There are two major foci in our house at the moment – LOTR and Pokémon….pretty much every activity has been based around those two things for the past few weeks! And, though I do say so myself, I think I am pretty good at finding stuff that facilitates Kai’s interests these days (believe me, it took me a while to get a hang of this!)….So, here’s what we’ve been up to..
Kai asked, ages ago, for the LOTR movies for his birthday, and so he got the Trilogy then…..and then spent some of his birthday money on The Hobbit….
He’s been watching them a whole lot! He’s also been much more into Minecraft lately, and we discovered a Lord of The Rings Mod…..Oh yes, he LOVES it! And it was only my second attempt at installing a Mod, so I was pretty happy with myself too!
The Mod allows you to use all sorts of Middle-Earth items….including pipes (and beer!). Kai has been very interested in pipes, mostly because of the Mod. He likes Gandalf’s pipe. He REALLY wanted a pipe. He doesn’t want to SMOKE a pipe (seriously, why would he!?) – he likes the way the pipe looks in the movie. So yesterday Brett came home with a pipe he got from the tobacconist shop in town. Kai was VERY happy – he slept with the pipe on the chair next to him!
Download the Mod HERE (it gets monthly updates)
Aside from items that might seem inappropriate for a 7 year old, he also got interested in wax seals from watching LOTR, and asked if we could make some. I’ve never made wax seals, so of course I consulted google. It told me you needed to go buy wax from a stationary shop……but Kai wanted to do it NOW (a trait he might get from me?!)….and I remembered that, about two years ago, in some crazed moment, I purchased some highly overpriced Steiner modelling beeswax. Said beeswax has sat untouched since then, and may I say it worked beautifully as a wax seal when melted on the fireplace (it’s that cold now, yes)!
Kai used a variety of things for stamps – English and US coins, my ring, some other stuff that didn’t work so well! Coins worked really well.
We also found Aragorn’s Quest Wii game in the library, which he is currently playing….and we also go the movie companion book for The Hobbit from the library, which is pretty cool….we’ve watched youtubes on how they made an Orc look like an Orc, and how they digitially crafted Gollum and the Azog the Defiler in The Hobbit….Oh, and we found a funny site that had LOTR mad libs….
The second major focus of life at the moment is Pokémon….lots and lots of Pokémon! The Pokémon love also started with a Minecraft Mod – Pixelmon. Then Kai moved onto some Pokémon annuals we got from the Op Shop a while ago….for his birthday he got PokéPark Wii game and some Pokémon trading cards.
He has designed new Pokémon through genetic crosses…
This is a genetic cross between Pikachu and Beedrill (apparently!). He also drew a very detailed new Pokémon which he is yet to name!
He spent more of his birthday money on another Pokemon book, and has been pouring over the life cycles of his favourites! He spent yet more birthday money on a cuddly Cubbchu, which goes everywhere with us and sleeps next to him (yes, he sleeps next to a cuddly toy AND a pipe!).
He also sorted all of his cards in to different ‘element’ types and drew a picture of each one. We counted how many of each as a tally, and I asked him if he wanted me to make a pie-chart out of it – he did – so I put the data in excel and he helped me make a colour coded pie-chart with Pokemon symbols – it looks pretty cool (even though I do say so myself!)
Kai’s Tally Chart
So while Kai has been busying himself with all things LOTR and Pokémon, I continue to document stuff for the DECD and our record keeping…..I find that his passions naturally lend themselves easily to my documenting things as “Unit Studies”. Without impacting Kai at all, I simply sort out all the stuff he’s been investigating (books, movies, video games, trading cards, etc, etc…) into whatever learning area (most fit in at least two, often 3 or 4!) and put it all together in a powerpoint print-out with a lot of photos….
I know some people think (or find) that sorting things into KLA’s impacts on their deschooling, but for me, it works the opposite way –it reinforces the simple fact that we can cover everything that school could cover, and a LOT more (and have a lot more fun!), as we go about our day-to-day life, and it also highlights how laughable it is that schools try and partition activities into ‘subjects’, as most of Kai’s activities could be classes as at least two, usually more, KLA’s!
So, if you are one of the people for whom recording/reporting seems to set back your deschooling, I offer these ideas. Firstly, if you are registered in a state that requires reporting, for whatever reason (peace of mind, family reasons, because you took a child out of school….whatever!), then try not to approach recording and reporting with a negative attitude or the idea that it WILL set back your deschooling process. If you dread it and bemoan it, chances are it will be detrimental to both life and your deschooling. But it doesn’t have to be –honestly! Use it as a deschooling tool! See how many KLA’s a single activity could be placed under, and realise how limiting it is to try and categorize life into school subjects. Amaze yourself by seeing how much you’ve covered by following one of your children’s passions! Laugh to yourself when you make up a Unit Study for something a bit off-the-wall (so far this year, I’ve compiled Unit Studies on Surfing, Pokémon and Lord of the Rings – see if you can beat that!).
For those of you who might be interested in such things, or if you have trouble figuring out what acitivity can fit where in your KLA’s….here’s what I have for our LOTR Unit Study (if anyone’s interested I’m happy to share Pokémon too!).
English: we read books, we did a Mad Lib, Kai practiced tracing calligraphy type writing (which could probably also be Arts, or Design and Tech!)….
Design & Technology: we made wax seals (could also be Arts, and the safety aspect (melting) could go in Health and PE), and investigated the history of wax seals (which is also history, and so could be in Society & Environment!)….
Health & PE: We did swordfighting at park day, and archery, and he wants to cook some ‘Hobbit’ recipes (which we haven’t got to yet! Cooking can also go in Design and Tech, and Maths)……
Society & Environment: We went to the Medieval Fair, and last night the Autumn Pagan festival (where we watched the torch parade and burning the Wicker Man)…….
The Arts: This was mostly media/movies and special effects, including you tubes and the Movie Companion book for The Hobbit.
Maths– he’s played 3 different games related to LOTR – Lego Wii, Aragorn’s Quest Wii and LOTR Minecraft Mod! (they also cover Design & Tech, The Arts and English!)
We haven’t really covered LOTE, although we have seen a lot of New Zealand scenery in the movies and in the movie companion book, so maybe I could work that in somehow! And we haven’t covered Sciences…i’m still thinking on that one! But i’m pretty sure it’s okay to skip a KLA or two in any Unit Study…right!?