Saturday, January 7, 2012
Enjoy the ride.....
Homeschooling is a journey, not a destination. Just like many things in life, you often don't know just where you'll end up. So, you need to enjoy the sights along the way, because truly, that is what it's all about. Either that or the hokey pokey; I'm not sure.
"Do the hokey pokey and turn yourself around. That's what it's all about. Hey!"
I remember seeing a bumper sticker once that read, "What if the hokey pokey really is what it's all about?"
In my homeschooling (or perhaps I prefer the term learning) journey I am often continually seeking. I guess I might've been satisfied and left well enough alone if I had easier going kids. My older son is a squeaky wheel. Sometimes he squeaks very loudly. Whatever it is, it does get my attention. This year his attitude has seemed to be, "I don't like school. It's boring. I just do what I have to do and get it done so I can go do something fun." I guess this is an improvement over years when he whined, "Why do I have to do school at all?" Or, when he got past that and resigned himself to doing some school work he still railed at certain subjects. Okay, so maybe this year is an improvement. But still.......I felt like I had somehow failed in my homeschooling. I don't expect it all to be greeted with "Wheeeeeeee!!! I can't believe we get to do this!" But some of this should be fun, interesting, at the very least better than public school. Or else, why am here? I could do something else with my time other than torture my kids with boredom and then babysit the rest of the day.
So, to that end, I am embarking on several new learning adventures. It would be easier if I started one or two small new things at a time. Like maybe just focusing on flossing regularly and drinking more water perhaps? I thought, however, that maybe I could swing those two and start several new directions in our learning.
One that I am just beginning to learn about is called Project based learning. While this term may mean different things I am referring to the approach as laid out at Camp Creek Blog. We haven't started anything yet as I am just now learning about it. I will jump in before I get it all figured out though, because I have decided that doing something imperfectly is better than waiting to do it perfectly (which of course would be never.)
In a somewhat related style, we are starting inquiry based science. We have been having a rather lengthy discussion on The Well Trained Mind message boards on this and I am learning from several people there. I have set up a question board and it is surprising how many questions are coming up. One question my younger son had was, "Why can you see fog when it is farther away (he pointed down the road) but you can't see it up close? This would probably be a research question-one we will need to read about to find the answers.
My other son is passionate about juggling and read something about the rate of speed at which balls drop. He said that if a ball is dropped from 2x the height it's falling time is not increased 2x. I'm not sure if the why can be answered by experiment, but I felt that we should first check to see if this statement is true.
We decided we needed to drop from higher places in order to really be able to time it and see if there is a difference. Tune in next week to see us on roofs and in trees.
We're also doing some fun science--you know: exploding things. I found this project several places online. But only at Steve Spangler Science did I find it explained. I mean sure, it's fun to blow up a bar of soap in the microwave. I, however, like to know why it does this. Sometimes I can figure things out for myself, sometimes it's okay just to be told. So, I'm telling you, if you want to do these fun things and understand a bit about the why of it all, Steve Spangler is a good place to go.
We also started a Five in A Row book. I'm not quite organized with this yet, which is not good, but we did have some fun. We read Madeline. We made crepes. Then we learned a bit about Paris, during which Mommy imparted important information about things like pastry shops and cafes in Paris. It's so helpful to have actual experience in a subject. The boys did these paper cut outs of Paris.
We discovered that building with sugar wafer cookies and vanilla frosting is harder than it looks. Ah, two sides to the Eiffel Tower would have worked better.
E, who is 11, might be considered old for Five in A Row. I view it as adding some fun to our week and getting him to do some writing and research in a low key way. I realized this week that he was kind of lost on how to summarize. How is that possible after several years of narrating a la Charlotte Mason? Well, he was never a big fan of narrating, but certainly capable. I could just tell him to narrate on paper instead of calling it summarizing or tell me about the story. Since he hated narrating, though, I'd rather not draw that connection. I walked him through it this week and I'm glad we've started this way. E also read a National Geographic article on Beneath Paris, which covered the history of the city as well as some interesting bits about what goes on now underneath the city.
We still have more to do with Madeline, but I don't want to drag it out too much. I feel that we've missed key aspects though and more importantly, we haven't been to the bakery yet! This will carry on into next week.
As to the usual subjects, K is still working on reading. He is really rounding the corner to becoming a reader now. It is so exciting to hear him read aloud, unstilted, and to continue beyond where I said he could stop.
History fell by the wayside this week as I tried to stumble back into our learning time. My husband has been around more and I'm trying to make changes, both schedule wise and approach wise, so it's been a bit bumpy.
I'm working on scheduling, organization, cleaning up our spaces, and incorporating new approaches to our learning. I guess I keep thinking that things like scheduling and organization should be a destination and I should finally arrive. Shoot, this has been a long journey. But if I just stuck with what I made up at first, I would've missed so many amazing things along the way.
I'm wondering if my kids are learning half as much as me?