Friday, April 26, 2019

The Week of Wild Weather and Thoughts on Education

It has been a week of crazy weather around here. Last Friday we got 5.5 inches of rain in less than a day. Our rivers overflowed their banks and our basement flooded. We found where the rain was coming in and stood there with a wet vac for hours!

We did not drive through this water like some cars did. We turned around. You can see that the water over the road is connected with the river. If one of those cars had stalled, it could easily have been sucked out into the river. As it turned out, someone did have to be rescued along this road later in the day. It was a good opportunity to reinforce with the kids the importance of turning around instead of drowning, not following the crowd and what happens to car engines in water.

By Easter the sun came back out and the weather got nicer and nicer as the week went on. The guys chopped down a bush at the end of our driveway that was making it hard to see oncoming cars. They did a great job. We just have to get the stump out now. It is so good for young people to get out and do a bit of hard work!

Now it is Friday again, and temps have been getting colder as each hour passes. We are supposed to get sustained 45 miles an hour wind this evening.

This is the time of year to reflect on what educationally worked the best this year. I have really found that the way information is delivered to the student is very important. However, I have noticed in recent years that the best delivery system for my kids tends to be younger than their grade levels. For example, they both learn loads from the Who Was Series and more advanced picture books. Also, they don't resist learning that way so they tend to learn more and at a faster rate if the information is easily obtained. Even when I pick out books that are more "grade level appropriate", such as The Hobbit or Beowulf, I take great care to find books with large or easy to read print, with larger book size to easily curl up with and with lovely illustrations whenever possible. These editions tend to cost more, but that is what works best for my kids. 

I also went through a phase of feeling worried or doubtful that I should push the "harder material" because they were high school students. Never mind that one was incredibly busy launching her life and the other had special needs, so giving them a complete and well-rounded education was going to require some adaptations and short cuts. I felt like I really needed to force them to learn all the hard stuff whether they would ever need it or not. This year, I have embraced more and more what I knew in my heart to be true. My kids are smart, but they aren't natural born academics and don't enjoy working hard in the academic world. Furthermore, at this time neither is interested in a career that requires more than a two year degree from a community college. Now, they do work hard in many aspects of their lives, but they struggle with subjects that are uninteresting to them. Unfortunately, most subjects that are loaded with details do not interest them. They really just want to know the basics of most subjects and delve further on their own into the subjects that really catch their interest. If the subjects are delivered with the most important information and interesting facts rather than excessive and random details, they learn much better. While I know in my heart that this is true, I was so relieved to read about James Holzhauer from the television show, Jeopardy, this week. His theory is sure working for him and it works for my crew, too. 

He said, “My big secret for studying subjects I find uninteresting is to check out the children’s section of the library. The books there are filled with pictures and fun facts, and they’re a great way to learn the nuts and bolts of any subject.”  ~ Naperville Sun

So I am busy purchasing books for next year and searching my shelves for those perfect books. I am not worried at all if the workbook says it is for 6th to 8th grade or if the company says that this book is for a lower grade (which happens a lot since Dean is using classical materials a great deal next year). I am simply concerned with giving them living books, high quality materials and igniting the spark of learning and joy in them. "Living books are usually written by one person who has a passion for the subject and writes in conversational or narrative style. The books pull you into the subject and involve your emotions, so it’s easy to remember the events and facts. Living books make the subject 'come alive.'" ~ Simply Charlotte

Here is a sneak peek of what has come in so far. 

Homeschool Coffee Break Blessings, Dawn


  1. Sorry about the flooding! We had a lot of rain here too, with many of our roads closed. Very interesting quote from James Holzhauer, and I think the children's section is a great idea for getting a quick education in a subject that's not of particular interest. I'll have to remember that one! Looking back, I realize that I often chose books that were below reading level when we studied history and geography - kept my kids' interest and delivered the most important information quickly. Thanks for linking up!

  2. That is a lot of rain to get all at once! Praying you get things dried up in the basement and that the weather evens out for you guys.
    YES, yes, yes to the thoughts on education. We have to know our kids and what works for them. And any book worth reading as a child should also be worth reading as an adult - including picture books! There are some great ones on Joseph's History of Science list for next year that I'm hoping to snag at the library. And there are kids who like the more academic books too, which is also great. God created all kinds of people. How boring it would be if we were all exactly the same!

  3. Bummer about the flooding and clean up work that went with it! I'm glad you are all safe and well! I loved what you had to say about education. It is spot on, and I'm practically drooling over your awesome curriculum deliveries so far. :)

    I've got academically minded kids and not-academically minded kids, and they make for a lot of different kinds of beauty. I'm glad you're listening to the voice of wisdom within. It took me a while to hear it, and I'm still working on hearing and responding to it.

  4. Amazing weather! Keep on keeping safe. I LOVED what you wrote about curriculum, especially for high schoolers, it is so true! Thank you for reminding me I'm not alone in taking a different approach in my homeschooling!

  5. I so agree with your educational philosophy! Nice book choices!

  6. Rain is not something we look forward to - our basement tends to get water, too. I love the idea regarding books.