Friday, 30 November 2012

Robin Hood

We have been working through Robin Hood this term, both as a book of literature as a part of our history (UK and World).  We have a few different versions of the story of Robin Hood, and the one that we have used for our literature study is the version by Howard Pyle.

For a start, we watched the following documentary to gain a broad overview of the character as interpreted by different sources (historians, Hollywood, etc):

We find that the unit study approach to be working well for us in this respect, so we are using the lapbook resources from Homeschool Share as our basis.  We work through the units slowly, taking our time to explore in depth the various suggested points.  Although Tiger has been working through the various lapbook pages, I am not too concerned about whether he eventually puts them into lapbook form - it would be great if he were to feel inclined to arrange the various pieces of information that we are saving in a file into a presentable format, but if he doesn't want to do that, it's not a big deal for me.  I am happy as long as he has been engaged in the learning process and can orally present what he has learnt.  The final output (lapbook) is a non-essential part of our process at the moment.

After that, we wanted to know whether the character is true or fictional:

One of the points brought up in the documentary above in ascertaining how true the character of Robin Hood really is, is the possibility of surviving in all seasons in an English forest.  This is an interesting point to consider, given the sheer dampness of forests most of the time, not to mention how often it would be raining.  Tiger and I spent a fair amount of time considering whether that would be possible, and what it would take to live in the forest for any length of time.  For this discussion, Tiger consulted his favourite survival book:

We were lucky to attend a talk on medieval English archers given by a very experienced and knowledgeable member of an archaeological club that Tiger belongs to.

In the two-hour talk, the man covered in great details:
  • the different types of bows used in medieval times;
  • the different materials used for bows and arrows;
  • the functions and designs of different bows and arrows;
  • the medieval yeomanry; and
  • the strength and distance covered by each type of bow and arrow.
The most common and formidable type of bow in England in the middle ages was the long bow, which was made from yew trees.  As part of the talk, we were shown an actual growing yew tree in an ancient Anglo Saxon churchyard a few yards away.  We not only saw the yew tree, we were also cautioned about it being poisonous (branches, leaves, and the pip of its berries).

Tiger wore his Robin Hood hat to the event, and it became an impromptu topic for the man to talk about.  He told us how the hat would have been very useful when worn by hunters in different ways under different weather conditions.

This post is linked up to:
1) Enchanted Thursdays Blog Hop #39
2) History and Geography Meme #52
3) Homeschool Mother's Journal: November 30, 2012
4) Collage Friday
5) Favourite Resources: November 30, 2012
6) It's a Wrap
7) TGIF Linky Party #56
8) Weekly Wrap-Up

Thursday, 29 November 2012


We studied the works for Edvard Munch, to tie in with the theme of Halloween, but somehow I did not get round to posting this in time, but here it is now.

As always, we started with the our in-house gallery of postcard-sized art:

As The Scream is probably Munch's most famous piece of work, we concentrated on it by having Tiger narrate the painting to me, followed by a quick read of Munch's biography and looking at this particular painting a little closer using the questions in the book to fill in where Tiger has left out in his own narration.

We learned more about Munch from the following documentary:

We also learnt about the influences behind The Scream, as well as its far reaching effects on modern art:

I gave Tiger a few different options for art projects related to Munch:
  1. write and illustrate a scary story
  2. draw/paint a scary or intense scene
  3. draw/paint a scary or intense self-portrait
Tiger chose to option 1.  Here is his unfinished story....

Title: The Man Who Screamed
Text: Once upon a time, there was a man, he liked walks, but one day he got lost.

Text: But then, he met a witch!!!  But he was turned into a snake.

Our study was tied into a visit to the Tate Modern to see some of Munch's work.

The Scream was not in this exhibition but we were intrigued by the emotive qualities of Munch's work in general.  For the first time, Tiger felt inspired to sketch from a few pieces of work in the exhibition.

I was haunted by a few of the paintings that I saw at the exhibition, to the extent that I had to sketch them quickly onto paper just to get them out of my mind!

This post is linked up to:
1) Enchanted Thursdays Blog Hop #39
2) Homeschool Mother's Journal: November 30, 2012
3) Collage Friday
4) Favourite Resources: November 30, 2012
5) It's a Wrap
6) TGIF Linky Party #56
7) Weekly Wrap-Up

It is also featured in It's a Wrap.

Friday, 23 November 2012

When Mum gets off my case...

"You cannot teach a person anything, you can only help him find it within himself."
-- Galileo Galilei

Since I am very new to the idea or implementation of learning-without-someone-else's-structure, I have been very curious as to what Tiger does with himself when I am not actively trying to teach him something that I deem to be "worthwhile".

Here is what I have observed:
1) He plays chess by himself in the day, and works out strategies to beat daddy at the game in the evenings.

2) He writes his own mysteries, and tries to solve them.  He can do with some penmanship lessons though...

3) He draws.

4) He reads and makes models inspired by what he reads, using the materials found around the house.

5) He explores and finds his own answers.
Tiger tested out the Viking boat he built (above) in the bath tub to see whether it would float.  It floated for 2 minutes before it sank to the bottom of the bath tub and became very soggy.  Tiger was slightly upset by that but the "failure" made him question his design, the materials used, and the weight of the various items.  This led him to experiment further with using different materials and designs.  He next spent some time trying to float Lego rafts of different designs while figuring out why certain designs worked better than others.

Finally, he made another model that worked.  This time, it even carried one of his pewter soldiers!

Would Tiger have been so relentless and engaged in finding the solution to this 'problem' if it had been assigned by me or by a curriculum?  I do not know for sure but Oscar Wilde once said, "Education is a worthwhile thing, but it is well to remember that nothing worth knowing can be taught."  I don't necessarily agree with Wilde's slightly extreme take on education,  and I think perhaps he might be referring to things such as having a good attitude and self-determination, which are certainly things that one has to acquire for oneselfHaving said that, a little parental influence would not hurt.

This post is linked up to:
1) Collage Friday
2) Favourite Resources: November 23, 2012
3) TGIF Linky Party #55

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Random maths

Even the study of mathematics schedule has gone out of the windows in this household these days.  Once given the free reign, Tiger has read more maths-related books on his own than ever before:

He attended a Maths circle where he played some maths games and solved some math puzzles...

Apart from the topical maths done at Halloween, Tiger has also spent much more time practising various areas of Khan Academy's Arithmetic section.  Most homeschoolers have already discovered this site, but Tiger has just been using it more frequently lately.  He is very motivated by the various badges and awards he can earn as he progresses through the various sections.  The best part is, he is doing what we would consider to be drills without even realising it.  The website has a clever system built in to adjust the number of drills the child has to do according to how quickly and accurately the child has answered the previous questions, so there are no unnecessary repetitions, which suits Tiger very well.  It is more or less self-paced and would suit an independent learner very well.

This post is linked up to:
1) Homeschool Mother's Journal: November 16, 2012
2) Collage Friday
3) Favourite Resources: November 16, 2012
4) It's a Wrap
5) Weekly Wrap-Up: The One Before Thanksgiving
6) Math Monday Blog Hop #75

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