Monday, August 15, 2005

Chicken pox, birthdays and outings

We meant to post more regularly - then three boys came down with chicken pox. It's a miserable sickness, makes you feel itchy and ugly and isolated...

As recovery approached, so did the youngest boy's birthday - ten years old! He has been trying to convince us that being ten makes him a teenager - you know, two digits!

And we have had a week of outings or visits and a myriad of follow-up discussions.

Our oldest three sons were visiting from interstate and the eldest brought a friend for the weekend.

We went to the science museum and got immersed in Greek treasures, Byzantine art, looking at Angus Young's guitar ( from ACDC) and life inside a space shuttle.

We played games of Star Wars Trivia and Hero Scape ( both birthday presents). And Avalanche on the Game Cube - talked angles and degrees here.

Walked around our neighbourhood and the nature reserve and lake and talked about the drought and the wattle.

Visited the Aquarium - I love the peacefulness of the underwater displays. I could stay down there forever. The boys enjoyed the sharks and the touch pool, and the gift shop.

Had our usual skateboarding group lesons with other homeschoolers. The teacher loves skateboarding and is good at it but seems to have no understanding of those who find it hard. One son and I had a long discussion about this, after an altercation and criticism from the instructor.

What makes a good teacher? Is it just being good at something? Or do you need something more - an empathy or understanding in addition to a passion? I must re-read some of John Holt as I remember that he had a number of comments to make about teaching and learning.

We started a teen group - the first meeting was at our house this week. Fifteen homeschooled teens, with their mothers and younger siblings turned up! What was interesting was the discrepancy of ideas for the group, amongst both teens and parents. Some want more activity oriented groups. Some want to hang out.

We are going to try a mix of both and see where it leads - friendships, things to do, interests.

And we finished off the week with Group learning - a co-op activity. I was the facilitator for the electricity stations. It's very school-ish but has been a way for us to meet others in our new area. I must admit that the kids liked the lemon battery experiment and also enjoyed making a pizza box solar oven.

The two teens went to youth group and also iceskating with some friends from drama class.

And the rest of us went skateboard shopping. Oh, and the ten year old bought a Tamagotchie ( a virtual pet). So, today we are discussing friends for the pet, and marriage for the future!

I gues that this is what I love about homeschooling - we don't fit school around life or life around school. Life is learning.


Luke said...

I was sort of hoping you'd say I bought a friend for the weekend! Might have been a good investment...

Didn't four come down with the pox?

I also like the underwater displays - the seal one was cool too. Perhaps there's an aquatic strain running through the family?

I definitely think you need more than just ability in an area to be a good teacher - it's more about being able to communicate what you know, and perhaps a passion for whatever it is. Knowledge isn't just a package of things, and learning doesn't consist of digesting such a package either. From my own experience in teaching maths and guitar I think I'm better at doing both than teaching it. I think a good teacher has to be able to see things from the perspective of the student - and not of the teacher being the student, but of the actual student being considered. Which is difficult, since other people can be so strange...

Leonie said...

Luke - can we show people and let them "pick it up", if we feel we are better at doing than at direct teaching?

Leonie - the life aquatic?