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Month: June 2008 (page 1 of 2)

ice cream science, socializing, and sharing

Today, we joined six other families from “Home Education For Us”–a relatively new homeschooling group that we’ve recently become involved with–for a fun get-together. Aidan was a little nervous to venture out to a new setting with new people (as were Mom and Dad a little), but we all mustered our courage and were glad we did. It was a very nice time. Everyone in the group seems so very friendly and welcoming. Philosophically, we seem well matched as well, as there seem to be no real extremes; most (as far as I could gather today) lean towards unschooling but stop short of “radical unschooling.” This is becoming our approach with Aidan, [singlepic=110,250,250]following his interests and curiosity, trusting in a child’s natural ability to learn.

The day started with a name game, where the kids tossed a stuffed animal around the circle calling each other’s name to get to know one another. Then we moved onto show-and-tell, where the kids each took turns sharing either a book or a favorite object with the rest of the group. Some of the kids read from their books; others just talked about the book; and still others demonstrated how cool their [singlepic=109,250,250]favorite toy was. Aidan brought a Magic Tree House book with but wasn’t quite ready to talk to the group just yet. We had some free play time, ate lunch, and then, for the main event, we made homemade ice cream. It was a lot easier than you might think (just don’t add too much flavored syrup, as this slows the freezing process, we learned.) Here’s a link to the basic process we used: Plastic Bag Ice Cream. Part of the process involves shaking the bag of ingredients non-stop for five minutes. Needless to say we all earned the small amount of ice cream that resulted from the process. But, mmm, was it good.

We all hung out for a while after that. The adults got the chance to talk a little while the kids played. It was nice chatting about ideas and approaches to teaching our kids. Aidan even began to warm up a little to the point where he didn’t really want to leave at the end. We hope to continue to get to know this group better and have more fun again soon.

shooting for the stars

We took advantage of the free museum week last Friday and trekked down to the Adler Planetarium. Aidan has been interested in space, stars, and planets lately, so we thought he might enjoy the museum. We had a good time walking around the museum campus. We toured the museum, took in a show of the Zulu Patrol in one of the Planetarium’s 360-degree theaters, and then made our way along the lake front to Buckingham fountain. (Quite a walk for Chris and me; Aidan had the benefit of his stroller with canopy to shade him from the sun. He munched grapes along the way. What a life ;-) All in all a good day.

whoever said tennis was a team sport?

Aidan has recently been expressing an interest in sports. Paging through the park district catalog one day he decided he wanted to try tennis, baseball, and soccer this year. So that’s what we’re going to do. He started tennis a little more than a week ago on June 16 and says he really enjoys it. Although, you wouldn’t quite know it to look at him in the class. I guess given our parenting style and pursuit of home education, Aidan hasn’t really learned to “follow the leader” very well. There are many line exercises and drills in the class (all in good fun), but Aidan doesn’t quite get the stand-in-line thing. I mean he’s not rude or anything; he just kind of meanders around and watches what everybody is doing. The coaches regularly are asking him to step here or go there, and he always seems rather surprised when they address him directly.

I think in class today, two of the three coaches (working with about 25 kids) spent the first 10 minutes of the class just trying to get Aidan to take a tennis ball out of the coach’s hand. He just didn’t want to take the ball. When the other kids are practicing running up and down the court, Aidan stands right in the middle of the court and watches everyone run around him–smiling the whole time. He participates on his terms. Occasionally, he’ll step forward and take his turn at a volley, swinging his racquet with carefree abandon at the little green ball. He laughs a little, turns to smile and give us a big wave as we sit in the bleachers; then, he sticks his racquet between his legs, pretending it’s a horse and rides it at a casual pace to and fro around the court–going wherever his whimsy leads him. That’s a typical day on the court so far. I’m not sure if his method will take him to Wimbledon, but he is sure to have fun on his terms all along the way.

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