Friday, August 28, 2009

A great unschooling week

"Unschooling- the way kids learn naturally...."

Though we haven’t ‘officially’ started school, I thought I’d record what we’ve been doing this week.
This week we have had some of our homeschool friends over (M,T,Th) to play the game Insecta. It’s a basically a role playing game of mutant insects.

I really like the game because it teaches a LOT of taxonomy and I have learned a lot of Greek word roots. I, in turn, taught these to the kids that were here. They all did Great. 'B' was really good at recognizing the roots in other words. Like ‘ptera’ in ‘exopterygote’- he thought of ‘like a pterodactyl?’ right away when I asked if they had that in other words- and he was able to pick it out of the written word ‘helicopter’ pretty easily. (The helic part is from the Greek work helix- meaning spiral).
Other Greek root words we learned (or review as most knew ‘exo-‘ and ‘endo-‘ already and a few knew ‘pod’)
Arthropod- Arthro- meaning joint (like in arthritis) Pod meaning foot. (Arthropods are insects, crustaceans, arachnids, myriapods…)
Exopterygote- Exo- and ptera-
Mryiapod- Mryia- meaning many- like in ‘ There was a myriad of centipedes on the tree’
Lepidoptera- Lepid meaning scales, ptera= wings. Moths & Butterflies
Coleptera- Coleo from (Gr)Koleon meaning shield- these are beetles
Diptera- Di meaning two. These are true flies. They have 2 wings. (dragonflies, sawflies, etc- are not true flies. True flies have 2 wings and 2 word names- house fly, fruit fly, horse fly. Non-diptera flies have 4 wings and 1 compound name, like dragonfly, sawfly, mantidfly…)
Isoptera- Iso (Gr) for equal (think isosceles triangle)- these are insects that both sets of wings are pretty much the same size/shape. (termites, not sure what else)
Orthoptera- Ortho means ‘straight’- think of an ‘orthodontist’- they straighten teeth… Straight Wing insects are grasshoppers, crickets, locusts.
And helicopter- Helix & Ptera

I’d like to go over taxonomy a little more at a later date.

Not only was the game a tool for learning some Greek vocabulary, but it was good for planning team strategy and had complex rules to follow and remember (always a good general brain exercise)
Almost any function at our house includes BOFFER SWORDS! I love that when families come to our house the kids all just run right to the back yard and pick up boffer swords! Well, 2 of the kids decided they wanted to make their own boffer swords, so Thursday they brought all their supplies and my boys helped them make boffer swords.
Then I got out my sewing machine and showed them how to make cloth covers. 'T' had never sewn before. I had him fill the bobbin reel, thread the machine, cut his material, and sew it all.

Then his sister decided to make a tote bag out of her scraps. Another girl wanted to make a bag, too, so we found scraps enough for her to make a tote bag. I also had her do the bobbin, thread the machine, etc. Her bag was also requires ironing, turning handles inside out, I did the gussets, and she topstitched and everything.

We also concluded out Insecta Game and went over terminology. I think we had 11 kids over Thursday! It was about 9 on Monday and Tuesday. It was a fun (& educational) week.

Gavin was the HiveMaster. I love when my boys have opportunities to lead a class and teach!

Teaching is the BEST way to reinforce learning!

Connor has been gone all week- so he missed out. But he’ll be home in time for the Night Time Insect Hunt that’s tonight!
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