Happy New Year from TRANSIT ANTENNA!
All this week I have been working with math concepts with Mateo following up from a detailed story I was telling him about the Land of Numeria (which I will later describe in better detail). For the purpose of today’s post and a quick snippet into education on the road, here are some images of our morning ventures and number games.
We played number twister, we jumped like little New Orleans Bayou frogs from high to low numbers and back up again and rounded it all off with little addition and subtraction problems.
Here’s to the beauty and ingenuity of Homschooling and empowering one’s self with the resources to foster and nourish our own children’s thirst!
A goal that I have always had for our bus-home has been to create an area specifically for the children – a dedicated, multifunctional place where they can play freely and work on school projects – but with limited space I was not sure if it would be possible. Since we left Miami all our toys have been tucked away in a chest and we have been so chaotic and tense adjusting to our new lifestyle that playing serenely inside was more stressful than relaxing. The first step toward groundedness was to create a clear, orderly environment. A place where everything has a place. Where the kids know where to expect to find their things and importly where to put them back! A place which would remain friendly, familair and firmly theirs despite our ever-changing backdrop.
The ‘playroom’ began to take shape when we built a book and toy shelf at the end of the couch. This served many functions: housing the kid’s things, dividing the space and freeing up floor space. Beyond the bookshelf we installed a fold down table for eating and projects. A piece of dowel keeps it up when it is not stowed.
The bean bag seemed to be fun seating solution for the table. Easy and light-weight, I made these bean bags from a some felted fabric that Tom found on the side of the road and used some pea-foam donated from a friend’s art studio.
The kid’s kitchen – which has never had a permenant place – is now in full swing. Together with the help of Talula and Simon (new friends of Mateo’s) we’ve made some felted foods – egg, asparagus, mushroom – to add to our wooden ones, increasing cooking possiblities exponentially.
Beneath the bookshelf, two shelves are dedicated to a range of toys suitable for both Mateo and Harper. Having simplified their toy collection and eliminated the cluttered toy chest (now a laundry bin) I can now display a selection of toys that I plan to rotate. Books, games and Mateo’s older kids toys now all have their own spot elsewhere.
The best part is the open space created when the table is folded down.Who would have thought that a bus could be roomy?
When life is in a constant state of flux (improvement and discovery) it is crucial to offer children, among daily adventure, a consistent base they can rely on. With 1st grade approaching I am so glad that the basics are now in order. Where as before I might have worried about having them set up, I now feel eager to embrace their education and focus on their curriculum. In becoming Transit Antenna we have a responsibility to maintain and develop the project, but whatever you do, if you have kids, they should always be your first priority. As parents we naturally wonder if we are doing the right thing by them, for them, or just dragging them along for the ride, but we are always reassured by home improvements like these and thankfully by the kids themselves who day-by-day seem more empowered, balanced and thirsty for knowledge, positively flourishing within a lifestyle that others find questionable.
Mateo is constantly asking me what time it is as 3pm is when his school friends are free to play. Although he has his own watch and I have explained to him on numerous occasions how linear time works it is still over his head. I can’t blame him really, the system seems so arbitrary. In an effort to make time more tangible, something easier for him to grasp, we made a sundial.
Our sundial was simple, direct and didn’t require the use of latitude and longitude for accuracy. We used a stick, river rocks and chalk.
After finding a nice sturdy stick for our gnomon we looked for a spot that would be sunny throughout the day.
We tied a piece of wool on the stick so we could find our way back and placed our first rock in its shadow.
We started our project at 11:00am and returned hourly, on the dot, to place a new rock.
Mateo carried my watch with him throughout the day to keep track of the time. We discussed the size of the Earth and how fast it is turning, we talked about night and day and dawn and dusk. Later we visualized the process using a flashlight and a globe. That all times exist at the same time as we all move forward in time was an exciting thought for him.
Seeing him earnestly applied in the quest of knowledge was welcome validation of my choice to homeschool. As ever, Harper wanted to join in.
In her own special way.
At some point we noticed that the rocks got quite warm from exposure to the sun so we placed a couple on a nearby root.
And on a subsequent visit to the sundial, relaxed in the shade with a bit of Hot Rock Therapy.
This lesson was fascinating, easy to visualize and interactive. And unlike many projects that we do together this one was self regulated, conveniently paced throughout the day by hour-ish long breaks. I think that the relaxed nature of this activity contributed positively to Mateo’s receptiveness to learning. Despite our deviations there was a theme, the day was ‘about’ something, and ultimately I feel that the lesson took root better in one focused day in the field than it would had it come from a text book, cut it into lessons throughout the week, or simply asserted as a brief prequel to the task of dictating an appreciation for the cultural importance of time before a bell rings.
The movement of the sun across the sky is admittedly just a small part of a subject that has enormous depth, but this simple beginning of time, its effect on life on this planet, on us, is fundamental beyond any temporal, human routine. And if understanding and appreciating this is not innate, then I am proud to have introduced this to my son.