Saturday, January 14, 2012

Art Program and World Studies

We had a very productive week schoolwork-wise, and lots of socializing too. He's now participating three times a week in our social art programs - afternoons on Tuesdays and Fridays (with the kiddies), and Thursday mornings (with the big kids). All together, he's spending 7 hours a week doing cool stuff with other kids.

He loved starting the big kids' program. Even though he is the youngest in this group, the coordinator said he was showing great leadership skills. Where we live, because most kids have to work to help their families, middle school runs in the afternoon, so middle-schoolers come to the project in the mornings. The project provides a monthly stipend to the participating families so that the kids don't have to work. Most of the kids have been here for several years. I'll be guiding a creative writing workshop with them (I used to be the dance teacher until my knees gave out last year). The public schools here really suck, and many kids finish middle school barely knowing how to write a complete sentence. Most of them don't go on to high school because they can't afford the commute to another town that has one.

*don't tell him I told you - (he has a major crush on his juggling partner)

We finished our unit on World Regions

We learned all about important capitals,
mountains, rivers, lakes, oceans, and landmarks.

As he goes, he chooses pictures from the book
to draw on the covers of the booklets.

It took me around 30 hours (over 4 days) to read the whole book and write up the worksheets - basically taking notes on the most relevant information, and leaving certain words blank for him to fill in. We did this last year in Science and it worked very well for retention. He works on one booklet for two weeks. Each day he reads 2-4 pages from the book and answers 10 or so questions in the booklet. At the end of the semester, we'll have booklets on World Regions, People and Society, History of People, Living World, Science and Technology, Planet Earth, and the Universe. By writing up the worksheets myself, we get to use books we like instead of textbooks with incorporated questions and exercises.

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