The Super Adventurers!! take flight.

From my last post (Super Adventurers!!), you’ll remember that I promised to report back on our first day adventuring into project-directed learning (also called learner-directed) with the idea for August to pick the topic and for us to build some learnin’ around it.
Since we start our flexi-schooling days out at the Guelph Lake Nature Centre watching the birds (see my last post: Morning Bird Call ), it will be no surprise that August picked…

Flight!

Here’s a video showing just how she came up with the theme. See how the mind engages once set free?

We took our cues from the master pilots, them birds, and began to assemble materials based on their magical flying apparatus: their wings.

AUGUST: “They have to be light.”
DAWN: “In fact, bird bones are hollow.”

August found reeds (hollow and light) and some long grasses down at the dam. The dollar store took care of the tissue paper and the feathers. From there we went to the library and piled up on planes, fast birds, flightless birds, Amelia Earhart (girl power, wherever we can!), war planes and some fun fictional picture books for the imagination.
(I made a mental note of finding my old copy of Jonathan Livingston Seagull for nighttime reading.)
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August: “Peregrine falcon is the fastest animal in the world! More fast than the Cheetah.”
(We learned this from Guelph’s own awesome Bird programme Wild Ontario at our very favourite thing: Nature Guelph
AUGUST: “No. I learned it before that from Nathan and Miranda at the park.”

Then, we called in our special speaker, Captain Matheson.
August: “You mean Grandpa.”
Yes, my dad is a pilot- former bush pilot turned commercial jumbo jet pilot and all around plane geek.

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August: “Pilot bunny would fly. He’s small and it was almost Easter.”

Grandpa taught us about the 4 forces of flight.
August: “He got a piece of paper and he blew on the top and it went up!”
Something to do with the fast-moving air having less pressure, and the still air below more pressure so it pushes the paper up. That’s why wings are designed for air to move faster over the top.
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August: “Then we went to the park and tested out the wing thing. At first, it fell. Then, bunny flew!”
Dawn: “Grandpa said it needed a tail for balance so it wouldn’t topple over.”
August: “And for it to go straight.”
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All in all, August said: “My favorite part was making the wings. I like birds. I wish I could fly.”

The Super Adventurers!!!

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Learning can only happen when a child is interested. If [she’s] not interested, it’s like throwing marshmallows at [her] head and calling it eating.
Katrina Gutleben

August has decided on a name for our flexi-homeschooling day.
THE SUPER ADVENTURERS!!!
Decided isn’t quite the right word, as, like with many kids, she hurled out the superamazingawesome adjectives without much apparent deciphering (like her team name– the Amazing Forever Winners Ever!!!).
I like how she made us (mom and kid team) the subject rather than the activity (homeschooling). This is accurate since we do make or break the day together, and the word choice sure is optimistic (her), which is needed for those of us whose little minds worry about things (me).
We have other news, too. We first based our day around work sent home by August’s teacher (see my last blog pos “I’m a Flexi-Homeschooler”) but, that desk work was the source of much struggle (Booooring!!, according to August) plus the work sent home began to peter out anyhow (teacher has enough to do, understandably).
So, we decided to approach our day in our own way. This is a luxury I am happy to take, as mentioned in the previous blog post: not every parent can take a day a week of unpaid work, and not every teacher gets to work one-one-one with a kid. Might as well make the best of whats we’ze gots.
I do a lot of research (into everything), most often while in the bath with a glass of wine, which is where I was last Tuesday night worrying on the eve of our weekly Super Adventurers’ day. Listening to a few podcasts on UNSCHOOLING, I found the approach to be really liberating. Why not make learning easier by starting with things Gussie (August) actually wants to learn about? To get really radical, how ’bout trusting August? I mean kids are born with such a desire to learn about things– with ALL of their senses– that they eat them.
The added advantage of this method is that it doesn’t require me– who’s first job is to parent– to become someone else, i.e. a professional teacher. She didn’t really like me like that, I’d discovered.
Instead, I would facilitate her interests, muster up all the creativity and possibility I could (which made things super fun for me!). This way, we get to learn together, using our curiosity as our drive with the old idea of life as curriculum; world as classroom. Now that sounds brave, much more worthy of the Super Adventurers!!!
It doesn’t mean abandoning conventional schooling altogether- we will fit in curriculum items without even noticing– as they arise and on an on-demand basis.
The next morn’, as we’ve done all along, August and I started our day at Guelph Lake Nature Centre, watching the birds at the feeder by the lake. I asked her to pick a topic, and we flew from there…
Subscribe to read my next post (with pics, video and an entry from Gussie) to see how our super adventuring went!