Journal Categories
Journal Tags

Entries in geography (2)

Tuesday
Aug232011

A bicycle built for two

In the wake of my sudden fear induced paralysis of the planning mind (too much guidance? Too little?) I've decided to try a modified workbox system. To be fair, I'm fully aware that some person has produced a how-to book on workboxing and that she is the definitive voice on the subject, so when I say "we're trying the workbox system" I can't really mean it because I've never read said book. The idea is simple enough, though—one box or drawer each for a variety of subjects or projects so that the child has a choice of what to work on at any given moment, and also has a space to keep work that was begun but is not yet finished. We already do this to some extent by keeping our current thematic study materials in a Wonder File so that we can easily tote them to the library when we go, but the workbox system will allow us to have multiple projects going at once, and will allow me to give suggestions of things to do or to plan certain activities in advance.

For this week I filled the boxes with a multitude of choices in each subject, many of them being variations on something to do with Antarctica, his most recent love, others being completely off that topic. Some of the choices are worksheets, others are books to read, still others are notecards suggesting that we play a game or go outside. This morning Calvin pulled out the science box, selected a book of experiments with the page of glacier experiments already marked, and beat me to the kitchen even before I had finished my crossword and coffee. So today we melted ice, we refroze the water, did some all around discussing of the states of matter, and there are two miniature glaciers hanging out in the freezer right now that will be a lot of fun if it doesn't rain tomorrow.

As projects are completed they are taken out of the drawers and placed in a folder on top of the unit. So far I think the system is working, but this being only day two I'll reserve judgement just yet. We didn't do science or Antarctica for all of the day, though. He did some math sheets at one point, and practiced the piano, and he read his book out loud to me while we were in the car running an errand.

And that special errand was another big part of our day. Calvin loves to ride his bike. He rides it to the mailbox, to the park, around the cul de sac. It's such a healthy activity, and lately I'd been wondering about getting back into our habit of biking into town for the library or other events (like ice cream!) instead of driving, or of hitting the paved paths in nearby parks, only he's too big for the trailer and too little to ride his own bike the whole way. I did a little research and found some great options for turning a standard adult bike into a tandem with child, only they were expensive, so I put a request out on Freecycle just on the off-chance...

I know I've mentioned how much I love our local Freecycle chapter, but this really takes the cake. Within a couple of days of submitting a "wanted" post asking if a family happened to have one of these bike attachments that maybe their children had outgrown and they had no use for anymore, I was driving the half hour to a nearby city to pick one up. And tonight we tried it out with a child who was nervous and apprehensive until the second time around the block, and by the third was impossible to pry off it.

Thursday
Aug182011

Winning pizza

So Antarctica it is these days.

He spent the better part of the morning in the kitchen with Play-Doh, molding away before proudly presenting me with his three dimensional map of Antarctica. And all I know how to do is roll out snakes. But he asked me to help him make an ice cave and inhabitants, so while he made the cave I attempted a penguin.

I think both turned out nicely.

After molding the various land forms and plant and animal life of that forbidding continent out of the much less cold dough, we went to the library to pick up some more books and videos on the subject. When we walked in the librarians, who are always happy to see Calvin, since we live in a small town and practically at the library, were completely ecstatic. Turns out, the kid won one of the prizes in the summer reading program drawing and they were just thrilled to give it to him. This is the program I'd been reluctant to let him sign up for, and here he's won a gift card to the local pizza shop, and that will mean pizza dinner, no need to cook, on one night of his choosing. Mmmm..I fully admit that sometimes I am wrong.