A few posts ago, I said we would be spending the month of September on Leonardo da Vinci. That is true but a little deceiving. I gave the impression that we would spread out our studies over the entire month. Although we will be doing a little bit of Leonardo throughout the month, most of our goals will be completed by the end of this Saturday. Furthermore, we are technically on a school break this week and next.
So why are we doing so much school during a school break? For one thing, I think that 180 days of learning is ridiculous. We learn every single day that we are alive. However, the government school system says we must educate our children for only 18o days. So, I record 180 days.
Secondly, taking a school break takes the pressure off of me to feel like I need to teach all of the subjects we do each day. Seven subjects a day can be hard on the kids and myself if it is non-stop with our really busy schedule. So, I schedule in recorded school breaks when I know life will be very busy. But, instead of dropping everything, I concentrate on one or two subjects. I then record them on a sheet to be filled into my government recorded days at a later time. In other words, when life throws me curve balls (which it does a lot), I can go back to my list and pull some of my educational lessons and fill in the blanks. An example would be...someone is throwing around a bad attitude, I have a cold, and three doctor appointments that day. We are scheduled to homeschool, but how much good stuff is really going to happen? So I do the basics and then go back and pull from my list an art class and a science class or whatever I need and fill in the blanks. Seven subjects are complete; the kids are happy they were not pushed too hard; and I am happy that I have another good recorded day, despite the chaos. If I have to tell the government that I only homeschooled for 180 days (preferably with a calendar similar to the school systems), then I might as well record the very best days while I am at it, right?! Our family is just really into learning. We take Sunday afternoon drives to interesting places like a fish hatchery, walking a labyrinth, or seeing an art show, or the kids might do a service project. Since most of our fun activities are also educational, they can be put onto the list to fill in some place falling short on a government recorded day. For instance, last Sunday we visited a nearby state park to hike through an educational forest with "talking trees". The trees talked about botany and what each kind is used for in industrial purposes. This will easily fill in as a science project some day.
This is not to say that Leonardo da Vinci will be showing up in my school records for months to come. I will plan on recording all of these current studies by the first week of October. While we are on vacation in Washington, D.C., I will be recording everything educational that we do there as well. The National Gallery of Art has a lovely DaVinci that I have enjoyed since childhood when I grew up in the area. We have studied this painting this month and now the kids will be able to appreciate it in person. Why shouldn't I record awesome field trips like riding on the C & O Canal or touring the Building Museum just because they do not take place on our government recorded days? That would be simply ridiculous...
Anyway, in answer to some who have asked how I do what I do, this is a peek into how.