I recently read an article on DailyGood.org that listed 27 skills a child should have that are not taught in school. These are some tough skills to teach mostly because you can't teach them by reading books about them or just talking about them. You have to model each and every one of these skills. And frankly, I lack a few myself. But the list is far from complete. So I started thinking what other skills I'd add to it. Mostly I thought about the ones that I, regretfully, don't have (but it's never too late to learn them, right?)
Now, this Jr FLL was organized by some awesome homeschooling moms. Not only did they organize it, they coached all those 5-8 year olds the entire summer! All I did was to bring snacks (once) and help with some prep work (twice). Which was good 'cause I had no idea what Jr FLL was about when I first signed M up for it.
You can find out more about it on the official Jr FLL page. If you were to ask M what Jr FLL was all about, he'd tell you it's about Legos, running around with friends, and about oceans. That's because the theme for the summer was Ocean Odyssey. So for 8 weeks the kids got together once a week for about 3 hours to learn about oceans through videos, books, experiments and, of course, Legos.
At the end of the 8 weeks, they got into teams. Each team had to create a poster board that showcased the team members and what they learned about oceans. And they had to build an ocean scene on a large Lego plate. They also had to build some ocean-going vehicles - boats, submarines, etc., maybe even with moving parts.
Then there was a bit open-house type event where other teams who worked through the summer came over with their displays and Lego plates. Kids got to see each other's work, explore others ocean scenes and get certificates for participation (this was not a part of the official Jr FLL competition though).
This is not to say he doesn't know what the "roads" on PCBs are for. He actually explained to me right away that, according to one of his favorite cartoons, the roads are really for "electrical current to run along". I honestly had no idea he knew this since this particular cartoon, called "Fixiki" irritates the heck out of me and I refuse to watch it.
But the most important thing was, of course, that he finished the entire Jr FLL summer session. It was hard with all our travels and other distractions that happen in the summer. And it was hard because working with small Lego pieces is difficult for M. And it was hard because he was one of the youngest boys in the group and the youngest on his team. But he did it and he built his vehicle and worked with others on building the ocean scene. He also built his own ocean scene on a smaller plate at home. It showed a beautiful beach with a turtle nest (there were some eggs in it even) and a secret treasure chest and the ocean had lots of corals and sea weed with lots of little places for fish to hide. I didn't have a chance to take a picture since I kept forgetting and then it got taken apart to build a sensory deprivation chamber for astronaut training.