Posts Tagged 'Home Schooling'

Battling Bugs

As part of our schooling, I am having the boys make a weather journal.  It is good practice in observation, and unbeknownst to them, they are learning to spell the months of the year, by writing the date each day.

When I planned this assignment, I meant to have a weather station set up in the house before school began, but, when I jumped the gun, and started two weeks early, some plans fell by the wayside.  Because we lack even a thermometer, the boys offered to ride their bikes to the bank, to observe the temperature.  Now, reading a digital sign was not what I had in mind when I planned this…but neither was turning on the computer, for this information.  So, off they go, each morning, as soon as their chores are done, to observe the temperature.

This worked great the first week.  The second week, though, there began to be some competition…one boy working extra  fast, with the purpose of leaving the others behind.  Occasionally, in their hurry to be the first to report the temperature, they would bring home the time, or interest rate…sometimes it took three trips to get a just reading.

Then, one morning, Adam came in holding one eye, already turning purple.  “Mama, I got hit.”

Benjamin was right behind him, looking sad.  “I got the bug that hit him,” he reported, holding aloft a three inch long grasshopper.

It wasn’t a fight!  Riding along, he had been smacked in the eye.

It was good to see how they pulled together during a tragedy.  Benjamin had left his bike, hidden in weeds, to help his brother.

We treated Adam’s eye with arnica oil, and the purple went away.  Now their trips to the bank are a bit slower…sometimes they even walk.

Magical Equations


 Today marked the 6th day of school for my family.  One thing we are doing this year, as part of our opening time is called the “Magical Equation”.  It is often used in kindergarten classes to introduce addition, but ours is going far beyond that. 

The boys enjoy making up huge subtraction problems, as well as some simple algebra, multiplication and division.  I think they will have more fun with the multiplication when the numbers are bigger.

Preparing for School

Upon completing our third year of home schooling, I took a serious look at what was working, and what wasn’t.  Then I looked at what aspects we enjoyed and learned from, and which ones were done to fill in blanks on our schedule. 

I also took an honest look at what we really did, not what I scheduled us to do.  (Drudge through one text book after another, and if anything got cut, it was the hands on projects.)  In the end, I realized I had been reproducing public education, at home.  My reasoning, was to keep Manny happy.  He made a big deal out of having records of what we had done; so others could look back on them, to see the job we had done, teaching our children.  Nice idea; but, who cares.  What parent of a public school child keeps every paper the kid drags home?  None that I’m aware of.  Furthermore, why keep them?  If the child has truly been taught, then he knows the information, and old worksheets are unnecessary for showing what he has learned.

About the time I came to these conclusions, a box from my mom arrived.  Three years subscription, from the early 1980’s, of Growing Without Schooling.  A publication aimed toward Unschooling.  Although I was vaguely aware of unschooling, (I had been accused of it before,) I really didn’t understand the principles behind it.  After reading many issues, I decided to make our summer an experiment of unschooling.

From this experiment, I learned many things.  (See “Unschooling”, under topics, or click here.)  However, the most important thing I learned what that I need a schedule.

I am a very project/goal oriented person.  The old adage “If you aim at nothing, you’re likely to hit it.”  is not very comforting.  So, I began seriously contemplating what I want our home school to look like.  When I had my answers, I had a long talk with Manny.  He liked my idea’s, but requested I keep a daily log of our activities, and if it is not clearly academic, to break it down into the components that make up “school.”

The last two weeks, I have been working on my plans for school.  It must be August…every teacher I know is excitedly planning away, regardless of were they teach.

Suet Bird Feeder


When spring was arriving, we had birds migrating in to find snow covered land.  So we sprinkled seed for them.  The boys loved watching all the varieties of sparrows, and their unique flock behaviors.  However, when the wind blew, the seeds scattered into the snow bank and were covered…meaning we had to replace them in order to entice the birds to stay.  Finally, we solved this hassle by melting some suet and mixing it with sugar, oatmeal and birdseed, then molding it in teacups, and hanging it from a tree branch in a red mesh bag that Adam knit on a round loom.

The birds loved it, then spring came, the snow melted and with plenty of food available, most birds moved into the surrounding forest.  Yet, birds continue to migrate, and this morning we had a new flock of sparrows attacking the little feeder!

Meanwhile, Blue-backed tree swallows are nesting in the bird houses my husband built with the boys, this winter.

January 2020
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"Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him, and he shall bring it to pass." ~Psalm 37:4 & 5

Confident Endeavors

"If one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours."

- H.D. Thoreau