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...

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