Monday, June 18, 2018

Camera Obscura


Several years ago, I bought Thames & Kosmos’s $100 Milestones of Science kit because it was 50% off. Gemma discovered it, and here she is with her first experiment from the box: a camera obscura. Instead of rubber bands and and glue, we simplified the experiment and taped everything. Also, we didn’t have tracing paper, but we did have a piece of a sewing pattern, which was perfect.

Sunday, June 10, 2018

Friday, June 8, 2018

In Our Backyard


While I was cleaning out my classroom, my husband was watching our daughter do this.

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.

"Why?" 

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?'