Thursday, Toa of Boy and I were sitting at the kitchen table having lunch. Toa said, "Can we have a backwards day tomorrow?"
"What," I asked, "is a backwards day?"
Backwards Day, it turns out, is when you say the exact opposite of what you mean. Not when you wear all your clothes backwards. That distinction was clearly made by Toa.
"So," I asked, "instead of saying 'Time for school,' I would say, 'Children, stay in your rooms; we're not doing school today'?"
"Yes!" squeals a delighted Toa.
At this point Sweetling ambled into the kitchen for lunch. We described to Sweetling what Backwards Day was and gave her some examples.
Sweetling got her lunch, sat down at the table, and looked at the two of us, considering this whole scheme. "This," she concluded in her most matter-of-fact Sweetling tone, "sounds like chaos. I think I'll stay in my room doing trip research."
Trip research is what we've spent the bulk of our school time doing this week, as is evidenced by the many travel related blog entries I've posted this week. In late April 2010, we're taking a three week round trip drive to California and back. It just so happens that we are studying America right now in our Exploring Countries and Cultures curriculum from My Father's World. I expanded the two week USA study into a three week unit so that we could take the bulk of this week and learn and read about the 16 states we'll be driving through in our trek.
We started by having the kids find and label these states, plus a few key others on a blank map of the US. Then I used google maps to pull up a map of our journey out to California, and the kids drew our route in our their maps, and traced it with a red marker. We did the same for our journey back.
Then we read how each state got its name and its nickname in Greetings from the 50 States. We looked at Our 50 States, A Family Adventure across America as well as some library books I had grabbed, each highlighting a different state. Each day, we read and learned about a group of three or so states, taking them in order that we would be driving. (So the first day, we read about Indiana, Illinois, and Missouri.) As we read, we made a big list of anything in that State, that was close to our driving route, that we might want to see. Doing so involved using google to pull up the location of the attraction and checking that location with our route.
It was really interesting, and highly motivating, since we were actually going to get to visit many of the places we were adding to our list. On Thursday morning, I was sitting in the living room at 7:30 am reading my Bible, and two pajama clad children wandered in. They pulled library books off the shelf and started looking through them and discussing them with each other. At one point, Toa jumped up and ran down to the school room to come flying back up the stairs with a large laminated map of the US so he could find one of the places they had been talking about. And, that entire scene, from getting out the books to running for a map, transpired without any input or prompting from me whatsoever.
By Friday, everyone was ready for a break from trip research (well, except that Sweetling would rather be in her room doing research on her computer than participating in Backwards Day.) But we took the morning rather slow, doing some Bible study on Matthew and reading aloud from Kingdom Tales. Then each of the kids had an hour or so of time for "independent explorations." Sweetling did more trip research on her own computer, and Toa of Boy made a diorama of Zumwhere.
Toa of Boy has been really into dioramas these past few weeks. Last night, we cleared off the top of his desk to make room to display his diorama collection. I also need to put out a plea on Facebook for some empty shoe boxes.
That afternoon, we picked up the Incredible's children and headed to Parky's Ark, for an afternoon of water play and ice cream. (Mommy was sick of being trapped inside by oppressive heat.)
Also this week, we made super awesome T-shirts with some old friends we hadn't gotten to see in a while. We had to leave our wet t-shirts there, drying in the sun, so I hope to have some pictures later. But in the meantime, check out this super amazing sun-activated fabric paint.
Lastly, I might have killed my digital camera, which explains the crappy photo quality this week. I swear, all I did was change the batteries and reset the time/date (which always needs redone when the batteries come out.) But now my camera won't turn on to take pictures. It'll turn on and review pictures on its storage card, so I don't think I have the batteries in wrong. But the picture taking function won't come on. I haven't told the Jedi about this yet. The church got struck with lightning again on Wedndesday and it fried a server, which for some unknown reason, had gotten unplugged and moved and plugged into an unprotected outlet. The Jedi was at church until midnight on Thursday trying to resurrect the machine, was back again for a short time last night, and is working on it again this morning. So, my small camera woes shall wait.
Oh, and, in case you were wondering, Backwards Day was a bit chaotic, but it was a lot of fun. Toa often has trouble enough listening to and following directions when they are straightforward. So saying, "Go upstairs (when he already is upstairs), and don't look at the ceiling above your desk for any markers or pencils that floated up while you weren't doing school later," was pretty much gibberish to him. But don't feel bad for him, cause he solved that particular conundrum of directions by making a mermaid out of the paper scraps left out from his diorama building. I'm not sure if the moral of the story is "mermaids make all things better," or, "when in doubt, create." As a mom, I'm hoping for the later interpretation.
Check out what others did this week on Weird Unscocialized Homeschoolers.