Tuesday, August 14, 2007

September plans

So I've been looking forward to using September as a special project month for O and I, but he put a crimp in my plans when he announced that he's not really interested in animals anymore, but wants to learn more about physics. Huh? The kid who read paleontological textbooks as bedtime reading when he was 4! The kid who always told me that "physics is boring and I never need to learn it"!!! Now he wants to learn about electricity and wave behavior (!!!!)

So, there goes all my plans for nature observation and writing a guide to the natural environment of our neighborhood. In come plans to design and build evil looking, but probably entirely useless, electronic devices.

I hope, also, to delve a little more deeply into astronomy than we have in the past, O is interested, but has never been really willing to do more than just learn names and places before now. I'm hoping that his newly discovered interest in the physical, and not just natural, world will lead to a deeper understanding of the physical universe. I've been dying to try using a set of lessons and experiments from UC Berkeley, At Home Astronomy. The astrolabe and measuring type lessons are especially up O's alley, and I hope will also provide a path into more advanced math work for him. He's been doing great in picking up his basic math skills to a more functional level, so hopefully he will be able to re-kindle his interest in the more abstract math stuff now that he can do some of the actual math work involved.

For Language Arts, we will just continue in the very low-key way we've been doing things this summer, reading through our TBR lists, reading 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea as our read-aloud, and doing journal writing using A Writer's Notebook. While O still doesn't enjoy the writing process, it's becoming much less of a onerous burden, and a little more of a mild annoyance for him. Because he had such serious problems with the actual physical part of writing, and such bad experiences in public school, with the resource and classroom teachers telling him he would never learn to write, ever, just getting to the point where he will grumble a bit and dash off a quick paragraph is a huge victory for the both of us. Now I'd just like to make sure he can communicate clearly when writing (legibility is still a huge concern), and can write a few basic essay formats if needed.

For math, we're still both loving Math-U-See and O will hopefully be finishing up Delta by October and be ready to start Epsilon, which will be mostly review for him (fractions.) I want him to do this level, though, because he still has some odd gaps in his skill level, dividing fractions, and some of the more functional type of skills, percentages, stuff he'll need to understand statistics when he comes to it. I'm hoping to get him through 3 levels this year, bringing him up to Pre-Algebra in time for grade 10, and then aim to work through Pre-Algebra and Algebra 1 next year. That will allow him to be finished up through Pre-Calculus almost in time to graduate at 18. If he takes an extra year or two to be ready for college, though, I would rather he go to university mature and prepared, and have had some more fun time and time to himself, than be " ahead of the game" and go to university too young.

For Phys. Ed. I still have to go down to the high school I've chosen to discuss the possibility of O competing on their sports teams while still homeschooling. This school used to have an innovative homeschool program, and it was cut by their current principal when he took over. He's notoriously not homeschooling-friendly, but I'm hoping the fact that their football team graduated all their large players last year and is having to rebuild for size will help our cause. It doesn't hurt that the school is one of the football powerhouses of the province, and has a very active, and very vocal, alumni who want to see results. I'll be curious to see if greed for a good player will overcome the principal's principles.

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