Thursday, May 6, 2010

Year 2 in Words and Pictures

Year 2 (2009/2010) began in June 2009 and ends May 2010.

What we remember most about the beginning of Year 2 (summer 2009) was putting our old life (when we lived in a cramped Bay Area apartment) into boxes and moving it to a proper home. With space for books and a proper table for art/ craft and writing.

We spent a very leisurely summer, learning at our own pace, doing some of the hands-on stuff we just didn't manage to do in our apartment. We made recycled paper for example. It was also at the beginning of Year 2 that his obsession for crossword puzzles began. He's still very much into them now.

Our larger food prep area finally gave me the confidence to give him more freedom around the kitchen. Here, he prepares his own yogurt parfait and a couple of months later, graduates to helping me cook tiger prawns.
We started unschooling science not long after, realizing that since it is his passion, he is going to pick up lots of science books and indulge in all sorts of inquiry and exploration-based activities during his free time anyway.

This led to a sudden passion for giving presentations on his pet topics: diseases and poisons. The kiddo has thus far presented three times this past year to a group of homeschooled kids and their parents. Once on Angiostrongyliasis, once on poisons (arsenic and cyanide) and once on Marfan Syndrome.

These are snapshots from his Angiostrongyliasis presentation day.

He joined a semester-long California History and Natural History co-op and visited cool places like the San Juan Bautista Mission (photo below) and Elkhorn Slough.

The kiddo turned 7 in October. 

He won first place in the Kumon South Bay math competition for his grade level. He'd won it earlier in June but we only picked up his trophy in October.

Another advantage of our move was that we found an amazing piano teacher! Asking him to practice has become a lot easier now :)

I started realizing that we needed to reassess our home-learning philosophy. He no longer responded to the structured environment I had been trying to create, prefering to head off on so many bunny trails on his own. So after a lot of soul-searching, I gradually dropped the structure, keeping to only a few assigned projects a day and giving him more time to read, think and tinker on his own. With all that free time, the kiddo began to indulge in his passion for chemistry and the periodic table of elements, hungrily absorbing as much information as he could from mass market chemistry books like John Emsley's Nature's Building Blocks: An A-Z Guide to the Elements.

After attempting it for two years, the kiddo finally learned to scooter in December. About three months later, in March 2010, he learned to cycle without training wheels.

Our second semester saw a burgeoning interest in Agatha Christie's Hercule Poirot mysteries. Not only did he love reading The Poirot Casebook, but also, enjoyed watching the entire series of Poirot videos via Netflix.

The kiddo took a National Mythology Exam prep course and also began participating in a co-op style problem-solving class modeled after the Odyssey of the Mind competitions. I spent much of the first two months of our second semester experimenting with a virtual workboxing system (that eventually didn't work LOL).

Since we were to leave on a one month holiday to Malaysia in March, we spent most of February unschooling and learning based on interests. It was a much more relaxed and fun month than the ones we've usually had. Among our pursuits were discovering patterns in prime numbers (thanks Epic!), building El Toro and watching Rough Science.

After our fabulous trip, we've continued unschooling about three quarters of the time. That remaining quarter? A little assigned Math and English/ Greek about three times a week :)
The kiddo is wrapping up Year 2 with a huge interest in brain anatomy and neurological disorders. And by winning a silver medal in his National Mythology Exam!

We hope to spend the coming summer pursuing a coach-mentored problem-solving class as well as informal chemistry labs with friends.

Our Year 2 Curriculum

Stanford EPGY
Life of Fred
Key To Series
Horrible Books

The following math workbooks
The Happy Scientist (formerly
DVDs listed here
Thames & Kosmos Elements of Science Kit
Horrible Books

Usborne Internet-Linked Encyclopedia of World History
Story of the World Audiobook Vol 1
A Little History of the World Audiobook
DVDs listed here
Liberty Kids series
Horrible Books

Language Arts/ Literature
Grammar Land by ML Nesbitt
Books suggested in these reading lists

World Languages
Rosetta Stone (Greek)
Minimus Latin
Classical Academic Press Latin Primer A Chant CD

General Knowledge/ Vocabulary
New York Times and other crossword puzzles.

Literature/ Bedtime/ Free Reading for the year: Year 2 FunReading

All Year 2 posts: Year 2 Journey


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