Monday, October 19, 2009

A Totally Fun Thing I'll Totally Do Again

Since I began homeschooling both of my older kids, I've been amazed (every day!) at how different their learning styles and interests are. Ian is quick to pick up foreign language, can spell and read anything, and loves to write. He learns best by reading and repetition. Allie can do math problems in her head better than I can on paper, and she loves it. She's also wildly creative and easily bored. She learns best by doing, with lots of hands-on activities and illustrations.

Their differences are rarely an issue. I do their math and English/grammar lessons separately, and our history lessons combine reading and worksheets with art projects and crafts. One area that has been a challenge, though, is our language studies. We're studying Greek and Latin. (We did study French for a bit, but scaled it back for now.) Ian looks at a word or letter once and it never leaves his head. It takes Allie longer to understand, and sometimes she gets frustrated that Ian gets it so much faster and is bored by the constant memorization. So, after reviewing and reviewing and reviewing vocabulary and making worksheet after worksheet, I finally had an idea!

Presenting: Action Kid Comics! Each panel has a Latin verb (first person singular, so it stars Ian! And Allie!) And they do exciting things like: I walk!, I work!, and I shout! (Hey, we'll get more exciting as we go along. You can't start with I destroy! or, I build an empire!) They have to remember what the word is and then illustrate each panel accordingly. Simple, right? Holy cow, they had such a blast with it. They actually were all a-flutter with glee over how to illustrate "navigo." And me? I was all a-flutter over their excitement. It was so much fun watching them draw and to see how differently they chose to interpret each one. Adoro: Ian adores Pokemon, and Allie adores Kit, her American Girl doll. Navigo: Ian drew himself as an explorer, and Allie chose to be a Viking-pirate hybrid. Laboro: Ian apparenly works for UPS and was carrying a box marked "fragile," and Allie drew herself at her desk, reading a book.

And, hooray, the words are safe and sound in the little houses built for Latin in their heads*. We can move along.

*(What?, you say? Another learning trick that's been funny and successful: We built a house for each subject in our heads, and each house has to be so wonderful that the facts never want to leave. Ian's math house is pretty elaborate, since his math facts do tend to wander, so he built them a house made of gold and gemstones and they have lots of parties and cake. Sometimes bands come and play a show for them. And voila! The multiplication facts are happy at the lovely home in Ian's brain. I kind of wish I lived in the math house, actually.)

(Whatever works, right?)

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