It’s been a while since I last updated you, stalwart reader, on how homeschooling is going at Chez Augustin. Over the past two years, I’ve been finetuning the curriculum and this year has seen an expansion of topics now that Little Dinosaur has reached, and is well into, double digits, age-wise. First, the subjects, and then a little discussion:
Maths – 7 days a week
English grammar – 2 days a week
English drama – 1 day a week
Reading – minimum 8 books a year, followed by discussion
Elocution/public speaking – 1 day a week
Art – 1 day a week
Art appreciation – 1 day a week
Martial arts – 1 day a week
Music – 1 day a week
Theory of music – 1 day a week
Understanding opera/classical music/symphonic music/jazz – 1 day a fortnight
General Science – 1-2 days a week
Geology – 2 days a week
History – 2 days a week
Astronomy – 1 day a week
Cooking – 1 meal (choice to shopping to cooking) per fortnightly Saturday, alternating
Cooking lessons/culinary history and traditions – 1 day a week
Cinema – 2-3 movies a week (Hitchcock, Woody Allen, vintage SF, Hollywood classics, foreign, Monty Python), followed by discussion
While the kids are notably reluctant about some lessons (theory of music readily springs to mind), they are surprisingly interested in, for example, geology. They also love watching cooking lessons, with the “Cooking At Home” series by Julia Child and Jacques Pepin a particular hit. (In fact, The Wast recently quoted Child on a feedback form at a restaurant we were frequenting for the first time.)
I know the curriculum looks rather packed but it isn’t. While most lessons take place in the morning, some of them occur in the evening (appreciation of jazz, e.g.), when all four of us can discuss what we do and don’t like about what we’re listening to. The grimaces on Little Dinosaur’s face when we began exploring opera has now turned to open laughter, especially when we started exploring Mozart’s contributions. The Wast is a much tougher customer.
I’m particularly proud of us (and I do mean that; J is equally to blame for this!) incorporating movies into the kids’ education. Again, surprisingly, the kids really like Hitchcock’s “Rear Window”, but are meh! on “The Birds”. They laughed at “Barbarella” and “Sleeper” but found Monty Python’s “The Meaning of Life” too overwhelming to absorb. They found “Jaws” very effective in how it built tension, but thought “Looper” was both boring and irrelevant in places. We like the fact that the kids don’t appreciate our favourite films, because it means they’re developing their own individual opinions and tastes. We would worrry greatly if all four of us were in lockstep.
So there you are. An eclectic curriculum that takes as much time as needed. If the kids need more to complete a particular assignment, they’ve got it; if they finish early, they get to have a time-out till the next lesson. And, somewhere in between all that, I still need to find time to write! QUINTEN’S REVENGE is ongoing….
PS And a Selamat Hari Raya and Happy National Day to all Muslims and Singaporeans, respectively!