Thursday, October 11, 2012

What DO We Do All Day

It seems like an inevitable part of homeschooling. Someone is bound to ask, so what DO you do all day? Some people envision children seated at desks in a special "school" room in your basement with you standing over them with a ruler.

Others think you most likely just watch tv and let your kids play all day.

The truth is generally somewhere in the middle.

For our family, (and there are a lot of families like ours) we try to keep goals in mind for the year, have ideas or books to get our kids there, and have a general schedule of when we'd like to hit steps through the year. For example; with our oldest starting high school this year, I knew we'd like to go all the way through history before he finishes up, so we chose Story of the World. Because that curriculum is geared toward elementary age kids, I spent a lot of time (but not money) creating a list of high school appropriate reading  and projects to flesh it out a bit. Another example is our boys total lack of knowledge of spelling rules. Honestly, they have always bothered me. They are more like vague suggestions. Anyway, we have a goal of learning one a week.

As former unschooler/free schoolers, all these pathways aren't a new thing, but the smaller paths we have chosen to take are helping to keep us nearer our goals. I think part of the frenzy this year is the crazy idea that I have to stuff all this stuff in his head in the next four years - like his brain has an expiration date. I have been reminding myself that the goals we have set are good things, but that I'm not the learning Nazi. No one can MAKE you learn anything. It's my job to make sure they want to know new things and sneakingly lead them onto the paths I have planned.

This year's plan:

English - Joy of Writing by Cathy Jaime, NANOWRIMO and The Write Stuff Adventure, Spelling Rules and Games
Math - Each boy has goals based on CCS
History - Story of the World Volume One (We took this one from Dinosaur Ages and it will end with the fall of Rome. This four book series is really fun and I'm learning a lot too!)
Science - C and G are doing the last of the Fifth Day Apologia books: Land Animals and A is working through an online Physical Science class with videos and projects.
PE/Health - We start every morning with "Morning Moving" to get them going for the day. Since they each have very different health issues, I make time to have one on one talks about seasonal dressing, hygiene and STDs depending on age.
Art - Time is what art takes and I make sure that there are supplies around. I have to push A to be creative, but C and G do it automatically.
Music - 30 minutes a day of practice with any of our five instruments or theory games
Bible - Each morning after morning moving we take time to read devotions, pray together and memorize scripture.

That is our day. We have lots of time left to play afterward. Even Austin's work only takes about four hours. Well, maybe five if you add in the extra history reading in the evenings for "homework". Free time is, sadly, an unusual commodity for most kids, but one I feel is necessary for them. I make every attempt to make sure that the boys have that in addition to their studies.

When raising boys into men, I feel like Calvin got it right. Not the theologian, the comic...

September Ends and October Begginings

It's hard to believe that September flew by without a word from me on here, but with our new schedule, I'm finding it hard to squeeze the boys off the computer in the afternoons and in the evenings I'm wiped out! I'll post more about our school "curriculum" soon.

We did manage to get in a few fun days as September merged into October.

Park Day with our Roamies

His Bama game day Crimson.

C on the ice.

This was G's big excitement for the week!

Cub Scouts are in full swing with Popcorn Sales filling empty weekends.
Sometimes thrifting pays. This costume that looked to have never been used was $2.

Cats are hard to photograph

 This was today's fun activity. The library we frequent in the next big town held a homeschool viewing of the J. K. Rowling webcast this morning. G was really excited AFTER the fact when he realized it had been live although he was still disappointed it wasn't in PERSON. :o)

 Just for fun, as we were leaving the Cub Scout meeting, I saw what I thought was a caterpillar on my car. After a closer inspection it was revealed to be... a mustache! With a house full of boys I supposed it was just a matter of time before "Ol' Bessie" turn on me as well! HA!

Summer School

We tend to start our school year earlier than the public schools here and with Alabama's push back of the school year well into August, we got quiet a head start. Here are a few things we fit in early in the year.

McWane Center's Slime and Goo Day

Prehistoric fish or silly boy? Hard to tell...

US Space and Rocket Center

Rocket Demo

Bernoulli Principal

The Mammoth Exhibit was really cool - and no photos...

Mr G with his favorite "planet".

 Burritt on the Mountain

We spun wool, learned about the animals and played checkers.