If, say, you jokingly—really! no, no, not the least bit serious, and I do not protest too much, so just you hush—if you JOKINGLY published a request for chocolate at the bottom of a post, and it just so happened that you had the world’s very best friend who, as a JOKE hahahaha, sent you a giant box of Godiva chocolates—Godiva DARK chocolates—Godiva, do you hear me? that’s no joke—and a week* later you realized you had eaten the ENTIRE box except for the two cappucino truffles you saved for your husband out of the vast generosity of your heart and because he was, after all, the one who suffered the broken toe, and also because you don’t care for cappucino—if that happened (that was the hypothetical, and here’s the question) would you then announce it to millions of people the world over (or, um, hundreds at least) on, say, your blog?
*where “week” = “five days”
We use Math-U-See too, but I didn’t see where there this story was going until Kathy Jo explained:
Sam (five-year-old son): “Mama, I don’t know if I do eight or nine. They both suck.”
Ahem. Alright, this one both shocked and confused me for a moment, and I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or be horrified. I asked him to repeat himself to be sure I understood correctly– and I had. And then I finally realized what he was trying to tell me.
He’s been doing Math-U-See, and I love the way it teaches the math facts to the little guys. You see, nine wants to be ten, so when it’s added to another number, it sucks away one unit from the other number like a vacuum cleaner. Sam hasn’t completely mastered the nine math facts yet, but he’s gotten very fast at giving me the answers. So today we started the eight math facts. It turns out that eight also wants to be ten, so it sucks away two units from the other number.
Hence, when he came across the problem 9 + 8, he wasn’t sure which way to figure out the problem as eight and nine both suck.
Good golly, is that funny. An hour later, I’m still giggling.
There’s a good geography story in Kathy Jo’s story, too. My kids have soaked up a lot of geography over dinner, both with map placemats or (their favorite) sometimes I put a large world map under a clear vinyl tablecloth on the dinner table. The plastic bugs me, or else I’d leave it that way all the time. Whenever I do ditch the pretty blue cotton tablecloth for the map & plastic combo, the kids get very excited. Their peas are quite the little globetrotters. (“Mom, look, it rolled to Peru!”)
And then there’s our old pal Mr. Putty. He has become such a part of the family that I stuck him up there in the sidebar alongside all the kids. These days he is spending a lot of time in Egypt during our read-aloud of The Golden Goblet. Then he moseys to Rome. When we go swimming, somebody dunks him in an ocean: his goal is to visit every major body of water on Earth by the end of next month. I think that includes rivers and lakes. My children really love pool season.
Speaking of geography stories, Karen had a good one this week.
Willa, one of my favorite bloggers and favorite people in general, pointed her readers toward this post at Dumb Ox Academy the other day. Faith’s blog is new to me, but I like her already. It appears we have a lot in common; like me, Faith sees good sense in both traditional classical education and unschooling. Faith writes:
I am drawn to two dissimiliar methods of home educating my kiddos. One is the structured, rigorous and time-tested method of classical schooling, complete with chanting declensions, and in depth analysis of ancient classics. The other is unschooling, following one’s bliss and trusting in the Lord to provide the pilgrim with everything he needs.
Now, I would characterize unschooling a bit differently, since my vision of “natural learning” involves a good deal of behind-the-scenes path-strewing on the part of mom and dad; and from what I’m seeing on Faith’s excellent blog, I get the impression she works this way too. This post goes on to share a terrific idea for using the fridge as an “unschooling bulletin board”:
So far the categories I have come up with are: Quote of the Week, Latin Phrase of the Week, Root Word of the week, Spelling Rule of the Week, and Math of the Week. I showed them to the kids at lunch time (I was very busy setting it up yesterday morning and they were getting curious about what I was doing!). So I showed them each category. My 11 yo immediately said, “get me a pencil and paper!” And then got some himself and wrote E=MC(squared) and posted it up. I’d forgotten science! And apparently when he and his dad were attending a baseball game on Sunday, dh had explained Einstein’s Theory of Relativity to him.
Read the rest of the post to see what Faith has chosen for her first week of Fridgeschooling. She promises to share each week’s selections on her new “On the Fridge” page. I love her first Quote of the Week. It’s from A Thomas Jefferson Education, a book I found useful and interesting, living as we do in Mr. Jefferson’s backyard. (And I have just remembered with a terrible pang that I promised to send my copy to a friend ages ago. Cindy, I’m so sorry, do you still want it? Mea culpa.) Like Andrew Campbell’s superb new book, The Latin-Centered Curriculum, Oliver van DeMille’s A Thomas Jefferson Education makes a case for an education steeped in the writings of the ancient Greeks and Romans, with the parent serving as mentor, accompanying the student through the deep, unrushed study of a few key works. Multum non multa, as Campbell puts it: “Not many, but much.”
Willa herself has written several thoughtful and eloquent posts exploring the seeming oxymoron of “classical unschooling.” My own explanation of the concept is that classical ed informs the what, the content, and unschooling describes the how.
Six weeks! She is six weeks old already! Who keeps pushing the fast forward button?
Yes, I know it’s grainy and badly lit. Yes, I know I need to spend more time studying Tracey’s advice. But look! A smile! One of thousands. She is the smiliest baby. When she is awake.
It is not all giddy lightheartedness around here. We can be solemn, too.
Sometimes we have important things to say, in a jovial manner.
Whistling is a pleasant way to pass the time.