It was cold today. I told the kids last night that we would stay home and stay inside today, so this morning they announced their intention to dress up fancy, since they wouldn’t be going outside and getting dirty. But then they helped me do housework. Girl did some laundry, Boy cleaned the sink, counter, and floor in the bathroom.
So, ladies and gentlemen, this is what fancy looks like doing housework:
Both of them rocked their contributions to the household, and then Girl spent some time on PBSkids.org while Boy sat with me on the couch and we read through his math textbook, the unit on addition and subtraction within 40. (We just started that unit yesterday.) He did a great job of talking through the steps of solving problems that were illustrated in the pictures, using the strategies he learned last year. Then he did some written exercises in his workbook. After that he played violin, and managed some beautiful double-stop notes. Then we had lunch, and Boy went back to his workbook and finished all of the exercises in the unit.
For those wondering how this kind of sit-down math work figures into our family’s unschooling practice, I want to stop here and say a couple of things about that. I’ve told Boy that the only things we need to do every day (except for days when we’re out and about all day) are math and violin. He understands that he needs to practice violin in order to learn to play violin, and so as long as I’m managing to not make it a stressful experience, he doesn’t object. Neither does he object to a math text and workbook. Boy is interested in math and highly motivated to learn, and actually mentioned that he wanted to get back to book work on the subject over Christmas. So I will say that we need to do math, but I don’t tell him how much he needs to do. He retains control over progress. For example, today I read through the rest of the unit in the textbook with him, and I should say that at this level the Singapore Math textbooks really have minimal pages and content. Then I circled the page number on the last page of exercises for the unit, and just said that whenever he was done with those exercises, we could start on multiplication the next day. He is pretty keen to learn about multiplication, so I wasn’t surprised that he did them all at his first opportunity. But crucially, he doesn’t feel like I’m ‘bossing’ him.
In any case, after a snack I gave Boy a turn on the laptop. He got through most of the section on loops in the Artist program on code.org, and then just messed around with making drawings with functions of his own creation.
In between all this, Boy and Girl both played with Legos. Boy in particular spent a lot of time setting up ‘scenes’ with his Swamp Police creations. He cut up construction paper to make land, incorporated some of our rocks and a Lego tree into the landscape, and kept asking about what kind of animals might live in a swamp. And he was narrating a story with the pictures.
Meanwhile we decided that Girl wouldn’t do Daisy Scouts this semester. She talked to me about it, that she didn’t want to sell cookies because she doesn’t like to talk to people she doesn’t know. Which is true. And then we talked about it more, and she said she doesn’t really want to go to the Daisy meetings, because she’s so tired at the end of the co-op day. That’s also true. So from there it was a pretty quick decision. We won’t make Girl do things she doesn’t want, and she has plenty of years ahead to be a Girl Scout. We wrote to the leaders and they even said she could join her troop on activities anytime she wanted, since she was registered for the year already. As always, the co-op women are wonderful.
Tomorrow: Multiplication! And a walk at the Botanical Gardens with friends.