Monday, September 29

A Helpful Phrase

Have you ever heard the phrase, "You only have to be a day ahead of them" ?

I'm really milking that one lately.

We started our study of Nate Saint last week. It was a hit-and-miss week of school at home in order to get the co-op ready to begin. I had only planned to do Mr. Saint for 3 weeks... turns out it will take us four weeks to read the biography. So, I'm a little behind there.

So, now I'm inserting more social studies. This means that after Jake does his daily reading he needs to do his daily reporting (which happens in various forms). Because I'm behind a bit in this planning I resorted to an old stand by -- chapter questions. I suppose it won't kill him to answer some basic questions about what he read. But I'm having to read up on Ecuador the night before to find some good questions to ask.

Just a day ahead.

That's all I have to be.


Saturday, September 27

Not Gonna Do It

This goes against my grain.

Today is Free Museum Day for Smithsonian linked institutions. And we're not going to go.

My homeschooling heart says,
"But it's free!"
"It's educational!"
"It counts as a day of school!"

But my body is tired. And even though hanging out in our pajamas also goes against my grain -- we are not one of those homeschool families :-) -- I think I'd much rather do that.

Sunday, September 21

Crash Landing

We just finished our first unit on flight.
  • It was fun doing experiments about the forces of flying (though many of them didn't work).
  • J had a ball editing together some footage to create our own Reading Rainbow episode on the topic (though our computer crashed and we had a hard time converting video files so they were usable).
  • We laughed because the only thing the boys remembered about Louis Bleriot was that his license plate number in the picture book was AD1901. (That's not the only thing, really, but it was the first thing they could tell me).
  • We read the entire biography of Orville Wright (except the last two paragraphs because we got distracted -- crazy!).
And with all the other bumps of life this week we really didn't get to do the great culminating activity I had hoped to do. But, like I said not too long ago, I'm trying to give them more freedom to choose the activity. So, though it seemed like we ended the unit with a crash landing, I think we learned something from it all.

Tuesday, September 16

179 Days

I'm trying to allow myself to do less than 180 days of school. For years I've lived in a state that required homeschoolers to do 18o days of instruction. So, I kept an "attendance" record and logged all our field trips, sick days, Friday School, P.E. and acting classes and made it add up to at least 180 (it usually went a little over).

I think the 180 mark is a good one to shoot for but does that mean 180 days of assignments and projects and progress in their math books or is it 180 days of intentional educational experiences...even some "unintentional" ones?

So, today we accepted an invitation to play, experience a new park, swim in some refreshing water, listen to the kids play Marco Polo and watch them bury each other in the sand. What an awesome day of education...watching the fuzzy caterpillars crawling on the playground, exploring the arc of the watersprayers at the spray ground, and hands-on relational lessons in friend-making. Today I got to experience that freedom that we have as homeschoolers to chuck it all and do something different. Oregon won't hold me accountable for it. So, I'm not going to either. This year it's going to be 179 days (maybe less).

Tuesday, September 9

He Did It!

B has never really cared for reading. Then I posted something at the end of our summer that indicated a bit of a turn around for him.

Today he asked to do his reading station (he's actually been asking every day instead of me telling him it's time to do it).
Today he read an entire book all to himself.
And then he read it to me.
And he was speedy!

Do I dare say that we are over the hump?!?!

Monday, September 8

Bonus Points

We have a new system at home... time has to be earned and there is a whole list of ways they can earn it.

One way is to behave in the grocery store.

So after they whined and complained about going and one of them actually drug his feet into the store (not joking) they perked up a bit. But as we're bagging the groceries they begin to wrestle. Fortunately there was a bench for them to sit on and when I asked them to do so, they did.

The lady bagging groceries opposite me hadn't noticed the wrestling, but did notice the nice sitting and she said,

"They look like such well behaved boys. And you have three?"

"Thank you. Yes."


I tell them, "Compliments in the grocery store earn you instant media credits and you just got one."

As we leave J yells behind us, "THANK YOU, LADY!"

Friday, September 5

I Should Begin a List of Other Things...

...that you can't do in public school. If I were to create such a list this would be at the top of it right now: Uncle Doug sent some new toys to the boys "just because" -- Optimus Prime Voice Changer Helmet and Storm Trooper Voice Changer Helmet. They opened them last night and today they are doing everything with them on.
  • Reading
  • Answering Questions
  • Scanning airplane photos for their books
  • Humming
  • Repeating the funniest words over and over
  • Eating lunch (kind of interesting to watch)

Even Transformers have to be educated. You can't do THAT in public school.