Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Homeschool Preparations: A Lifestyle of Learning Method

There was a time when these summer months would have been spent organizing curriculum and making schedules.  I would spend hours combing over my resources, creating unit studies, looking for supplemental activities on the internet, creating pin boards on pinterest, and creating timetables.  I loved doing this.  I loved researching all the options.  It contributed to a heightened sense of anticipation.  The "school year" would begin and I would start out strong, following the plan and making the boys follow the plan.  But it wouldn't take terribly long before we would deviate from the plan.  A new opportunity or a new interest would arise and we would find ourselves quite a distance from the plan.  Now I do not spend my summer months in that manner.  That doesn't mean that I don't spend time anticipating what is to come.  And it doesn't mean that I don't spend time preparing.  It just looks different now.
Although I consistently have conversations with the boys about their aspirations, I began this summer having detailed conversations with them about what direction they intend their studies going so that I could best determine how to encourage and support them.  I will spend some of this summer accessing resources that will enable them to pursue the things that are important to them.
I will also spend the summer pursuing my own studies, reading my own books.  It is important that I continue my educational journey so as to serve as a good model, to enable me to create a stimulating environment, and, quite honestly, the more I know the more I am able to offer them, to support them.
When conversing with Maceo he revealed that he wanted to continue his private vocal training and his endeavors at the theatre, including troupe.  He is considering returning to choir and beginning opera specific training.  He intends on continuing his studies of vocal pedagogy.  He wants to take piano lessons, learn Italian, and German and Italian diction for singers.  He is wanting to study whatever is necessary to perform well on the ACT.  He would like to visit NYC, hopes to apply for MFAA for summer 2016, and also aspires to study opera in Italy in summer 2017.

Bishop expressed that he wanted to continue expanding his knowledge in the area of gastronomy.  He wants to finish working his way through the textbook "The Professional Chef" and have as many gastronomical experiences as possible.  He is considering starting a gastronomy club and he would like to explore teas as well.  He wants to continue studying the cajon and drawing routinely and would like to have an opportunity to engage in more blacksmithing.  He will continue pursuing Eagle Scout and will continue with history group, service project group, nature study group, pottery and working at the food pantry.  He wants to learn French and possibly Japanese and Swedish.   He wants to take piano lessons, go hiking and work out, including possibly going to the American Ninja Warrior gym.

As for me, I want to do more hiking and bird watching.  I want to learn to identify mushrooms and other wild edibles and incorporate some in my meals.  I want to bake more yeast breads.  I want to finish reading "The Triumph of Christianity" (a great read!) and Jane Eyre.  I want to learn to play my mandolin, view live productions of Shakespeare and continue learning more about how to use my camera.  I want to work on genealogical and family history projects.  I recently read "The Mystery of the Periodic Table"  (another great read, I highly recommend it) and now I want to pursue chemistry a bit more.  I also want to pursue anything on this here goal list, such as gelatin printing and making a monarch waystation.

Mostly I want to provide opportunities for my boys and I to live a life of curiosity. 

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Happy Independence Day, Y'all!!!!!

We have a wonderful little neighborhood that hosts an Independence Day parade.  It is a delightful parade.  It is very reminiscent of parades of yesteryear.  
Enjoy....I did!

We had military and scouts, old cars and old bikes,  ladies dressed in 40's garb and another in Native American dress.  We had a bluegrass band and patriotic music, the Victorian Drill Team and the Kilties.  We had some on skates and others on horses.
It was magnificent.
Now I am off to a friends house for fellowship, food and fireworks.
Happy Independence Day, Y'all!

Friday, July 3, 2015

Lifestyle of Learning 2015 Edition: Volume Seventeen

June 7-30

Bishop began this time period by going to church camp down in Mobile, Alabama.
He has now been to two states that I have not - Mississippi and Alabama.  He also made it to the gulf coast before me.  I love it!
He had a blast traveling with these fine folks and participating in the intense worship and fellowship of camp.

Maceo couldn't attend church camp because he was committed to the production of Annie Get Your Gun.  Rehearsals continued for most of the month...
...culminating in five performances at the end of the month.

During this time period Maceo also continued with vocal lessons, troupe and troupe mentorship.  Troupe had their final performance at the Sr. Show.  That one is always a tear-jerker and reminds me that I need to begin sorting through my thousands upon thousands of photos and organizing photos for Maceo's Sr. moment.  That is only three years from now.  Maceo also took a mini-masterclass with Kyle Morr working on cold reading.  Maceo finished reading chapter one in his vocal pedagogy book and wrote out his responses to the discussion questions.  He emailed those to me and once again surprised me with how well he writes.
Maceo attended a birthday party for a friend that he made during My Son Pinocchio.  The young people attending were not the same group that he typically spends time with although there were people from youth group also present.  It was a nice change of pace for him and he greatly enjoyed himself.  At one point Maceo was sitting beside and conversing with the birthday boy's father.  I found their conversation entertaining.  The father began by complimenting Maceo on his vocals during My Son Pinocchio and then they began to talk about Maceo's training and his goals.  The father asked Maceo what type of music he listens to and what vocalists inspire him.  Maceo said that he mostly listens to show tunes, although he will listen to opera occasionally, and listed Broadway vocalists, such as Norm Lewis, as his inspiration.  As any good conversationalist does the father persists trying to find some common ground, "Well, what do you listen to on Pandora?" or "Let me see your playlist on your phone."  "Wow, you really do listen to show tunes all the time.  I like to listen to Chicago and music like that on Pandora."  Maceo says, "The musical Chicago?"  "No the band from the 70's."  At that I intervene, as I do know a thing or two about the 70's group Chicago, and Maceo slips away.  After we talk about classic rock for a bit the father asks how old Maceo is and is surprised to hear that he is only 15.  He tells me how impressed he is with Maceo, how he carries himself in such a mature fashion, and how impressed he is with Maceo's intense focus on his goals.  It made me smile!

Bishop got sick not long after returning from camp (and I got sick just after him) so in many ways his time has been spent doing low key things.  He watched Sense and Sensibility.  When we went to follow that up with watching Pride and Prejudice we had this intense conversation.  We played Pentago and did palindrome riddles.  He has spent a LOT of time studying techniques related to the cajon and practicing it.  We did manage to make it to Creasian twice to continue pursuing our goal to try every single item on the authentic Chinese menu.  We are making progress!

And despite fighting illness Bishop did manage to make it to pottery twice.  His instructor taught him a new technique.  Rather than using glaze he showed him how he could use slip to finish his vessels.  I think that they are going to be amazing.  I can't wait to see them after firing.

Bishop also had the opportunity to bring home the bowls that he had made prior to going to camp.  They are striking!
I love them!

We tracked the "convergence" of Jupiter and Venus.  Unfortunately, we didn't get to see the conjunction as the sky just wasn't clear enough.  It was still cool!

We wrapped up the 80th season of Springfield Little Theatre by attending the Frannie Awards.  Maceo had a bit of a Mary Poppins reunion.  They got to perform Anything Can Happen together onstage.  It was emotional.  Then the entire show ends with everyone singing Seasons of Love.  Yes, more emotion.  It's a great ending to a great year!

As always, there are far more things that could be listed here but I must admit that I don't even know what all could be listed.  The boys are very self-motivated and pursue many things independently.  I often times don't know that they have been exploring something until it comes up in conversation.  For instance, I didn't know that Bishop had been following Curiosity Rover on Mars until we were observing Jupiter and Venus appear to get closer one evening.
I think that it is incredible that they are so self-directed and self-motivated.
We are on such a grand adventure!