Saturday, September 24, 2011

A Whirlwind Of Learning--And Only One Month In!

It has been considerably longer than a few short days since my last post, and for this I humbly apologize.  We have been caught in a month-long tornado, a whirlwind of learning and it's been wonderful!  If I had realized homeschooling could be like this we would have done it this way forever ago.  But, when we last schooled at home, we were clueless.  We knew we didn't want our dearest loves in public school, and private school for four children would have majorly stretched our budget.  So we decided to make a go of it at the kitchen table.

Several factors hindered our success in those days.  First, the curriculum we chose was one being used by friends, it was self-taught and self-corrected, and super tedious.  And second, we didn't realize schooling at home did not have to look like schooling at school--public or private.  We have since wisened up and have untangled ourselves and our children from such constraining thought.  And these youngest two of our six are blossoming!  They are such problem solvers, and so intuitive!  Did any of their public school teachers ever even see this in them?

We have a schedule and all disciplines are represented.  We sit at the kitchen table most days.  So things aren't whimsical (grrr--a parent once accused me of whimsical teaching) or willy-nilly.  They are organized--and backed by sound research--but flexible.  We read and laugh together, have become Facebook friends with a favorite author, have created a loosely organized homeschooling group that (because of the Internet) extends across the country.  We have visited the Flight 93 Memorial in Shanksville, PA, and will be spending next Friday on a colonial farm.  We have gotten chummy (in the historical sense) with our nation's founding fathers and have created and presented Fourteenth Colony projects within the the constraints of the establishment of the first thirteen.  (That is, we have no space aliens or talking animals.)  We have felt the passion of the men who lived and breathed our country's liberty and, thanks to our local Tea Party (We, The People of Hampshire County), have celebrated Constitution Week with lesson plans and a great video.  Our daughter is raising a chicken in her room and Monday marks our launch into Science experiments you can eat.  We do math from a grade-appropriate textbook every day because we must.  Mommy is not a math girl, but I am learning to enjoy how numbers work.  Before long, we will be picking the brain of a math friend for some cool projects, maybe a few old copies of Middle School Math (a magazine) will be tossed our way!

Even our neighbors are excited by our homeschooling.  One has offered First Aid classes as she is a first responder.  Another, a local (and nationally recognized!) artisan will be be teaching us basketry.  Another will be leading us through a counted cross-stitch mini-project.  We have prepped food, made tie-dye tees and have studied chromatology.  And in mid-April we are headed to DC for a very high-tech science/engineering extravaganza.

I can't wait to see what next month brings!