Monday, November 9, 2015

Happy homeschooling days

 I have always enjoyed homeschooling, for the most part, but there have been several years during which the herding of toddlers and the tending to infants and the juggling of multiple levels of learning has made for some stressful days.  Holding a baby, while using my legs to keep a toddler out of kitchen drawers, while teaching both middle school curriculum and elementary curriculum was tricky.

But NOW, now, it has gotten so, so fun!  This is what I always envisioned it could be.  I realize it is October, also known as the Month In Which Everyone Still Loves School, and the real test will come in February, also known as the Month In Which Everyone Can't Stand Their School, but for now I'm enjoying the Happy Days.

The original reasons I had for homeschooling still apply -- the laid-back pace of life, the flexible schedules, the customizing of education for various needs, the fun and easy parent-teacher conferences.  But now I have extra reasons for loving this mode of education.

 Here are some of the things I've been particularly enjoying lately:

1.) Group Bible time:  This year for the first time, all of the kids are reading from their own Bibles each morning.  We are going through the book of Genesis and we all take turns reading a paragraph or two.  I love hearing them read (until we get to a part with a bunch of crazy names of descendants or places.... although we enjoyed the names of Isaac's cousins, Uz and Buz, yesterday).  They fight over who gets to read next and we are all learning.  In church on Sunday the passage they read up front was from Genesis and Miles' face lit up as he said, "I read that before!"

2.) Group learning:  Strider is off doing his own thing at high school now but the younger three are all working at similar enough levels that we can spend most of our day doing things together.  Whether it's memorizing all of the Classical Conversations material, singing the various songs, or doing multiplication flashcards, or doing mapwork, or playing violins, most of the time is spent in a group with a lot of my most favoritest people in the world.
Competing for flashcards... it's always a close contest!
So excited about new library books!
3.) The occasional project:  Even though I have a love/hate relationship with projects, there are a few that are big hits around here.  I remembered when Strider learned about ancient Rome we had done a cool experiment building arches, so I resurrected it to do with these young 'uns, too.  Once again we were all amazed and learned a lot!  (That keystone really is the key!)

4.)  Multiple environments:  We do a lot in the living room, and then we do a lot in the dining room, and sometimes we even read outside.  And sometimes we go to a coffee shop or a park.
Reading "The Bronze Bow" to these monkeys
5.) Multi-tasking:  Sometimes I can give spelling tests or other instructions while I'm doing the dishes.

6.) Their creativity and enthusiasm:  I know all kids have fantastic thoughts and unusual approaches to things -- they're all so unique and amazing as they grow and learn.  But I'm so glad I have the literal front-row seat to my kids' development and creativity!  I love that I got to teach them to read; I love that I get to see them get excited about fractions or identifying prepositions.  And I love that I get to see them come up with solutions, even when they're off-topic.

Recent example:  Miles was supposed to be copying his spelling words, but instead I found him writing his favorite long word, "antidisestablishmentarianism" in "code."

7. Mondays:  If my kid went to school each day, I think I would dread Sunday nights.  All of the running around and gathering things, making sure there are clothes to wear and lunches packed, and then having to go to bed early... I wouldn't like it.  But Mondays here are pretty fun!  There is no rushing around on Sunday nights, and our schedule of extracurriculars is planned this semester so that we don't have many places to go on Mondays.  We can ease into the week in comfortable clothes and snuggle under blankets on the couch as we read if we want.  Since schooltime is generally pretty fun these days, I actually look forward to Mondays.

Now back I go to the hooligans downstairs...  Our mornings run pretty smoothly and in an organized way generally.  During the afternoons, though, I assign them some "independent work," and that is usually met with mixed results.  Today is one of the "less productive" afternoons it appears.... but that's ok because it just means the evening hours will be "more productive."  Homeschooling All Day, Baby!

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