Tom and I are taking a very parent-centric approach to homeschool, as in we like the Zs to study subjects that interest us! We do have occasional twinges of worry that we are screwing up the girls’ education, but then we figure, hey, they do a lot of old school readin’, writin’, and ‘rithmetic in the a.m., so hopefully the Argentine education system will make up for the crazy curriculum we’re throwing at them. In case you were wondering, here’s what we’re working on now…
HISTORY OF PARAGUAY
I chose this country because it really touches on everything. We have covered: the rise of Christianity and how it helped leaders solidify power in Europe in 1000 AD, the incredible strength of the Catholic Church during colonial times, colonialism in general, the Jesuits, the Indian slave trade in South America, the Guaraní Indians, the missions for the Guaraní developed by the Jesuits, the expulsion of the Jesuits from all Spanish colonies, the decline of the missions… . The girls are also creating a scaled timeline of the period we study (1500 to 2009).
Now we are taking a break and watching the movie, The Mission. They are a somewhat concerned because they know it’s not exactly a happy movie.
Tom has been working on arithmetic, fractions, measuring, and some basic geometry with the girls. (Remember planes and lines and points?) Tom was using some of the tests from Indian Math Online, but has since moved away from their coursework because it was boring and didn’t really adjust well to the girls acquiring skills.
As I’ve blogged about before, the girls attend classes twice a week with a private tutor from Beijing utilizing video over Skype. How cool is that? The school is called E Chinese Learning and we love it!
We also use an online tool called Skritter, which is currently in beta and free to try, for the girls to practice their characters every day. The software comes complete with an alogrithm that notes which characters you know and keeps track of how often you need to review them for maximum retention. Really fab.
We are using video for the girls to learn poise and confidence with their communications, especially interactions with adults when they are embarrassed or shy. Some early tasks involved a mock interview for a babysitting gig, and telling stories about themselves or family members as prompted. I don’t give them any idea of what we’re going to do before we are on camera. The girls have developed a newfound respect for Barak Obama, “Wow, he’s really good at answering all of those questions on TV, Mommy,” they have observed.
DRAWING ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE BRAIN
I have posted about this here, so I won’t repeat myself, suffice to say that we do this as a family to restore a love of art in children who are getting frustrated by their inability to draw perspective.
The girls and I are working on writing a chapter book. (So far we have an outline for our story and are now working on the first chapter…it’s about a magical world that features a planet that is half in light and half in the dark. The two protagonists are children, of course, who live in the dark part of the world and who also happen to possess strong magical talents, which makes them a target for kidnapping by the monsters who live in the light…) It has been funny to hash out a story between the two of them. Zoe wants something with fighting, dragons, blood and glory; meanwhile, Zelda insists that there must be a royal family involved. *laugh*
We are currently implementing our landed gentry exercise program, complete with horseback riding and tennis lessons.