I think my favorite thing about having a kid in school are the projects. Not the homework. Not the discipline plan. Not the issues that require a dozen emails from the principal before she just answers my yes or no question. The projects however? Are a ton of fun.
I love watching them be creative and to find a way to incorporate what they've learned into some tangible example. The Dormouse is a whole world learner. I am a singularly visual learner. To get through my sight singing course in college, I used to imagine the buttons of my shirt as piano keys and then I could sing a major 2nd, minor 3rd, perfect 4th, etc. on demand during a test by looking down at my shirt, seeing the space between my buttons then translating that visual cue into a sound in my head which I could reproduce. (Yes, it's odd, but not nearly as odd as my theory teacher, who admitted he did the same thing with his teeth and tried to imagine playing piano concertos from inside his mouth with his tongue.) The Dormouse's father, on the other hand, is a singularly auditory learner. I loved the fact that they invented a mute button on the television remote until I married the KingofHearts. Now, it doesn't matter if I hit the mute button, because he just rattles off the dialog to every commercial anyway.
I said we were visual and auditory-focused. I didn't say we weren't weird.
I've watched both The Dormouse and The Caterpillar for years now to try and determine their respective learning styles and figure out what works best for each of them, but neither one seems to lean to one particular side or another. Maybe as they grow older, I'll start to see it, but right now, they both seem to just need a whole lot of different approaches at once in order to internalize information.
This is why projects in school, rather than pages and pages of homework problems or rote memorization are awesome. The Dormouse learns much more from something she has to research, gather information on and then present it in some creative and personal way. She is also way more excited about it, which makes a gigantic difference in how she views and internalizes the learning material.
The downside of projects is they tend to be strictly homework and the kids get little direction. The Dormouse will get a vague direction like last week's "Put a dream in a bottle" and she'll have an idea in her head as to what she wants to do. But then she often isn't physically adept enough or doesn't know the resources available to create it. I probably help her more than I should, but I definitely try to make it her project and not mine.
Not so sure about The KingofHearts, whom I overhead heard say to The Dormouse when he was helping her with this one: "Back off; I don't need your help!"
Ummm.... there was probably a reasonable explanation.
This is The Dormouse's dream: A Day Underwater.
I'm sure The KingofHearts will get an A.