adventures in unschooling

Cassius’ Annual Review 2008

Mandala Area & Position in Learning Cycle (Spiral): Seed > Root > Plant > Flower >

LANGUAGING (LANGUAGE ARTS) Flower / Accomplished

Learning Successes:

Cassius joyfully and successfully surpassed all of the Learning Plan goals and completed many of the recommended Languaging skills and concepts for his age and beyond. He possesses strong communication skills. When speaking to Cassius over the phone and in person, it was a pleasure, he is very communicative and quite funny and friendly, he presented himself confidently, comfortably, and articulately. Cassius’ reading abilities have blossomed this year and have become integrated into his daily life. In September he was nervous reading out loud and now he reads books and passages out loud regularly with confidence. Cassius has blossomed this year with regards to his speaking and listening, reading and viewing, he has enjoyed a wide range of fiction and non-fiction books, games and presentations at levels that exceed all expectations. He has been growing his roots for many more age-advanced skills. Cassius has a great capacity to understand complex stories as well as to create his own characters and plots that are elaborate and imaginative yet incorporate a strongly defined structure and storyline. Although writing was much less of a focus this year, Cassius did express himself through poetry and comics. He also created stories to express personal responses and opinions about some frustrating experiences. Cassius worked on handwriting and calligraphy as well as typing. He enjoyed reading books about grammar and helped write and edit his weekly O4Ls (observation for learning). Most recently Cassius has recorded some ideas for a film.

Future Directions and/or Updates for Learning Plan:

Continue loving language! Continue representing and responding through words, sounds and images. Cassius has very high expectations for himself and he can become frustrated or uninspired to write. Precision and fluency will come in time. Cassius processes the skills needed to enjoy and explore language and is equipped with the tools necessary to express his thoughts and feelings affectively. With these skills and his delight in Languaging he will continue on a progressive and fascinating course of learning in all disciplines.

Areas to be brought forward: none


Learning Successes:

Cassius thoroughly covered the Learning Outcomes for his set age in Humanities and beyond. Motivated by his interests he successfully completed and excelled in the plan to learn about Ancient World History and culture, with a major focus on Rome. Cassius has also increased his awareness of history, geography, economy and technology through his Pirates of the World Class, knight classes, Egyptian Mysteries Class, games (Expedition, Cathedral World, Catan: The Struggle for Rome) and maps. He passionate about history and the adventurous stories that unfold, but is also sincerely interested in how things use to be and how they have ended up like they are. He often discusses questions that arise about politics, economics and advertising.

Future Directions and/or Updates for Learning Plan:

Although he has gained a considerable understanding and knowledge of these eras he no doubt will continue to learn more in the years to come.

Areas to be brought forward: none

LOGIC (MATHEMATICS) Plant / Developing Proficiency

Learning Successes:

Cassius successfully pursued the Learning Plan goal to understand money and playing games. His understanding about money has blossomed and he puts value to the work he does and the things he wants. He enjoyed budgeting for future expenditures and put in to action plans to make money to obtain these items. Cassius successfully incorporated playing games into his learning as planned. For example, he studied and practiced and is now very skilled at chess. Cassius’ understanding of and abilities in Logic have steadily grown since September in addition to everyday math, games and money, Cassius worked with Miquon Math with Cuisinerre rods to solidify number, shape and pattern concepts this year. He has begun reading (and enjoying) the Murderous Maths books which cover math concepts for learners ages 8-13. By connecting these stories to the age appropriate math skills Cassius had developed this year, these books are helping to solidify the math skills that Cassius learned this year as well as expanding his interest and sprouting more roots and planting seeds for further learning. Cassius is also developing his multiplication skills.

Future Directions and/or Updates for Learning Plan:

Continue reading/working through the murderous math books and to help keep math interesting and relevant. Continue with Games!!!…where there are rules, procedures and such that he can enjoy!
“Chess (and other games) require a mental workout, thinking ahead, planning, being systematic, and determining the outcomes of certain moves. Chess moves can’t be memorized, weakness in math often stems from an over emphasis on memory skills instead of thinking skills.”
Let chess (and other games) pave the way to a love of learning logic and improved problem solving strategies! Continue working with money.

Areas to be brought forward: none

SCIENCE Flower / Accomplished
Learning Successes:

Cassius experienced and acquired Science skills and concepts through a number of learning activities this year. His focus as planned was on Animals & Nature. By following his curiosity, Cassius covered all of the skills and concepts in Processes of Science / Life Science / Earth and Space / Physical Science for his age and beyond. Cassius increased his understanding and knowledge of science concepts through reference books, documentaries, classes and BrainPop. His interests in animals led, as planned, to investigations and field studies. At Sea School – A 3hour boat trip up Indian Arm, he kept track of all the wildlife he saw during the journey, and looked at water samples under a microscope. There was a tank on board and Cassius enjoyed watching a sea star eat a jelly fish. In Life Science, his continued interest in Animals developed his knowledge and understanding of mammals and insects and how they eat and interact with their environment through his volunteer work with chickens, his pet leopard geckos (and crickets), visits to the Aquarium. He understands the life of insects and geckos; their anatomy, life cycle, behaviour, use of pheromones, and their place in the food web. When medical concerns arose in the family he researched information from his skeleton book, visual dictionary and internet sources. Further work under Physical Science included concepts surrounding atoms. Cassius was also introduced to the Periodic Table. He even made a pocket size version of his Visual Periodic Table and carried it around with him for days, using a magnifying glass to read it. Cassius questioned and researched information, he even emailed the folks at and asked to learn more about Atoms.

Future Directions and/or Updates for Learning Plan:

Continue to explore the world though his Digital Microscope and continue using his Brain Pop subscription to feed his curiosity as well as spark new areas of interest.

Areas to be brought forward: none


Learning Successes:

Cassius’ learning course naturally reflects selfdesigning. His development in SD Praxis was evident in a number of activities. As planned, he successfully participated in the creation of the Learning Plan. He sometimes completed his Observing for Learning along side his mother. He learnt how to express his thoughts, feelings and observations. He was able to self-reflect and adjust his plans. New passions have emerged, such as Bionicle. Others such as French have dropped. Over the year he demonstrated that he is able to work together with others, and that relationships are very important to him, considering both others needs as well as his own. This year Cassius learnt how to support those around him though helping in daily household activities. He showed personal growth in his ability to share and express his feeling and to initiate and maintain strong friendships. Cassius displays maturity beyond his years, engaging in serious topics, such as money, violence, or fairness, and he really understands and adds to the conversation. Unfortunately he did not enjoy all of his classes this year, yet his ability to distinguish what worked and what didn’t shows that Cassius has gained insight into how he learns and what he wants to get out of a class. He likes to be treated as an individual. It is important to him how he spends his time and he has very little patience for busy work, blanket rules, and waiting around. Finally, Cassius successfully reached his goal to learn how to use the computer (very well I might add).

Future Directions and/or Updates for Learning Plan:

Continue self designing! Try to engage more in the process of overcoming challenges. Learning often involves challenges we need to overcome. Cassius is very capable and sets high standards for himself and expects that he should be able to do something right away without failure.


Learning Successes: Creativity was an enjoyable focal area for Cassius. As planned, Cassius expressed much of his creativity through drawing and acting (role playing). Cassius spent a few months this year completely focused on drawing. He had an excellent experience with the cartooning class at Arts Umbrella. Cassius developed his character acting skills though a series of weekly classes and he performed in front of an audience on a number of occasions. Cassius has created a series of stop frame animations using digital photographs and iMovie software with the help of his mentor. He visited a number of Art and Theater Exhibits this year where he appreciated skill and techniques used by local artists. These artists provided the direction and inspiration on some of his creations. Cassius has enjoyed success with his digital camera as well as his digital microscope which captures images and allows for manipulation through the associated software.

Future Directions and/or Updates for Learning Plan:

Sign up for the cartooning class at Arts Umbrella again. A new addition to his plan was learning photography. He was introduced to traditional photography concepts in a Beginner’s Photography Class, he decided that he would wait until he was older to take this class (too technical, very frustrating). Continue to draw, take digital photos- “Have fun with photography!” Continue with plans for more stop-frame animations and movie ideas. Continue to appreciate arts within his community.


Learning Successes:

Cassius accomplished many of the Wellness goals this year with a major focus on swordplay. He successfully learnt the required terminology and physical moves in Academie Duello (European swordplay, historical fencing, and martial art) Cassius participated in Knight Camp and he attends fencing Level II classes twice a week. He also took a Pirate Swordplay class through Silbury. In addition to learning physical techniques and movements, Cassius has been learning about safety and martial discipline and the knightly virtues of chivalry, fairness, and generosity (sportsmanship). Cassius is happy when he is on the move. These activities built strength, endurance, flexibility, balance and an awareness of movement, space, and kinesthetic intelligence. In addition to swordfighting, Cassius enjoyed walks outdoors and creative physical games with his family and friends. His skills with a basketball improved as he developed accuracy in his shots and he has developed the strength to kick a ball quite a distance.

Future Directions and/or Updates for Learning Plan:

Continue to develop skills in Wellness through the same activities mentioned above. Bike riding was a challenge for Cassius, the plan is to continue to work through this learning curve with him as he builds confidence in his abilities over time.

One response

  1. Grandma Page

    Dear Cassius,
    I enjoyed reading all about your accomplishments this year. Way to go Cassisus! Keep up the good work.
    With Love,

    July 13, 2008 at 3:49 am

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