Friday, August 2, 2013

Week 1 ~ Back to School

Well, we started back to school on Monday. We never completely stopped this year, but we are now officially recording all that we do for our 2013-2014 school year. We will be increasing our workload until we are doing our full load over the next week. I just wasn't organized enough to pull off any fanfare for the first day of school. We didn't have box day ~ since I haven't ordered our new loot yet. Also, we skipped getting any back-to-school photos (no fresh haircuts) or buying back-to-school shoes (because there are more pressing things to spend money on). Also, I just want to change the kids feelings about "school". I want them to think about life being a learning experience ... not school time being the only time when we learn. I think we lost sight of that fact with all of the medical/emotional issues among my special needs kids. In the last two or three years, there has been way too much of a push to get school time done. I spent a bit of time this summer reading my young adult Timothy's homeschool lesson plans from his childhood and found them refreshing. I also found reading the book, Weapons of Mass Instruction, to be a timely reminder and very encouraging. I would really like to get back to a more relaxed approach. That doesn't mean less education, but it does mean more hands on, taking advantage of opportunities, and taking into account what is important to the children versus relying on what I think they need to learn. To my surprise, no one seemed to even notice that there was a lack of fanfare. They are just excited about having learning time centered more around their specific desires.

Vacation Bible Camp ~ Goldilocks attended an all day Musical Bible Camp this week. It was a unique camp because some of the staff knew about her special issues and she had a few younger friends who were attending. One of the most amazing things about this camp was the staff/camper ratio. They had 57 teen and adult volunteers and 61 campers. Yes, you read that right. She was very motivated to behave herself since it gave her a break from us. She was really relieved to be out in the world without family around her. We really enjoyed a calm week of school without the chaos that often occurs when she has had enough of family/sibling relationships (she has sometimes had enough within an hour of being awake). She finds it so much easier to deal with superficial relationships that just require a bit of casual conversation. I had her do math every day before she went to camp and 20 minutes of reading in the evening. With all of the great activities they did at camp, she completed a full day of "school" each day. This is what they did:
  • many hours of choir practice
  • practiced her two spoken sentences to be performed in the play tonight
  • a science project each day
  • a craft each day
  • Bible stories and verse memorization
  • set design and set up

Tom Sawyer and Little Red Riding Hood's Learning Time ~ We got off to a great start this week. We started building a city out of food boxes for our study of architecture. We are specifically learning about skyscrapers and city planning during this week and next. There will be lots of photos of our city and the experiments we are doing with it next week. Here is the rest of what we did.
  • 10 chapters of The Life of Fred Edgewood
  • The Story of Us DVD episodes "Cities" and "Boom" (1895 -1930)
  • Reading every day
  • Teaching Textbooks three times
  • Read six chapters of Landmark book, The Wright Brothers
  • Built and flew a styrofoam plane
  • Lesson one of Explode the Code 4 1/2  (9 pages) Little Red Riding Hood
  • Five pages in a vocabulary building book ~ Tom Sawyer
  • Building our city
  • Physical therapy ~ Tom Sawyer
  • Craft time at the hospital ~ Little Red Riding Hood
  • Nature study of geese and ducks (we hope to study these same geese and ducks throughout the year)
  • Making Pizza from scratch and setting up a pizza parlor for the family

Here they are testing out their plane. It does more loops than flying straight. We hope Daddy can help us out with it this weekend (not that loops aren't really cool as long as it doesn't happen in a real plane). This Mom is very afraid of flying.

Homegrown Learners

Blessings, Dawn


  1. Wow, so much in your week. I understand about sometimes a tradition, like going back to school celebration, has to be put aside from time to time. I have that, too. I think you got a lot accomplished, especially considering you said you were not up to full speed. I love the airplane. My boys would like that.

  2. Wow!! what a wonderful week. We are starting next week but only math, spelling, and reading. Way too many summer chores to do on the farm yet and any time the veggies will coming in and I'll have to start canning.

    I love your hands on learning. I have been drifting away from that but hope to pull back and start doing more of that.

  3. Sounds like a fun week. That's quite a plane! I'm so glad that Goldilocks had a good week at camp. I understand (all too well!) about better behavior away from the family dynamics!


  4. Yay for more relaxed schooling, I'm all for that!! I just love your idea of building with boxes, I might have to nick that if we ever study architecture!
    I hope this year is all you want it to be!

  5. Dawn I love where you are going with the more life experience and changing the school day!

  6. I love the idea of building the city from food boxes. That's such a cool idea, we may have to use that some time. Sounds like a full week, even if it's not yet the full schedule.