Sunday, February 17, 2013

Lifestyle of Learning: Volume 3

There are some weeks that are just more difficult than others; weeks in which the expected and the unexpected converge, seeming to conspire to run a person over.  This past week was one of those weeks.  Recognizing the liturgical calendar and civic holidays provide rhythm and joy to our lives.  This was a week full of celebrations - Lunar New Year, Shrove Tuesday, Ash Wednesday, and St. Valentine's Day.  These celebrations kept us busy in a way that we had anticipated.  And then the unexpected took its toll - we spent the week trying to recover from 8 days without running water, we heard bad news from my husband's family, a close family friend died on Valentine's morning and then we received a surprise visit from the Secret Service that same afternoon (that is a story for another time).  The unexpected kept us busy and has taxed us emotionally.  Although the week started out with some academic focus it quickly unraveled under the pressure of life.  It is reassuring, and even comforting, that I believe that education doesn't have to come in the form of prepared lesson plans, that I believe that the boys are learning a considerable amount when they are pursuing personal interests and passions.  The week began with us reviewing the art of the high renaissance and the explorers of the same time period.  We also reviewed Martin Luther and his historical contribution and added all relevant people and events to our timelines.  All other educational opportunities were less formal.
Maceo checked out Khan Academy and Bishop immersed himself in Youngzine.
Bishop kept up with our eagles 

and Maceo began creating a storyboard for his own comic book.
Maceo had his first trip to a comic book store and purchased his first comic book in the name of research for his writing project.  Bishop organized his legos 
 and went to Boy Scouts.
Bishop and I went on a snowy walk to the cafe
where he spent some time designing weapons while sitting by the fire.
 Bishop had to get his routine allergy shots. After these shots we must wait twenty minutes to see if he will have an adverse reaction.  We could choose to read a magazine or watch the Price is Right but we try to redeem our time by playing a game.  This week we played this lego frog game. And, let me tell you, it is more difficult then it looks.
(P.S. Bishop won this time).
Bishop also started experimenting with needle felting.  He and I spent a pleasant evening watching Miyazaki's Castle in the Sky while needle felting.

Bishop explored the concept of Bentos and watched tutorials on making them and other Japanese foods; he is now ready to get in to the kitchen.  Maceo spent a considerable amount of time researching different genres of music and movie history.  When Maceo gets interested in a topic like comic books, music or movies he thoroughly immerses himself in the history and the art, among other things.  He works to develop a set of criteria to analyze them critically and then seeks opportunities to present and defend his opinion regarding them.  For instance, with the Academy Awards around the corner he is trying to figure out what makes a critically acclaimed movie, what comprises 'good' acting, how a story is conveyed through cinematogrophy, and what decisions the producer made that make the movie great or how Maceo would make different decisions.  It is an intense process but fun to witness.
Upon reflection I can say that we had a productive week despite the difficulties thanks to a lifestyle of learning.

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