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Entries in Wizard of Oz (2)


What have we been up to?

It's been a while since I really posted about homeschooling. Between illness and travel I've had a hard time keeping up here. First Tulip Time, then two weeks of a nasty cold, then one week before we left for Chicago, and now this weekend we're off again, headed north to visit family. Actually the whole summer promises to be as scattered (and joyous).

Of course, this doesn't mean that we haven't been reading, and researching, and trying, and doing, and learning everywhere and all the time. Some of it has been researching and playing in the library, in life, or even on the computer, and some of it has been more curriculum oriented, with a worksheet here and there.

This week we are finishing up our initial tour of the ancient Indus Valley with a few fun links, in particular this site from the BBC. Using the Story of the World as a guide we'll be back in the area in a couple of weeks, but as with our first stop in ancient Egypt I am supplementing with a more thorough sally into the area with a little help from Intellego and my friend the library. We read a couple of books, most notably Savitri: A Tale of Ancient India, and in reading it Calvin learned that the tale was from The Mahabharata and asked to read the whole thing, so we have a copy of that on order, too.

Speaking of reading, with all the driving we've been doing Calvin has been gobbling up books. He's on book seven of the Oz series, The Patchwork Girl, has reread some of the Magic Tree House books, and has started in on a new series as well, the Paleo Joe Detective Series.

He's more than half way through the multiplication tables, using Math-U-See lessons, but mostly via dice games.

In keeping with the classical education, or at least partially so, he memorized a poem and we did some picture narration, writing a story about a Mary Cassatt painting, Children Playing on the Beach. Calvin remembered, after this suggested activity, that he'd read about the artist before, and he was right—we have  a copy of her biography from the Getting to Know the World's Greatest Artists series, so he read that as well.

And we baked: shortcakes to go with strawberries and cream on Tuesday, and banana bread today.

He devoured science this week, even more so than history, which is his usual favorite. We did lessons C-1 and D-1, energy and gravity, in BFSU, and he checked about five different books out from the library on the subjects before making his own.

We also spent a lot of time touring the gardens, walking the dogs, and playing at the park.


A play, a talent show, and more

Today was the last day of indoor gathering for our weekly homeschooling group. During the summer we meet at various parks and eschew indoor activities in favor of learning from nature. It's a great arrangement, because while learning doesn't end when summer comes around, I think our desire and focus changes with the season, so why not follow them.

If I thought I might miss out on some of the cyclical nature of the public school system—the yearly plays, the parties, etc. that I always loved as a child—I have found instead that at HAA we seem to one-up them. Today all the kids gathered along with all the parents (both parents today in many cases) to share in food, games, a play performance, a talent show, and a "talented display". Calvin participated in all three, as a munchkin and a monkey in The Wizard of Oz, as a pianist in the talent show, and with a Lego display of ancient structures from around the world (Egyptian pyramid, Mesopotamian Ziggurat, Mayan temple) on the "talented display" table. 

I will never stop reveling in the camaraderie that exists between all the kids in the group regardless of age, gender, race, belief, yadda yadda, nor in the amount of time, effort, and interest the parents invest in their children, and in others in the group. There are about forty families in the group, and today's gathering was a joyful, raucous affair, without being either too big or too small. Although I barely saw Calvin once he was no longer on stage (a sign of our growing comfort with the group) I know we both had a great time because we came home tired yet positively filled with exuberant, happy energy.

Talented display...

Talent show...

This is the second play Calvin has been in through our group. The first one was Percy Jackson, which they did earlier this spring, but it really was nowhere near as good as The Wizard of Oz, which they put on today. Calvin's own acting ability had grown some, and he spoke with great diction and a loud, clear voice, he remembered all his lines, and I could tell he had a great time. Of course, doing The Wizard of Oz as a play was like a dream come true for him.

"Please take the ruby slippers as a thank-you gift."

"We're off to see the wizard, the wonderful wizard of Oz..."

"I don't have a heart."

"Please take us to see the wizard."

"Hooray!" (she melted)

"Dorothy, you have saved us from the evils of the Wicked Witch of the West. But what do we do with our lives now that we're free?"

"The wizard looked at us and said: 'monkies, you have already found your purpose in life. You said it yourself, you enjoy helping people and you can fly. Combining those two things should give you great opportunities for self-fulfillment."

We are linked up to Saturday's Artist at OLM.