This week I declared a break from formal school work. We have completed 9 weeks of curriculum (one quarter) and the kids and I are zombies. I wanted to take some time to enjoy learning so this week we are taking a different approach.
Step one: Hit the library. No, not the San Miguel library, the one that's the size of my living room with all the same books that we have been reading for the past 3 years. We went to the big city and checked out books and movies about things that interest the kids. For Cameron, we found art, ballet and fashion design books. For Jason, we found books about how stuff works and history. Every morning this week we have spent a leisurely morning reading and enjoying our special interests.
Step two: Get out of the house! This is a big deal for me. With the recent death and resurrection of our car I had spent WAY too much time cooped up in the house with my lovely children. On Monday we went to Avila Valley Barn for some apple picking and today we strolled around the grounds of the San Miguel mission.
I think the kids and I need two kinds of field trips. We need trips that are fun. These trips like apple picking appear to be only for our enjoyment but they secretly open the kids eyes about where food comes from and how it takes a lot of work to get it from the orchard to their plate. The second kind of trip we need is one that makes connections. I need to express to my kids that the history in their books is real and actually happened. We can walk the grounds of historic places and talk about so many things. Today Jason and I discovered that the California mission system was developed during the late 1700's to early 1800's. Our mission was founded in 1776, the same year that the boys back in Philadelphia were literally sweating out our country's founding documents. We also made connections between the mission and the cathedral he had visited in Glasgow. We call our mission a "poor man's cathedral". It is the same design idea constructed with our local materials (clay and straw).
While Jason made a lot of connections today, I could see that Cameron was still in fact finding mode. She was creeped out while we sat in the sanctuary and talked about the pictures on the walls. She liked the idea of Bible stories in paintings so that illiterate people could understand, but she DID NOT like the all-seeing Eye of God staring down at her from the front of the sanctuary (picture a fluffy cloud with sunbeams bursting out from behind it--not bad, but then in the middle of the cloud is a gold triangle with a giant eyeball staring out into the room). She also had a big problem with the musty smells of the buildings :)
Tomorrow and Friday we will have more adventures. Until then we will enjoy our fresh homemade applesauce and plenty of good books!