I overheard Mark asking Teddy how school was going and if he was doing all his assignments and it seemed to me that Mark was a bit confused because Teddy didn’t respond to a pop quiz on the sum of “5 times 5”.

Teddy explained a little about BrainPop, the fallback software we use when the kids don’t have a topic in mind to explore.  My hope in homeschooling (or unschooling as some call it) is to allow the boys to explore their interests in as much depth as they like.  If they don’t have a project they’re exploring, I have them go to Brainpop and do one lesson in each topic.  At least one of the video lessons usually spurs some curiosity and before they’re done, they’ve watched 10-20 educational programs and explored the exercises and games associated with them.

This is not leading to aimless, brain dead children.

Case in point: Teddy was so enthralled with a physics topic while my parents were here that he just couldn’t stop talking about it.  My parents, not being big physics fans, were completely disinterested and their eyes glazed over within a few moments.  My father, a 9th grade dropout who didn’t understand the physics or my desire to encourage lifelong learning, began to make light of Teddy’s talk.  I quickly nipped this in the bud before my father could begin to discourage Teddy’s self-directed learning and had to explain to Teddy, in private, that Papere didn’t understand the talk and would not be a good student.

Last week, we didn’t learn anything about multiplication tables.

We watched the documentary “Blackfish” and then discussed whale hunting for SeaWorld, the separation of pods and the trauma it causes, the human selfishness in keeping whales in captivity, how people can see whales safely in the wild, how whales live and travel in the wild, the other animals that SeaWorld has captured to perform shows for our amusement and much more.  We decided to boycott SeaWorld and find our amusement in places that don’t treat animals inhumanely – namely Splashtown and Six Flags.

The humane treatment of animals and stewardship of their environment is an important lesson for any child to learn.

Next week we’ll start learning about reusing and recycling household waste for organic gardening.  We’ll cover multiplication when we discuss how much fruit each seed will yield.