2021 Homeschool Week 12 | March 22

I want to highlight the flow of our homeschool this week. How naturally it happens upon the foundation I’ve laid and how that all works to keep our learning time peaceful and enticing instead of stressful and overwhelming. 

I can get overwhelmed easily, so this is extremely significant for me. I’m not one of those people who is just always calm and collected. I try to be. With heightened sensory processing, I’m often disarmed by my surroundings.

I’m aware of what it takes to keep my balance, and I do my best to maintain it as comfortably as possible.

This lifestyle has been carefully considered and it’s sacred to me. It meets my needs and I work within it without added stress. That doesn’t make it effortless, but the ways I support the flow almost makes it feel that way sometimes. 

Here’s an example of how our recent learning has taken shape, from the flow of interest to seeking materials to then discovering what they entail…

We started our week with a new book: DK Eyewitness Books: Wonders of the World: Take an Incredible Journey Around the World’s Most Awesome Sights*

When it came in, I quickly flipped through it, and the page on the Acropolis caught my attention. I left it open on the ottoman to show Myles. 

If you’ve been reading, you know that we recently started getting Atlas Crate from Kiwi Co. 

(We had been getting Kiwi Crates, but they piled up because of life focuses shifting for a bit, and I thought switching over to Atlas Crate would give us something new to explore while catching up on the Kiwi Crates in between.)

The first country featured by Atlas Crate was Greece. We read through the Adventure Cards and worked on the projects and crafts over the next few weeks. 

All this sparked an interest in Greek mythology, so we purchased a book: D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths*

A few weeks ago, we started reading through the stories, talking about the personification of the events that created the world and the other natural events described. 

Myles suggested we watch the Disney movie Hercules*, and while we watched he pointed out some of the gods he had already read about or referenced back to them when we got to their sections in the book later.  

Seemingly unrelated but you’ll soon see how it’s connected, we’ve been using Science: A Visual Encyclopedia* for months now. When it seems to fit into our balance, I’ll pull it out and read the next two page spread. The information is concise and multiple visual examples with brief explanations give a good feel for the topics. We can get an idea for the information without doing an elaborate “lesson” on it, and we can use YouTube or other resources if there’s a topic we do want to learn more about.  

Because we’ve consistently used this book and we keep going back to it because it’s interesting and useful, I took a look to see what other visual encyclopedias were available. I found quite a few, and while I’d love to have them all, I considered which ones would fit into where we are with life and learning right now. I saved a few to our wishlist for later, when maybe we need a spark again. I chose two for now. One I mentioned in more detail last week, which you can read about here.

The one I’ll point out today brings us back to the start: DK Eyewitness Books: Wonders of the World*

I thought this would tie in nicely with the Atlas Crates and continue to be a good resource any time we might come across a reference to any of the wonders.  

*This is not a trap; it is an affiliate link, and I may earn a commission from its use. Thank you for supporting the time and effort I put into providing this content. I only recommend products I have used.

So we started the week with our opened copy on the ottoman, that I had left out to show Myles and connect to our current learning. He brought it to me on the couch, and he suggested we could read some more of our Greek myths after we read the section on the Acropolis.

Over the week, we read about Poseidon, Apollo, Artemis, Orion, and Hermes, picking up our book because of interest and not because of an expectation to learn something. 

Later in the week, after a morning of reading more Greek myths, we moved on to the science encyclopedia I mentioned above. We started a new section on materials (after having just finished the section on matter), and the first page showed the Parthenon! Myles perked up and asked to read that part himself.  

We also learned about plastics and glass, and their uses and limitations. 

I want to stop and emphasize how our “curriculum” comes together and how we flow through topics, finding new resources and information without spending hours trying to plan and then still having to do it – and then probably still having to do it with resistance. No thank you!

We seek learning from a place of intrigue and exploration. We’re open to what comes next instead of forcing the next lesson, and then the next.

We’ve explored Greece well beyond the great introduction the Atlas Crate provided. These connections between materials encourage memory and mastery beyond the “okay, we covered it, next” of traditional lessons. 

We will continue to connect future information we learn back to this foundation. True learning took place, not memorization or proof of the ability to pass tests before purging the memory.  

So what else did we do this week?

Our last ASL class was cancelled, and we were sad to miss the review and new words. But our interest was sparked, and we know how to pursue additional knowledge when it fits into our time. 

Myles also practiced French and Japanese on DuoLingo after seeing me working on mine. He had said he was going to play Prodigy, an excellent math-based adventure game, but then he was inspired to practice language learning instead. 

He did play Prodigy at other times during the week. I think he skipped Khan math this week, even though he had said he still planned to do it. I’m curious to see what he will do since he set that intention. A past version of me would have been tempted to prod, but this version will sit back and see how things unfold. There’s no expectation he needs to live up to. This is his choice, and his set goal to pursue or adjust. 

Of course he practiced typing at least once this week. Sometimes I don’t even know he’s done it until he thinks to tell me about it later. This week, he was waiting for a class, and took the time before it started to squeeze in a lesson. Again, no prompting, he’s just learning how to manage his time and keep himself entertained. This is a result of trust, and of letting go of my conditioned need for control. (No, it wasn’t easy to get to this, but it’s been rewarding all around so I’ve continued to reset my expectations.)

We had another fun class with Varsity Tutors called A Piece of Your Mind. Holly at the Pacific Science Center presented a model of the brain with different areas highlighted and then used excellent examples to give a feel for what functions they performed. She used some activities and tests of the students’ abilities to follow directions or explore a process with her and connected those back to each region of the brain.  

Myles with the brain shown during Varsity Tutors class: A Piece of Your Mind

We spent some time looking through our seeds, assessing our current seedlings, and starting some new seeds. Soon it will be time to transplant them into our garden outside, and I’ll admit it’s one of my favorite times of the year. Watching plants grow and then enjoying what they produce is so rewarding to me. 

We took a couple of walks this week, one day venturing over to my grandparents’ house, where Myles found a lizard to observe for awhile.  

He also gained a new customer for his eggs this week, and we were invited in to play with kittens when he delivered the eggs. Play and observation are significant to learning, but most importantly – fun!

We decided to wait on our next Atlas Crate since we’ve still been pretty immersed in our Greek studies, so we grabbed one of our extra Kiwi Crates off the shelf. Myles chose Physics Carnival, and we looked through the explore! magazine that introduces the topics for the crate with comics, stories, and examples. 

These have gotten easier for Myles to do on his own, so he set out to do the projects throughout the week when I was occupied with something else. Then he would excitedly show me what he had created. 

You can see the videos on our Instagram page:  https://www.instagram.com/encouragingcuriosity/

If you’re interested in the Kiwi or Atlas Crate subscriptions, you’re welcome to use our link for a $10 credit (we get $10 also, thanks!)

Myles with his Balancing Acrobat from the Physics Carnival Kiwi Crate
Myles trying out his Carnival Catapult, also from the Physics Carnival Kiwi Crate
(watch our video on Instagram to see if he hits the target!)

After finishing our exciting mystery novel last week, we sat down with a book we received for Christmas. A few pages in, and hearing the cadence of Neil Gaimen’s voice despite me being the one reading, I looked for an audiobook copy to hear the lovely author read to us as we read along with the pages. The Graveyard Book* is intriguing, and definitely grabbed our interest quickly.  

We are still reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Book 5* and we gave our audiobook copy a little of our time while cleaning up around the house. We had also started The Hobbit*, but it hasn’t had our attention for a bit. As we start caring for plants and working in the garden, I bet we will carry audiobooks with us more and more.

*This is not a trap; it is an affiliate link, and I may earn a commission from its use. Thank you for supporting the time and effort I put into providing this content. I only recommend products I have used.

We start a new adventure this week, so our available time and focus on the current materials may change a bit. I used to be weary of change because I was afraid I may not be able to handle the unknowns as they come, but now I welcome the changes in environment and inspiration that will fuel us forward into new areas of learning and experience.

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