Sunday, January 17, 2010

pajama university

I thought I'd share a post about PJU (Pajama University), which is how I refer to the totally unstructured pajama-clad learning that's been going on around here during this winter break. These are the students at PJU, both seasoned veteran's of off-the-cuff, self-directed learning. Here they're coming up with a curriculum plan for the day -- a game of Mancala and some arts and crafts soon ensued, followed by a bit of enthusiastic gymnastics (thanks to the springiness of beds), some reading, a bit of music making and the viewing of a DVD from Hawaii (thanks, Chris!) about Volcanoes National Park.

I gave Zoo Boy a scissor-cutting workbook so he could practice one of the skills he struggles with. He's eating it up, joyfully cutting strips and patterns and chattering about how much easier it's getting to use the scissors.

J is working on a series of workbooks about various science topics that Mimi gave him for Christmas. This one is, I believe, about the human body, one of his favorite topics. He also favors one about the 50 states, with facts about each state and a different game (word searches, jumbles, crossword puzzles, etc) relating to them.

Both boys are enjoying playing around with aerodynamics, thanks to the Paper Airplane folding book I gave J. He's getting a kick out of taking his origami passion an extra step -- these folded creations can actually fly! And Zoo Boy is more than happy to act as test pilot for J's creations. Here they are discovering that the weight of scotch tape (used to mend accidental rips) alters the flying ability of a paper bi-wing plane.

Both boys have also been slipping me notes in mirror-writing, ala Davinci. I've gotten surprisingly good at reading it, too!

In addition to all the home activities, we have managed to get dressed and out of the house a bit this week. Of course we had our visit at the Science Center on Tuesday, that I already blogged about, but we also got to a family dinner at the church where J is participating in an Ecumenical Choir program with a handful of other kids. The Homeschool Sports program started up at the gym at the YMCA again on Friday, after which the Vet came out to do some dentistry work on the horses, which Zoo Boy in particular found fascinating.

And yesterday we went to see Grandpa's annual Barbershop Chorus show, which was fabulous, lots of great Barbershop Style music from the chorus and their guest award-winning Quartets. We were especially impressed with Storm Front, we got to meet and chat with them after the show, and we purchased two of their CDs for our continued listening pleasure. (One is an entire CD of acapella Beatles hits, and is just AMAZING!) They have a DVD of their show, too, and I'm sure it's every bit as entertaining as they are in person, so if anyone is looking for an appropriate musical DVD for the whole family, I'd highly recommend it!

We'll be wrapping up our semester here at PJU this coming week, slowly working more structure into our days to ease our transition back to "normal" schoolwork next week. My big goal for the week is to read the book Caleb's Story, by Patricia MacLachlan, in preparation of starting the boys on journaling. (In the book, Anna turns the family journaling responsibility over to her brother Caleb, presenting him with a blank journal. By reading this book at this time, I am laying a base for the boys to relate to when I present them with their journals next week.) And we'll re-establish our regular school week rhythms with all of our outside-of-home activities getting back in full swing again, which means we'll actually have to get dressed nearly every day.

But we'll continue to enjoy as much pajama time as possible during this last week of break!