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Monday, February 26, 2007

Scarab Beetles, Winchester House and Social Understanding

Today is youth group day where Boy tackles issues of social skills, self-esteem and anger management. We usually count this as his home school for the day. However, Boy watched The Mummy over the weekend and is now obsessed with Scarab Beetles. Offering a wealth of teachable moments, we have maximized the learning and today’s extraneous home school centered on those dung-eating beetles.

We live in a part of the world that offers a host of insect variety, including Scarab Beetles. We have the regular old Rhinoceros Beetles (Dung eaters) and the most brilliant Emerald beetles that feed on Palm blossoms (yes, Palm trees flower). As much as we tried to find some beetles to take a picture, do you think they’d make our task easy this morning. No! Boy has vowed to catch the first Emerald Green Scarab that he comes across and take a photo to show you.

Spelling: With an interest in all things Egyptian, we had to capture the Scarab spellings. This week we will focus on the following words: Scarab, beetle, dung, bowel, vowel, ancient, Egypt, sacred, symbols, baboon. We’ve started with getting three words correct. Boy’s opinion that is that once he has spelt a word correctly there is no need to do it again. This causes a few arguments as I insist that he do the same spelling list the following day: all ten words. This morning he asked me not to say the words like I am a school teacher. I state the word for him to write, put it in a contextual sentence for comprehension and then repeat the word again. Given his hatred of anything that looks like school, I am willing to revise my process. I will do anything to make learning more palatable and to increase Boy’s ability to spell and read. Tips from others will be most welcome. I’m sure I’m not alone in my battle to spell success rather than conflict.

Reading: Sacred Symbols Ancient Egypt. Boy was given this book a long time ago but has never shown more than a general interest in it. Today however, it became the focal point of our home education. The writing is small and contains some difficult words but Boy and I battled through by reading together about the topics that took his interest. Boy was most interested in the Scarab beetle jewel encrusted artifacts and the variety of Gods.

Research: Winchester House. Watching The Mummy appeased Boy’s current obsession with guns. We awoke this morning to Boy and his book on the history of military firearms. His talk was incessant and focused on types of guns and caliber. Eager to further link his obsession to learning, I told Boy the story of the Winchester mystery. We looked at the site and learnt about why the Winchester heiress, Sarah Winchester, surrounded herself with the sound of building and hammers for 38 years.

Interested and eager for more, we spent a good deal of time poring over the site and looking at the photographs of the Winchester mystery house. I had to read almost every page to Boy, including the flashlight tours every Friday the 13th and on Halloween. Boy is keen to visit Winchester House, which suits me because I didn’t have time to visit it when I was in San Francisco.

If any readers live in the area, we would love a booklet or postcard of Winchester house. How cool would it be if home schoolers from around the world could share friendship packs of free advertising material from their hometown: a sort of Flat Stanley project for home schoolers. Our diversity offers so much learning, sharing and social understanding that we could help each other with thematic units of geography and Studies of society and environment.

We live on the Great Barrier Reef: where the rainforest kisses the golden sands of tropical and almost isolated sprawling beaches. If Boy and I prepare a couple of packs about our hometown, would anyone be interested in a friendship swap? We’ll send you our material, you send us yours.

Photo of Golden Scarabaeus courtesy of Claudmey at stock.xchng

1 comment:

Florida Mom said...

Still interested in exchanging info? We live in FL and currently homeschool our 8yr old son.

This blog is no longer kept. I am instead blogging only to Imaginif Child Protection became Serious Business