Finding Passion-Rock Climbing

A new passion has arisen among two of my three children-rock climbing.  The kids climbed at the US Whitewater Center many times when they were younger.  They always enjoyed the thrill of completing a route.  I remember the first time that Sims climbed with a person belaying him instead of using the autobelay.  I think this is when he became hooked.  He saved up and purchased his own harness, which he passed down to Sawyer and now Parks.

Fast foward a few years…Sims and Sawyer display amazing confidence in the climbing gym and on a rock face.  They both have learned how to read routes and to know how they climb.  They have learned so much about self-control, breathing, mindfulness, and how to work with what you have (short stature, tall stature, less flexibility, anxiety…).  They are learning about safety while climbing outdoors and how to help rescue fellow climbers.

They utilize many of our school lessons while climbing.  Sims researches outdoor climbing areas to learn about the rock type.  His geology lessons from last year are being put to use now.  He understands the importance of weather on the rock.  He discusses the physics behind the different types of gear used and why each is important.  He looks at the terrain to get to the rock faces.  They both train and show true commitment to the sport.  I look forward to watching them grow in this passion!

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2017/2018: Block 2

Last week we wrapped up our second block.  I think that we are finally starting to get into a groove-yep, it took us two months.  It happens.  I still do not love the rhythm that we have, but the kids enjoy it and it works for them.  Last month I posted that I was not going to do blocks this year-well, things changed.  We are going to continue with blocks.  They just seem to work and they break things up.  Blocks also make the amount of information that I am responsible for more manageable.  I was not able to keep up with the three grades and all of the classes.  I feel that the block system allows us to dive deep and actually have some good discussions.

Grade 5-Ancient Egypt

Parks’ second block revolved around Ancient Egypt.  He read the book,” A Place in the Sun,” by Jill Rubalcaba and “Who was King Tut.”  He also read several of the Egyptian myths throughout the month.  He made a pyramid from clay and watched the pyramid movie by David MacCaulay.  Overall, he really enjoyed Ancient Egypt.  I think that he enjoyed learning about the pyramids the most.

Grade 7-Alchemy

Sawyer’s second block was one of my favorites with Sims, but since she had seen it all before-Sawyer was not all that impressed.  She began the block by reading the book, “Alchemy and Chemistry,” by Stefoff.  She learned about how the main elements were thought to be air, water, fire and earth.  We then looked at chemical processes that use the four elements such as photosynthesis and cellular respiration.  We ended the block playing with fire and learning why some things burn and some do not.  Of course she knew that a rock would not burn, but she did not know that it was due to its lack of carbon atoms.  She also read the book, “The Alchemist,” in preparation for our next block and to go along with this block.

Grade 9-Biology and Cells

So how are we going to do blocks for high school?  Well, Sims and I decided that he would continue with weekly/daily math, writing, forestry, geography and PE.  Then we will do history and biology in blocks.  This month, we continued with biology and the cell.  He learned about the cell membrane, the mitochondria, the nucleus, how ATP is made and used.  He did a lot of hands on work in the beginning of the month at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences.  In addition to biology, he finished up studying North America and has started into South America in Geography.  In Forestry, he helped with a Project Learning Tree event for local sixth graders and went on a couple more forest assessments where he has a list of things to document for each plot of land including invasive species, tree types, number of trees over a certain size, undergrowth identification and more.