We’ve been struggling a bit to find our footing again here at the Rowhouse. Between the holidays and Mushroom struggling with lack of sleep, we have not found a lot of joy lately. I’ve been torn between trying to reinsert some learning love into our lives and trying to keep us on track with basics like math and writing, not to mention to keep working on projects such as studying for the upcoming National Mythology Exam and getting ready for the Destination Imagination tournament.
So somehow we’ve muddled along. Mushroom is finally just starting All About Spelling level 4 and finishing work in Beast Academy 3D. BalletBoy is flying through his spelling and keeps trudging on through decimals and fractions. We survived World War I and made it to nutrition in our science studies. But none of us have really been feeling the love.
Thus we were all relieved when BalletBoy, after some disappointment over a set of activities elsewhere that didn’t live up to his expectations, insisted that we take half a day to make toy prototypes. After a full morning of math, spelling, writing, and history, I set them at it.
Mushroom created a bug racing habitat with different parts you can remove and replace to create new raceways. It folded up for ease of carrying. He made an ad for it using the Toontastic app on his iPad and wrote a nice description about the materials he used and who might buy it.
Meanwhile, BalletBoy sculpted an airplane with blasters called the “Ship of Doom” and made a print ad for it. His description in the ad contained the disclaimer, “Small parts. Not for children under three,” repeatedly. He loaded the blasters with perler beads and made a tiny pilot out of pipe cleaners and more beads.
Honestly, it was the perfect afternoon project. The kids wrote proposals and made ads. They sculpted and created. They imagined. They worked entirely on their own. Even though Miles had some problems with the air dry clay at the end, they loved showing off their prototypes.
I’m not entirely sure where my kids’ obsession with business comes from, but this whole activity was right up their alley. And we all agreed that it felt good to finally have a good school day.
I’m hoping we’ll find our groove again. Looking ahead, I want us to finish the year our with our science and history cycles, but then I’m hoping to make big changes next year and make more time for this type of project based learning. It never really worked for us exactly when the kids were younger, but I think as they’ve become more sufficient and have a better set of skills, we’ll be doing more.