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Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Too Much Latitude Leads to Cancer

Geography: After the latitude that Boy was afforded yesterday and the day before, it seemed reasonable to study latitude and longitude today. Over dinner last night, and by pure coincidence, the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn were discussed. I suggested that if the Tropic of Capricorn ran through Rockhampton (a town in our state of Queensland) then it must also run through several African countries in the southern end of the continent. The boys scratched their heads. Without either a map or globe in front of them, they were unable to visualize what the line ran through. Mashed potatoes and garlic and herb sausages were pushed aside to make room for the globe. Mum won!!!!!! Without even realizing that he was learning, Boy walked away from the dinner table with a full stomach and new knowledge in his head. But...even more pleasing, Boy made a joke that we all laughed at: If you go to the Tropic of Cancer you might get Cancer. After our difficulties with comprehending jokes and riddles last week, Boy's humour was a welcome display of understanding puns and word meanings.

Map Math: Partner asked me to do some research on a tiny little town that he is working in. While searching the requested information I came upon a neat site that provided data on how the town’s name was decided and map grid points of that town. How perfect for extending our discussion from last night and marrying learning with a teachable moment. Because partner has been planning on going to this tiny isolated town again this week, Boy and I have been watching weather reports to ensure that he wouldn’t get stuck between two flooded rivers. Looking at the latitude and longitude of the town is a natural corollary of our unschooling discussions about step dad's movements during cyclone season. How could we pass this opportunity up. Although Boy knew that this was part of school for today, he was also highly interested because his step dad has offered to pay for the research of value pertaining to the job he is currently doing. Beautiful. Boy is doing work experience now too!

To consolidate the reasons behind why we were looking at the town’s positioning and climatic demographics, I googled and used a couple of groovy general Latitude/Longitude resources for Boy:

Latitude and Longitude - FREE worksheets at Tony’s Web Work

Short and funky movie and quiz on Latitude and Longitude (Boy LOVED this and retained the information presented).

Spelling: According to ongoing assessments through the Education System, Boy is way behind with his spelling and reading. While this is of major concern to us, he does appear to be improving. Today’s trek into geography has revealed spelling words of excitement and relevance. The list we have today begun to learn comprises: Latitude, Longitude, Equator, Tropic, Cancer, Capricorn, Rockhampton (Tropic of Capricorn crosses), Taiwan (Tropic of Cancer crosses), and Laura (the little town partner has been working in).

Reading: I had intended for Boy to read the serendipitous story I posted last week about a little girl with autism: They don't walk in your shoes ... Click, Click, Click!. Oh…did he react adversely to reading a story about a GIRL! Thankfully, I had at hand a story about a boy his age: Cipher in the Snow. A very sad story, and a story used in Sociology classes at University, it worked a treat. Boy was interested and learnt a new word: Cipher (nothing, zilch, nil, zero). Although much longer and harder, we took turns in reading paragraphs.


Elisheva Hannah Levin said...

G'day Megan!

I loved the joke. Had to share it with N. I will probably hear it 500 times--whenever he opens his map study book!

Are you getting a good monsoon? We get monsoons here in New Mexico, too, since we are in the horse latitudes of the north. The monsoon winds bring us our summer rains from the Gulf of California. When the winds and cloud hit our mountains, it rains. It's a bad year when the monsoons fail--then we get drought and fires.

Megan Bayliss said...

Hi Elisheva
would you believe that we are having a perfect day today!! It is very hot and the desperate drone of lawn mowers fill the sound waves as people rush to mow prior to the rain again beginning.
I believe our dam is almost full: a good sign for the remainder of the year.

Last year our area was hit by a dreadful cyclone. Many, many families lost everything they had. Others lost their roof and are still living under tarps. Naturally, their anxieties are high this cyclone season and the wet has already permeated their tarps and again drenched everything they own.

The greatest problem we have is that our swimming pool overflows - hardly something to complain about when other families face huge difficulties. We live on a hill so flooding is not a problem for us.

I grew up in Papua New Guinea so have lived with the Monsoons all my life. Apart from cyclones, I rather like the wet season.

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