Yes, I already have a homeschooling pet peeve. I guess there are some in every crowd, but I thought that maybe the homeschooling crowd would be less-so because there are as many types of, and reasons for, homeschooling as there are homeschoolers. And I would think I would be surrounded by other people who were all about paving their own way and bucking the system. But homeschool parents who, maybe because I'm new to homeschooling, are quick to let me know what I'm "going to want to do" or "should do" or generally offer unsolicited advice, really irk me. Possibly this offends me because I have more experience educating than most of the parents I've met, and more higher education than most, and more education in the field of education than most. But most likely it bothers me just because it assumes a lot and sounds arrogant. When someone finds out that I like the unschooling approach, they need not offer opinions against unschooling or direct me to a curriculum I would want to use. Did they not just listen? I hope I don't degrade their curriculum choices, even though listening to people talk about canned curriculum is like listening to nails on a chalkboard for me. Maybe it's because I've had a lot of training and practice working with adults and discussing the most personal of topics, parenting, with groups. I have no doubt that I have said things in a way that offends people. Maybe other people get irritated when people say what works for them. Personally, I'd be much happier if people, if they don't like the unschooling approach or love their curriculum, just said that! It irks me when other parents, because they've schooled their X number of children at home for Y number of years, proclaim to know how _I_ am going to want to teach _my_ child, who is undoubtedly unique from every one of their X number of children just as I am not the same parent they are. And that is my soapbox. I'll step off now.
Cheese is having a baby! Cheese is my new friend. He is a fly. Nevermind that he is a boy having a baby, he is a grown-up. Cheese is having a baby after lunch.
[Editor's note: Based on the sheer number of times she has repeated this announcement, I decided it was worthy of its own blog post.]
Yesterday one of the moms in our local homeschool group organized a field trip to the grocery store. I am so thankful for her. Despite the fact that it's our neighborhood store, we had never been on a field trip there. I would definitely go again. They did a great job! First we got a group picture taken by the photo center. They we meandered through the store, checking out the video department, bank, pharmacy, and natural food section. By the time we got back to the bakery, our photo was developed and we were able to watch the cake decorator decorate a cake with our group's picture on it! We got to keep the cake, of course. Then they brought the group back into the walk-in cooler to see how the milk gets in the racks and where the truck pulls up to the loading dock. The boys' favorite part was the box crusher demonstration! After the cooler, we visited the meat department for an up-close and personal visit with a lobster. (We had done our KWL chart before the trip to see what we already knew about the grocery store and what we wanted to know. The only thing William wanted to know was what they feed the lobster.) He did a great job asking his question. (They feed them a block of slow-release fish food each day, just like you'd put in a fish tank.) Then it was on to produce with some Q&A about fruits and veggies. At the end of the tour, we left with a bag of goodies, including a group photo. Since we were all going off in different directions instead of back to a common classroom, we were able to use their deli seating to enjoy our cake.
All in all, it was a fabulous trip. The tour guide was great with the kids and they were all well behaved. She complimented everyone on what a great job they did. Of course, there were children from toddlers on up to 10 or 12 and everyone was very polite. My child was ready to talk the tour guide's ear off in the beginning, but we had a little word about letting other kids have a turn and only asking questions for the rest of the trip and that helped. He definitely had fun. He learned more than he thought he would. He even asked a question at the end that he hadn't planned on. He asked if anyone ever rides on the grocery conveyor belt. The answer was, "No, it's not safe and not fun." I think they had a hard time believing the "not fun" part :)
Hopefully our next trip will be that great. This weekend we are going to make a return trip to the alpaca ranch with some friends who school-school. They are having an open house. Either way, both trips are free, fun, and educational.
Today when we were driving in the car, I told these two funny jokes.
"Once, when I was outside, I saw a mosquito getting people bites."
"I have another one.
Once there was a little girl. Her was funny!"
on homeschool materials.
These rainbow sticky notes that I found on clearance at the Target dollar spot are awesome! They make the perfect sized checklist for a second grader - not too overwhelming. I put two really short, simple tasks at the top for him to complete first thing in the morning. (Don't we all feel great when we can cross things off a list?!?!) And then there are two other tasks to do before we do something fun, like choose a science experiment, play a game, or go for a walk. But honestly, he usually loves most everything on the list. Practicing piano is never a chore to him. Although I can tell he enjoys seeing his accomplishments in writing. And so far these colorful notes have been a huge help for keeping William on task when most of what he does, he can do independently. The time spent at night putting out his materials and his sticky note is time well spent!
Sunday - I go to church where I first grab a fun bag of stuff to do. Then I try to be brave enough to go up with William to hear the children's message. Finally, I work on being quiet when it's pastor's turn to talk.
Monday - We started homeschool group every other week. The first time was this week. It was fun to play with the other three-year-olds while William was in his classes.
Tuesday - I get to play with my friends at Tracy's house! I know the first letters in a lot of my friend's names, especially Z for Zachary, who I am going to marry. I tried to ask him, but he didn't hear me. Or maybe he didn't understand. Karen is helping me with that. I get to go to speech with her on Tuesday afternoons.
Wednesday - Another morning at Tracy's house! In the afternoon, we bring William to piano lessons and run some errand. Today we helped Mommy in her Sunday school room. I made two paper bag lions to hang on the wall for decoration.
Thursday - Homeschool park days are done now, so all I have is speech in the afternoon.
Friday - I can't wait for Janie's class! I'm very excited. I thought I was done with ECFE after last year, but I loved Janie's class so much that Mom put me back in it.
Saturday - Maybe there will be another Johnnie football game. I love riding the bus from the parking lot to the stadium. And the Johnnie rats and Bennie dancers are fun to watch. We always have great snacks, run around, and play. The whole family gets excited for games. The weather has been fabulous for both games so far. I like that word, fabulous!
I know, I have a busy calendar for a three-year-old. But if you'd ever like to get together to play dress-up or dolls, I'll try to squeeze you in!
This week we've been more intentional about making sure we're covering a variety of subjects each day and keeping track of our learning in a journal. We have had a few battles about not wanting to do or complete certain things. But frequent breaks to play in the park, free time to play legos, trips to the store to spend birthday money, and snacks and exercise as needed have been helping. So far, William likes homeschool. The fall activities are gearing up with the local homeschool association. This week we had homeschool play group at the park, piano lessons and chess club. Next week we will have our first co-op where parents take turns teaching different subject to small groups with another parent on hand as a helper. All these things are new adventures, which is stressful and exhausting, especially with a 3 1/2-year-old in tow. Each time will get easier, but right now I need a nap! It's nice that Eliana is starting back at her daycare two mornings a week and her ECFE class also starts next week. One-on-one time with the kids is really a treat!
I made a lego game. It has bridges to crawl under, a hurtle to jump over, and rocks to destroy. Here are the rules:
The object of the game: To get the treasures from the people that stole them.
Story of the game: Once you were swimming and you had four treasures and you were swimming with two more guys. Then, all of a sudden, you dropped them. And somebody just popped up with a gun and shot a guy and then stole the treasures. The two guys that are remaining are The Black Lord and Mister Brown. They were anxious to go on their mission. But when they started off to find their treasures, the guy that stole their treasures, separated the treasures, and put them with different guys in different places. One guy was in the desert. One guy was in the grasslands. And the last guy was in the forest. The captain was in the forest. The captain was named Lord William.
How to play: Black Lord is all black and gets black hero pack. Mister Brown wears all brown and has brown hair, since I couldn't find a brown hero pack I just used a red. So you roll the die and whatever color you land on, that's which way to go. So if you roll the yellow, you get to go under the yellow bridge. If you roll red, you can choose to go on the red path. The red path leads to the first treasure. When you get into the desert level, you have to roll red to destroy the red rock. And then you have to roll yellow to jump over the yellow hurtle. And then you have to roll yellow again to destroy the yellow rock. And you have to roll red again to destroy the red rock. You have to roll red again to go under the red bridge. You have to roll grey to defeat the guys and get the treasures. So if you don't roll grey, too bad, you don't get the treasures. If you get the treasures you have to roll red again to under another red bridge and roll grey to get into the forest because there's a bridge blocking you from getting into the forest. When you get in the forest there is a blue rock and if you guess correct, you have to roll blue to get past it. There is a portal in the forest and you have to roll grey because it makes you go past a yellow rock automatically. And there's a fence. You have to get grey to defeat the fence. Then there's another guy and he set up a force field and the force field is guarding your most important thing that you dropped: your time traveler. Roll grey to defeat him and roll grey to shut down the force field and they you get the time traveler and win!
Items: When you destroy people, you get their items.
gun: lets you destroy people even if you don't roll grey
jet pack: lets you take out two things in one roll
key: lets you go across levels, like unlocking a different level without even doing anything to the obstacles
People keep asking me when we start school. My best answer would be that we started the day we decided to homeschool. Darren was asking how we get a first day of school picture like everyone is posting online lately.
This has to be the closest we can come. It was on our summer road trip to Arkansas, which started on the last day of first grade, that we made the decision to school William at home for second grade. Since then it has been a gradual easing into what school will mean to us.
He has learned a lot over the summer. This past weekend he got to tour Charles Lindbergh's boyhood home, which was a great bit of history and inspired him to want to visit our county history museum. We have been meeting lots of homeschooled friends and doing a ton of educational activities. Now that fall is upon us, summer activities are over, and school is starting for me again. Our routines will become more predictable for the next 8-9 months. One part of this new routine will involve practicing math facts, which have been getting rusty this summer. And generally keeping better track of what we are covering. But, as I've said before and will say again, we are always doing school. For example, today William:
Made and mailed a Thank You card (language arts)
Went to OT (phy. ed)
Read a science magazine about robots (science/reading)
Went to homeschool play group (recess/social skills)
Did a printmaking project (art)
While I typed this, he and Eliana played the Lego board game he got for his birthday and colored some pictures in her Tangled coloring book. He just complimented her on changing colors rather than coloring everything on the page one color. So sweet!
I'm trying to be careful not to let lesson planning get in the way of learning!
Camping: When we started camping, we set up the Taj Mahal of tents. As you see in the picture, that's what it looks like:
It's big and blue and it's kind of like an igloo except it's a tent. And it has one opening and then another opening inside. You can make it have two rooms! When we got done, we swept the tent and set up the beds. My two favorite parts of camping were the Bakugan quizzes and having pancakes. The pancakes on the campfire were so awesome! The quiz questions were what the Bakugan's attributes mean. For example, Haos means light and Pyrus means fire.
My birthday: My favorite present was Heroica, the new game! You don't set it up the whole way. Parts of it come in different boxes. I got Waldurk. Waldurk is a forest. The mission is to get the cup and you win. There are magic doors. They make you travel to any dark gray space. And another magic door, which looks like a giant, blue ax, are blocking you from the cup. And blocking those are werewolves! I also got Dragonoid Colossus, a big, giant Bakugan that you combine six bakugan to make. This is me and Dad building Dragonoid Colossus:
My cupcakes were chocolate frosting and chocolate chip. For example, you can call them chocolatey chocolate cupcakes.