Self- Directed and Teacher- Directed Learning Mesh

We had a quick morning of work today.  I  had a dentist appointment this morning and my mom was coming to watch the boys so I wouldn't have to drag them with me.  I told them they only had to do math and reading for today but they surprised me by choosing to do even more!

Our days are often a mix of traditional teaching methods where I teach and guide lessons and a mix of delight directed learning where the boys choose what else we are learning about. 

Math-- Each of the boys took their 20 minute turn on Khan Academy.  Ian is starting to hate it since the deeper he gets into 4th/5th grade math the harder it gets.  He then pulled out his math book and completed a page drawing lines to specific measurements; I'm thinking we might just turn to book work altogether.

Evan had worked in his Star Wars book and completed a page on counting by 10's up to 250.  He needed a bit of help but did a good job.  He also worked on Khan Academy for a bit and was thrilled to earn tons of mastery points and level up in 15 different skills.

 Alec worked on a workbook page putting numbers with decimals in order from least to greatest.  When it was his turn on the computer Alec leveled up in 36 skills and is now 90% of the way through 3rd grade level math-- in a WEEK!

Reading-- Ian read It's Christmas, David!  He has several books started up in his room that he's been reading at night but he didn't want to go upstairs and instead picked a picture book at random off of our bookshelf to read.  Evan read Biscuit takes a walk.

Geography-- Ian and Alec played The Scrambled States of America game.  Alec announced that they might be loud but they were learning.  They told me they were working on their geography skills (yep, they chose to do this on their own just for fun!).

Science-- Evan and I dumped out yesterday's colored, super absorbent, crystals onto a plate. According to the Big Bag of Science instruction booklet, if we let them sit out a few days and dry out they should shrink back up.  We wanted to see if that was true and if they would stay colored or revert back to white so we ran a science experiment.  We found an out of the way place to put the plate and we'll keep checking on it over the next few days.

Easy and simple but sometimes the best experiments are; I always try to encourage the boys to see what will happen when they're curious about what would happen if... some of our best experiments started with one of the boys asking that.

 I went to get my teeth cleaned and when I came home I found Ian and my mom playing Life.  He had made her be the banker but even so just playing the game gives you lots of math and reading opportunities.  He was using all sorts of strategies to try and help him win.

It was getting late and the boys had made it pretty clear that they wanted to get to gym day.  I offered to make lunches again while they cleaned up whatever they had been playing with.  My mom left to head home and by the time we settled down to eat they were asking me to read some more Harry Potter.

Reading Comprehension, physical education & socialization-- We listened to our book on CD in the car and finished up the first CD.  So far it seems like everyone is enjoying it though and they are eager to hear more.

We arrived at gym day and the boys had a great time.  Alec played gaga the whole entire time; only pausing to rest when he was "out." Ian played a bit of gaga, played some games of four square, and played with the soccer ball.

Evan had a bit of difficulty.  He had two different sets of friends show up at gym today and he was having a hard time figuring out how to play with them both.  He spent a bit of time pouting, crying, and sitting by himself.  He claimed that they couldn't all play since the boys didn't all get along.

He had no idea how to handle it when one friend was not being nice to another.

We talked a bit about friends and sticking up for our friends.  We talked about being in the middle of friends.  We talked about feeling like an outsider.  I tried to give him advice, but mostly I told him he had to figure out for himself what worked best.

The two boys in question were happily off playing with other friends not minding in the least and eventually, I think, Evan realized he was the only one not having fun.  After that he was up and running, rolling, and playing.
Once home the boys were on their own.  Alec went to build with our magnetic blocks.  I had no idea that Ian had been building with them earlier too and both boys showed me their new buildings.  They figured out how to make turrets and towers.  Ian told Alec he could use any of his block pieces that he wanted as he left the room and Alec made a house with three turrets, a roof top garden, and a wind breaker.
Ian's house with mini pyramid towers in the background 

Alec's completed house from the backside 

The front of Alec's house 
Alec sat down at the computer and using a list he had written up while watching his Pokemon movies (YES! Finally some self- guided writing!), he looked up stuffed animals to add to his Amazon wish list.

It always amazes me when we look back over the days that I feel like we slacked off on and see how much learning they directed.

I love when they direct their learning because I do think that those lessons are always the one they'll remember the most.

We can't help but acquire knowledge when we're interested, determined, and driven... even if it isn't always a topic other people care nearly as much about.


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