Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Take Time to Smell the Flowers

I've come back from our summer trip with seven extra pounds from too much bread and beer, and some new ideas about homeschooling.

I'm trying to get 180 days of schooling in this year, and AR about documenting them. Before we left, I printed out a few dozen worksheets and packed a couple of books so that we could at least count ten or so days of schooling during the trip. We got all the worksheets completed without much hassle and even read one more book than I'd planned on. Seeing how much we learned on the trip and how many other activities we did, that I hadn't factored into our 180 days, I realized how much more relaxed I could be about the whole thing.

Because I didn't have our every minute planned, we were able to participate in spontaneous classes like tin-punching with my cousin and water experiments with my aunt (an amazing science teacher).

Our school year is from January-December, so we are now entering our final trimester of 3rd. grade. Our schedule will be more spread out through the day, with more breaks and independent projects. We will also be including a twice weekly bodywork routine to help me get rid of these 7lbs and count it as part of phys ed.

Instead of writing up a complete schedule, I'll leave lots of blank spaces for those unexpected experiences that should most definitely be counted as learning, and at the end of the day I'll fill them in with what we did.

I had planned on doing another Unit Study this year, on the human body. But that is seeming like an extremely huge undertaking so late in the year. Unit Studies are great, but do require lots of time and effort. Instead, we're going to work on a theatrical production - "The Pluto Monologues" - as an extension of our Solar System project. We've been working on it since we got back and absolutely loving putting it together.

So, I will try to remember what I learned on our vacation - take time to smell the flowers and anything else we feel like sticking our noses into.

On another, more "on-it mom" note - I can't believe how much hs stuff I have accumulated! My Mac died right before we left and now I'm having to transfer everything (links, bookmarks, archives, documentation and all things hs related) to my new one. A new Mac is a pretty fine thing, especially when the screen is triple the size of my head, but I was used to my old set-up and am a creature of habit. Anyway, I wish I had listened to the advice of a more experienced hs mom. It was basically - find what you need and get off that thing.

Hunting for free educational resources can become compulsive. I have found great sites, links, videos, games... but, at the end of the day, we use books, notebooks, the world globe, stuff we find around the house, and basic computer programs like Word and Powerpoint much more than we do any of the stuff I've found on-line. Lots of it is for several years time from now, but it was cool so I went ahead and stored it like a rodent. Now it's so much that I don't have enough time to really go through it all. I'm terribly stubborn and only learn by making mistakes. Should've taken the advice, but now I know, and will try to cut down my hunting to half an hour weekly, and have even more time for those flowers.

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