Saturday, November 27, 2010

And At The Core Learning Happens

So I have been thrilled with the outreach that home-schooling has permitted. I find the fun in it for me and hope that G and F do too.  I catch the exciting moments on film but if the truth be told those moments are not the most exciting.  True, they can be caught in a photo but how to you capture that moment that a four year old tells her elders that the Pilgrims were told by the king that they had to go to his church and no other.  Her understanding of the most basic level of Thanksgiving is simple but clearly more than what others learn.

Last year in the PS system G learned about Squanto and that there was a Thanksgiving Feast that natives had attended as well. She never knew why the Pilgrims came, sure that might be a lesson for later but WHY.  She was eager now to understand the basics.

As this holiday week approached I found it a great time to sort of wrap up a few lessons and finally get to those tests that have yet to be given. In part I was not sure that G would perform well on the test. So I was slow to administer an evaluation test.  As it turns out I really under estimated G's retention of knowledge. She did so well on what I would have thought was the hardest part of the testing.  Same with F, I completed some oral evaluations and she too has really retained more than I thought they had.

As a student I must say that they are wonderful sponges that soak up what is offered them. In the middle of all the fun we have there is indeed learning that is taking place.

So we did not cut class time short on Wednesday just made it a testing time. Of course there was no school on Thanksgiving but the following day we concluded some study about Native Americans by participating in an artist fair at the largest early civilization site in North America. We do not live very far from Cahokia Mounds and they had Native American artists present to display and sell their handiwork.

It was great, G was very open with them that she was there as part of her home-schooling and wanted to learn about their pottery, weaving and such. Most were very very open with her and taught her proudly about their particular craft. One woman took the time with them both to make a doll out of pine needles explaining that their tribe would make things out of the items found in nature. She had baskets made of pine needles that she explained could be used for carrying water and for cooking in.  G and F were amazed by her and at the end of the day she thanked me for sharing my grandchildren with her.  WOW she was a blessing sent to us in order to complete a lesson full circle.  No longer do the girls think that Native Americans are mean or look odd or dress wild or attack us.  We did it!  We have reached a greater understanding of a culture. All hidden by fun, indeed at the core learning happens.