Tuesday, August 30, 2011

LEGO School: Working Together

This year of schooling is so different for me for several reasons. For any of you who know me personally, you know I am NOT a planner - AT ALL!! I don't keep a schedule, I never EVER keep records of ANYTHING, and I have no idea what we are doing from one day to the next. I know some of you are picking your jaw up off the ground at this point, but to be perfectly honest, it has worked beautifully for me for years!! We are prime examples of unschooling and I LOVE it!! But this year, I have decided to actually lay down a plan (GASP!) and attempt to accomplish more than we have in the past. Hey, even I can admit when something isn't working anymore and when I need to go at it from a different angle - even if it does make me start to hyperventilate just thinking about it. And so far (surprise, surprise!!), my days have gone a bit smoother and a little less stressed because of all the work I put into planning over the summer. (Of course, I am still a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants kinda girl, and that daily schedule could still be scrapped at any given moment if something else came up!)

The other thing different in this year is that I attempted to set an overall theme for each of my kids' schooling. That way, I can look at every activity we are doing and see if it lines up with our theme or if it can be related back to that theme. And if it doesn't, I can seriously look at whatever it is and decide if I want to include it this year or wait for another year. There are so many great ideas out there, there is no way I can do them all! So this was a way, at least in my mind, to narrow down my list of things that I would take on my plate for each of my kids.

Britches' theme this year is "Books Can Take You Anywhere." This girl is definitely my reader, and if I don't watch her, she will curl up on the couch and sit quietly reading ALL DAY! She prefers a book to TV or video games, which I think is fantastic! So I told her that, this year, I want her to start focusing her book choices on topics that tell about a famous person, a historical fiction, maybe a famous scientist, or some geographic location. Oh I'm not completely choosing all of her books for her, but I wanted her to start including some of the "better" choices of books out there. I am ready for her to start picking something besides the "How to Make Crafts" books she usually gets. Besides, she already knows them all by heart. Time to move on!

Little Man is NOT a lover of books AT ALL, and I am hard pressed to get him to read anything more than his comic books or the instructions for his newest Wii game or other video game. To find him picking a book to read just for pleasure, well, that just doesn't happen. He is my hands-on learner, and as long as his hands are moving, his brain is working. So his theme for this year is "LEGO's". When I told him that, he was THRILLED! Especially since that is one of his most favorite things in the whole world! And when I went online to see what things could be taught using LEGO's, I was THRILLED to see that you can teach basically ANYTHING!!

Today's LEGO assignment was all about cooperation. Their challenge was to work together to build a library. But the rules were that each one had to place one brick on the base plate at a time, alternating turns. And the big thing was, they couldn't talk to each other! So they were to build a library one brick at a time, not knowing where the other person would put the next brick, not being able to communicate to decide on how it was to be built, and simply work together to get it finished. I told them that it must have a desk for the lady to check out the books, a children's room, a room for videos, and an adult section. This is what they came up with.

Here are my 2 architects with their finished library.

Front view of the library.

And the rear view of the library.

The checkout desk.

Two guys researching and finding books on the computers.

This kid is sitting in the children's room watching a DVD on the television, and the books and DVD's are all shelved under the T.V.

This man is taking a book from the shelf.

This lady is sitting in the adult section on a couch with a lamp and the bookshelves to the side of her. Little Man was telling me about her, and I said, "She's a knight." "Actually, mama, she's a space police, but whatever." ~Oh excuse me. My mistake!

When they showed me their finished project, I was very impressed. I told them, "See, I told you it wouldn't be as hard as you thought with not being able to talk to each other." They both smiled and told me, "Well, we were using our hands to talk." Little stinkers! 

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“Be who you are and say what you feel because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind.” ~Dr. Suess