I have been very impressed with the homeschooling resources and activities in my neighborhood; one of these is a Swim Club at our local YMCA. Sera had swimming at 8am this morning and while she was busy doing the backstroke and the butterfly, Amelie and I had a coffee date and read together at Sip Cafe.
Once we got home Amelie wanted to read the Nativity story out of the Jesus Storybook Bible.
We also read several chapters of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women, which we had started this past summer. There is so much to build on from the novel that I thought it would be fun to make a study unit out of it. Related topics: Civil War history (Mr. March is a chaplain during the war), Transcendentalism/poetry (Louisa May Alcott’s father Bronson was a Transcendentalist and hung out with Emerson and Thoreau), Nature Study (the Thoreau connection), and New England geography (the setting).
However, when I suggested going to the library both of the girls said (verbatim), “NO! Two against one, mama.” SUPER. Just keeping it real in the homeschool world for you.
Instead of going out, we watched 30 minutes of Ken Burns’ The Civil War, which of course is amazing. I had wondered if it would be a little too intense for the girls, and while Sera didn’t want to stop watching (even for lunch) I did notice Amelie in a traumatized heap under a blanket at one point, so we probably won’t watch it with her again until she’s a little older. In related news, all the gas money I’m saving by not driving my kids to school is now going into a jar labeled, “Therapy.”
At one point, the film focused on the mistreatment of slaves and Sera, shocked, said, “People don’t even treat horses that way.” It’s amazing to think that so many people thought slavery was just fine and dandy. When we talk about slavery and civil rights, the girls are always stunned and sad–it’s their natural reaction. This gives me immense hope for the future.
After lunch we had “project time” and I told the girls they could do anything they wanted. Sera decided to make a nativity scene out of air dry clay.
Amelie couldn’t figure out any project she wanted to do, but she really wanted to do a science experiment. We have a few project books with ideas so I let her flip through and pick something. We decided to try something with vinegar, pennies, and a nail but it didn’t work. Homeschool fail.
At the end of the day we read more Little Women. There was a line about Laurie trying to get over his broken heart and about how traveling would might give him glimmers of hope like little “oases in the wilderness.” I asked Amelie what she thought that meant, and she replied, “Like little paths to happiness.” So sweet! I’ve always had my suspicious that Amelie might be my poet.
All in all, today was good–although I’m realizing that Amelie is not as much of a self-motivated learner and likes guidelines and structure. To me, this is the beauty of homeschool. I will not deny her that and demand that she strictly “unschool” on principle just because it’s a method I believe in and just because Sera is thriving in it. Everyone is different, and I want to pay attention to the strengths, gifts, and needs of my own “Little Women.”