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Learning Notes: Snot, Flatulence and Violent Video Games

January 2, 2009

The thing about homeschooling by the seat of our pants … err .. eclectic homeschooling, is I need to remember to journal what the kids are doing. Let’s see …

1. There are children who are motivated to read and learn about the natural world through a pure, wholesome thirst for knowledge. Then there are MY kids. 😀

I caught James reading for the first time in a while. He was absorbed in this book:

It delves into flatulence, snot, and … well you get the idea. What 10-year-old boy could resist such a wonderful book?

2. He talked me into buying this chemistry kit while we were shopping in New Jersey. It’s kind of cool. But let’s face it, they give you some cute test tubes and a little glow powder. Then you have to buy the other stuff yourself. Corn oil, food coloring, yeast, grape juice, red cabbage … and the list goes on. With all that stuff, you could easily devise your own chemistry experiments at home (as we’ve done in the past). Stone soup, people … stone soup. Ah … I detect a language arts opportunity …

I mentioned to James that this kit was not a great investment … it was kind of like stone soup. He didn’t get the reference so I told him the story and explained it.

Anyway … he’s having a BLAST “making potions” with this stuff. He chose this OVER PLAYING VIDEO GAMES … I just went into the kitchen to get him some measuring cups, and helped him a bit with the concept of fractions.

3. He’s been working on putting together the erector set his aunt and uncle in Cleveland gave him for Christmas.

4. He performed at a piano recital yesterday. He was nervous, but it went pretty well. And I’m happy to report that I didn’t have to bawl him out for his behavior like I did during LAST year’s winter recital. O.K. … so I did have have to ask him and ScoutLover to stop pitching plastic cutlery at the ceiling during the potluck dinner. When he gets together with his friends, there is an interesting synergistic effect — you just never know what’ll happen.

5. He’s been exercising. While we were in New Jersey, he had a blast with his aunt’s treadmill.

6. My kids are always telling me that there is educational value in those violent video games which I HATE (but have chosen, with a lot of persuasion from my computer game geek hubby, not to ban). I remain skeptical, but …

Through playing Call of Duty, James and Aengus seem to have become more interested in World War II. When A was here for a sleepover before Christmas, they were making a set-up with James’s toy soldiers. It was meant to represent “that big battle on the beach.” I talked to them a bit about D-Day and other aspects of the European Front. Today, James was talking to me again about WWII and asking questions about Hitler. We had an interesting little chat about why Germany supported Hitler’s actions, especially in the Holocaust.

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