Thursday, August 28, 2008

Back to School FUN

Since school is on my mind, I'm going to write a little more about that now. If school is boring for you, you might want to click away to some place cooler, like here. Now then, back to school.

I've decided over the summer that we're going to add a few new things to our weekly routine. In no particular order:

- A study of the Six Nations (Iriquois) people. We live less than an hour away from the reservation, and today when I asked Kev (a Canadian, who's lived here his whole life, hello?) which 6 tribes they are, he didn't even guess one of them correctly. Even I knew some of them, and I've only been here for 10 years. Shame on Kevin the Canadian! (For the record, they are Seneca, Cayuga, Onondaga, Oneida, Mohawk and Tuscarora). I grew up and lived in Kitsap County, WA until I was 33, and coming from there you just can't get away from native American history and culture. Our county was named after Chief Kitsap of the Suquamish tribe, and in the north part of the county is the Port Madison reservation. A lot of names in Washington are native American names (such as Puyallup, Tacoma, Spokane, Yakima, Seattle and Walla Walla) and you learn about these things growing up in and around them. (Bonus points to the first commenter who doesn't cheat, but replies with the correct pronunciation of Puyallup - and - who isn't FROM WA state) :-)

Anyway, I thought it would be a really good thing for the kids to know a little more about the native Canadian people that are our neighbors. So, we're going to study their names, languages, religions, myths (which are amazingly close to the Biblical account of creation, so this will be a great study), leaders, economy and have lots of fun projects to go along with it. At the end of the study (which I haven't actually planned out yet, it's all still in my head) we're going to take a trip down there and spend the day on the reservation so they can see how these folks live today. I was there last weekend and it's absolutely beautiful country. It'll be a blast. (If anyone reading is a whiz with Canadian and/or Iriquois history, please feel free to contact me, I'd love to hear your insight on this subject).

- We're also going to be doing a new Current Events subject. I remember doing this in the 4th or 5th grade and I actually enjoyed it quite a bit. The way our current events will work is pretty simple. Between Monday and Wednesday they will each scan the headlines of the newspaper and pick the article that is of most interest to them. After reading the article they will write a short report on it, and in their own words tell the "class" what it's about and what was so interesting about it. Depending on the subject matter, it could prove to be a very good discussion opportunity.

The report will be due on Friday and they will read it outloud for the class. This subject will not only get them into the habit of looking at the headlines to see what's going on in the world (and our own backyard) but it will give them a lot more to think about and consider outside of their very small worlds. It will cover reading comprehension, writing skills, speaking and critical thought/discussion. I'm really looking forward to this, and I hope they end up liking this subject as much as I did when I was a kid.

- I haven't decided which days yet (depends on open/family time at the pool) but we're also adding swimming and public library day. Library day will be every other week, and swimming will be twice weekly, as soon as I can remember what I did with the pool schedule :-) They check books out at the church library all the time, so they know how to do that and they enjoy it very much. I want them to also use the public library, even though much more discernment skill will be required there. There are a million and one things to discover in books, and since they all love to read, I want that door open for them to explore.

The swimming is mainly for fun, but also for a great way to get some good exercise, especially on those miserably cold winter days when playing outside is simply impossible. I'm going swimming with them too, so yay for me! I'm really looking forward to these new items added to our school week. It will make for longer and a little more hectic school days, but that's okay too.

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