Well, we are back after being at Grandma and Granddaddy's house all weekend. We went to the St. Louis Science Center yesterday, which was fun. Although, I have to say, it wasn't quite as cool as I remembered. Probably because it just isn't geared towards kids Samuel's age for the most part. He was entertained most of the time, but I felt like we had to skip a LOT because it was beyond his level or involved too much reading. I think it will be great when he is a little older - maybe around age 10. It would be nice to go when it's not too crowded and spend a whole day there, and really learn about the different subjects in-depth. If you did it that way, it would probably take a week to get through all the information and do all the activities. You'd get so much more out of it, though.
The one thing he really liked was the giant T-Rex model that moved. It really scared him at first - he's seen tons of dino models, even life-size, realistic ones, but not one that moved and roared. He knew it wasn't real, but he just wasn't quite prepared for how realistic it would be, and when he was finally brave enough to get near it, it swung its head toward him and he dove behind Granddaddy. It was still his favorite thing, though. :)
I also wanted to post about his second Friday art class. The kids got to paint this time, and worked on two projects. The artist they studied was Van Gogh, and one project was to do a version of his Starry Night, and the other was to do a still life. For the Starry Night, they cut a skyline out of construction paper and glued it onto black cardstock, and then painted in details, stars, moon, and swirls. Samuel did great at this. I wish he had stopped a little earlier, though - he had some awesome swirls in his sky with blue paint, but then he got carried away and painted the whole sky blue, so you couldn't really see them anymore. Oh, well, I'm sure as he paints more, he'll eventually learn when to quit. :) For the other project, most of the kids, Samuel included, only had time to do the background. They will paint an object over it next week, I think. Once again, he should have quit a little earlier, IMO. He had different colors everywhere, at one point, but then kept slopping paint on and smearing it around until he ended up with mostly brown. Well, he's the artist, maybe he wanted brown. I'm really interested to see what else he creates over the course of the class. I wonder what other projects they will do, too. I've been impressed with what Christie has come up with so far.
I need to get him a copy of this book: Lunchtime for a Purple Snake by Harriet Ziefert and Todd McKie - in it, a little girl learns about art from her grandpa, including how to recover from mistakes (instead of trashing the painting, like Samuel has been wanting to do lately) and when to stop painting!
I am learning a lot about unschooling on the new UnschoolingCatholics list. There have been so many great discussions about what it is (hard to define because it's so different for every family), how it plays out in different families and for different children, whether structure has a place and if so, how, whether certain things should be required learning, how children learn, etc. I am loving all this new information. My favorite thing I've learned is strewing: spreading ideas and opportunities through the house, minds, and lives of your children. The hard part is accepting if they aren't receptive yet, but trusting that God will inspire them to learn what they need to learn when they need to learn it. I do believe that if a parent is connected to their child and creates the right environment for them, that this will happen. It's been so wonderful and affirming to hear about this happening in the families of the other women on the list. I can't wait to see how Samuel will grow in this type of environment.