Monday, March 26, 2007

Eucharist and the Four Seasons

Today is shaping up to be a big day of table work. Table work because I find it hard to say 'school' work. Unschooling may not be my primary approach anymore but it still runs under the surface of much of what we do.

Math first. Still Math Mammoth. I just can't communicate how much I appreciate this curricullum. When Catherine is having trouble with any aspect of arithmetic I just open up the blue series folder on my desktop and search for the appropriate work and print some out for her. So she learned about adding to 9's by taking 1 away from the number she is adding the 9 to. By the time she was finished the fingers she usually uses for counted were instead occupied with tapping her chin for the half-second or so it took her to answer the math question I'd drill her on.

We ditched Grammar today because Catherine is involved in a 'Life in the Eucharist' program at our local church and was sent home with some homework. It's a program for inviting children into the eucharist and teaching them about it. Now Catherine's not baptized and not eager to be at this point so she won't be taking communion anytime soon however, she's enjoying this and learning a bit about her family's traditional beliefs. It made me realize too that in my efforts not to impose my faith on Catherine and Harry, I've been refusing to even share it. While we've read about Hercules and Thor, I've barely mentioned Adam or Joseph. I believe my kids should be free to look beyond their roots fo their beliefs but I think I've got to take more time in letting them know what those roots are.

So we did the homework and even recited a prayer together, something Catherine enjoys.

After lunch we did some science ("science isn't school work Mom"). It was about the four seasons and I did it only because Catherine seemed a little shaky on what season followed what last week. It was probably just a bad moment but regardless, I printed out the following graphic...

She then cut it out and taped it onto a paper plate. She traced the seasons with her finger and told me what shape she was tracing. I told her the shape was fundamentally important to the seasons and we brainstormed about why that would be, eventually settling on the fact that the planet revolves around the sun.

Big goof up though. The circle is, of course, NOT the shape that defines the orbit of the earth around the sun and the fact that it's not, that the orbit is elliptical, is fundamentally important to the seasons. D'oh. This was made clear in our next activity which can be found here. It's a wonderful little read with some neat activites that really make clear how the earth's path around the sun causes the seasons. Nothing I could have come up with could have explained the idea better.

We're on the verge of more math at the moment as Catherine has a bit to finish up. Reading is on tap for later, more "Little House in the Big Woods," and her quiet time will probably be taken up with listening to her current audiobook, Lloyd Alexander's Prydain Chronicles.

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