessment, and end of year assessment, and see that, yes, each of my students did make progress in reading.

But, with my own child, I know she's progressing. I know she's choosing more difficult books than the books she chose a year ago. I don't need a computerized test (an expensive computerized test) to tell me that. What I do need is time with my child. Because I spend time with my child, I know she's progressing.

Time is something that public school children don't get from their teachers, those people who are supposed to be very knowledgeable about their students' academic progress. And, because we teachers, we trackers, don't spend time - real time, not fake time, not time managing them, or time "facilitating" their "learning" - with our students, we have to rely on measurable data to prove that what we were doing all year was indeed moving our students forward.

I spend a lot of time with my child. I listen to her read daily. I ask her about what she's reading, and I ask her if I can get her more books like the books she's reading. I get her more books. I reserve books at the library. I order books on Amazon. I track my Amazon shipment, but I don't track the progress of my child.

I cozy up with her in bed on a Sunday afternoon, and do math for an hour and a half. Very un-Charlotte Mason, doing math for an hour and a half with a seven year old. (Very un-Charlotte Mason; shouldn't we be outside nature journaling?) But I assess my child's attitude - not using a scale of 1 to 5 - and determine that cozy math, for her, is leisure. It's scholé. It's school we get to do.

So, to answer how I track my child's progress: I observe that we've turned to the next page, we've started the next chapter, we're nearing the end of the book. We. Because all of us in this house are being educated in ways that can't be quantified. 

And I'm just blogging our way forward.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Gemma's Very First Test

UCLA has a math program for children, so today we went to UCLA so Gemma could take the test to see if she qualifies.

Gemma didn't know this was happening until last night. I told her I needed to sharpen the pencils in her pencil pouch so she could go do some fun math problems at the university.


Because they have a fun summer program for kids who like math. 

"So I get be in the program?!" 

Maybe. First you have to take a little...sort of... (I had no idea how she would react to the word test.) ...a little...sort of...test.

"Like Mysterious Benedict Society?!" 

Yes! Exactly like Mysterious Benedict Society.

"Do I have to sit in a desk?"

Well, I don't think you can say, 'I typically do my math in bed. Do you have a bed I can take my test in?'

Monday, May 14, 2018

Happy Place: Chains

Gemma loved this installation. I think she liked the sensory experience, as well as the idea that she could "hide" in it.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Gemma at 2 months old

Here is my soon-to-be seven year old, all snuggled up in her sling at a concert on the beach, when she was just two months old.

Monday, May 7, 2018

By Gemma

Hi it's me again and today i'm going to tell you a story. once upon a time there was a village that was under attack by a dragon.

Year 1: Week 35

This week, Gemma earned her white and gray belt in jiujitsu.
We went to "Verdi Tales," a performance for children, put on by the LA Opera. Before the show, there are activities and crafts like stage fighting, gypsy dancing, finger puppet making, and doge crown bejewelling.

Her favorite performer was "Maestro." In the play, Maestro Verdi, the tenor, meets three opera singers who each have a favorite Verdi opera. The singers have a tug of war with the book containing all of Verdi's libretti, and they rip the book apart, mixing up all of the operas. Here she is, after the show, asking Maestro why the gypsy from Il Trovatore wanted to put a curse on him.

This week was also the end-of-year party for Classical Conversations. Gemma learned how to make tissue paper flowers to decorate the tables...

...and the students in her class were awarded certificates for completing Cycle 3.

We read poems from Nature in Verse, 3 pages of Lamb's King Lear, The Good Shepherd, The Golden Key, a chapter of Seed Babies about bees, a chapter of Elementary Geography about hot and cold countries, a chapter of The World By the Fireside about blowpipes...and a dozen other things. We are still reading The Mysterious Benedict Society #3 as our bedtime reading. Piano was practiced. A couple of pages in Making Friends With Numbers were completed and division riddles were solved.

Here is Gemma diving. She says, when she's old enough, she wants to be a junior lifeguard. 😊

Sunday, May 6, 2018

Art Installation

By Gemma

Hi my name is Gemma                                                     
My Favorite book is Jeremy Thatcher Dragon Hatcher, A S.H. elives book

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Year 1: Week 34

I took Gemma to see the community college's production of A Comedy of Errors. She was the only child in the audience (because who brings their 6 year old to see Shakespeare?). The play was in the black box, and played in three-quarters. The actors broke the fourth wall and spoke directly to audience members, sometimes sitting down in empty seats next to audience members. Gemma guffawed at the funny parts, and - a couple of times - 😬 talked back to the actors. ("Can't you see they're brothers?!") During the curtain call, Antipholus of Syracuse high-fived her and told her she was the cast's favorite audience member. It turned out to be a really great experience. I'm hoping the same director will do more Shakespeare in the future.
One evening Gemma said, "I really want to know more about the 11th century." I told her she was in luck because I had gotten her a book all about the Vikings (Viking Tales) for 2nd grade. Medieval History here we come!
Here is my baby Barracuda diving...

We read The Prodigal Son, Hillyer's Sculpture ch 11, Androcles and the Lion, 2 chapters from The World By the Fireside (about Peruvian bark and giant tree trunks), Seed Babies (how eggs are like seeds), The Burgess Seashore Book (worms), The Twelve Huntsmen, Flies and Honey, and poetry from Nature in Verse...

In math - Life of Fred: Fractions. We did a couple of chapters. We're up to the second bridge (Gemma got 8/10 on the first bridge, so she has to do Bridge #2).

In foreign languages - Spanish (reviewed previous lessons) & French (continued to work on counting to 100)

Literature - (Fairy Tales & Fables)
We read 3 more pages of Lamb's King Lear, which Gemma wanted to turn into a fractions lesson. (And why would I argue with that?) Obviously, if Lear divided his kingdom evenly between only 2 heiresses, each heiress would get 1/2 a kingdom. But that means that 1/3 a kingdom plus 1/2 of 1/3 of a kingdom equals 1/2 a kingdom. Gemma wanted to explore how that worked.

King Lear divided the third of his kingdom he was going to give Cordelia in half. 
1/2 of 1/3 = 1/6
1/6 + 1/6 = 2/6 = 1/3
Goneril and Regan each had 1/3 of Lear's kingdom. Then Lear gave them each 1/6 more.
1/3 + 1/6 = 2/6 + 1/6 = 3/6 = 1/2

We drew models. It was super fun.

Free Reading
While I don't do Captain Underpants and Sponge Bob, I do have some fond memories of a few books my public elementary school teachers read to me, one of which is Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar. My favorite chapter as a child was "Sammy." It's nonsense, and it's kind of brilliant. Gemma read this book this week.

She also read Mary Poppins, and requested sequels.

She also read Adventures With Waffles and narrated - without prompting - about how funny it was that Auntie Granny dressed up like the groom. (She also narrated the ending. ⚠️ The ending is sad.)

Artist Study
Last week, we looked at Monet's Garden at Saint Adresse. When I asked Gemma to tell me about it, instead of saying the things I wanted her to say, like there are ships, there's an ocean, there are flowers, etc., she said, "Well, Mom, it's like chess."
Tell me more.
"Well, there's a queen and a king, and there's a queen and a king. And the queens are across from each other, and the kings are across from each other. And the queens are on the left side, which is how you see them when you're the white player."

Handicrafts - Um, oops. Bad Charlotte Mason Mom.

Music (Piano) - Gemma has been working on Malagueña, which is my favorite piece so far. Her fingers are so fast.

Nature Study - Um, we went outside. I watered plants.

Pete took her on a field trip to The Autry. Here she is pretending to be in a Hollywood western. Get along little doggies.