Sunday, August 18, 2013

A Week Into It

We started school this week. Well, the put-a-check-in-the-box-because-the-government-needs-to-track-everything-about-life kind of school. You've heard me say before (maybe to the point of being obnoxious) that we choose an all-of-life-is-about-learning approach to education and that it happens everyday and in any kind of situation. Learning happens naturally; rules and administrative oversight happens because the government is involved.

So, since I need to check 180 little boxes verifying I tried to teach my kids a thing or two, I decided this week was as good as any to get started. And, because every afternoon this week was busy but each morning was free, why not begin? And, because Baby Boy is coming this winter and I have a feeling my attention will be diverted to a certain little someone, why not get a head start?
To make things, ahem, official, I told the kids that I was starting to check boxes, which meant we had to do certain things everyday now. No whines or groans, but a few questions like, "Can we still go to the pool?" and "Can we still ride our bikes?" and "If I finish my things early can I still play all day?" Answers: yes, of course! Official school is done by noon so we have the day to play.

We began Monday morning with cinnamon rolls for breakfast while discussing Psalm 119:66, "Teach me knowledge and judgement for I believe your commands."

We talked about gaining knowledge by what we learn, and that meaningful knowledge is rooted in knowing God and understanding that everything we can possibly know happens in the framework of His world. We talked about desiring good judgment because that enables us to make wise decisions. We talked about believing God's commands before we believe man's commands. Hopefully, in the course of all we learn and do this school year we can work to keep this at the forefront of our minds.
I think our new science curriculum, in particular, has captured their attention. So far they are interested in the content, enjoy writing in their nature journals, and have insisted on doing our initial three experiments again and again. Win.

A challenge for Grady Lee, it seems, is beginning cursive. I don't think it's a "can't" issue so much as it is a "don't want to" issue. He's mastered an "A" and an "E" - there's hope. For Micah, learning comes very easily because he's generally an enthusiastic learner. His attitude, however, sours easily when he is asked to do something again that he already knows how to do. And, my darling almost-three-year-old has her hands and ears into everything. She wants to be a part of whatever the boys are doing, and even when I don't think she's paying attention, she chimes in a random times to offer an answer or ask a question. Keeping her occupied and quiet to play by herself for small periods of time is her challenge... and then I remember she's two and that really, the challenge is my challenge, not hers.
In addition to a busy and full first week of school, we managed to enjoy a round of free mini golf, ice cream and goodbyes with our family's most treasured babysitter, a birthday party, and a couple hours of climbing and sliding at Plaza Fiesta. And, I may or may not have begun sifting through infant clothes and accessories as part of required maternal nesting.

Have I mentioned I love homeschooling? I'm privileged to be with my kids, learn with my kids, and play with my kids. Every day (almost)!
Some of you have asked what materials I'm using this year. I'm happy to put a list together and post that soon, but I'll warn you now that it may frustrate you more than help you. I'm a pick-and-choose from all over the place kind of person and don't use any one publisher or particular curriculum. And, some of you wonder if I'm Charlotte Mason in my approach, or Classical or Montessori or Unschooling or... well, there are so many faces to homeschooling it's hard to suggest them all. Maybe I'll get around to sharing my thoughts and methods on that, too.

But back to our first week. We've completed five official days of the required 180 days. Everyone survived. Everyone is still happy. Everyone still loves each other. And, everyone still agrees that learning together at home works best for our family.

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