Archive for the ‘homeschooling sense’ Category

How we homeschool: The Shopping Mall

04 Aug 2010

This morning, we had finished our planned lessons for the day. We’d done our Right Start Math (which Nathan LOVES to do each morning – even though it’s a 1st grade curriculum) and Abby had finished her handwriting, spelling and language. Nathan had completed writing the alphabet, his name and numbers from 1-10 and had done his Phonics lesson. The kids had done a great job and were now free for playtime.

After they had been playing for a while, Abby came in to the office where I was getting a little work done and she asked for some stickers. She and Nathan then proceeded to make price tags for numerous items in the house. A few minutes later she was back and was asking me how to spell “accessories” and then she asked me to print some play money. They were assembling a little shopping mall and had placed their items into different categories on the school table.

A bit later, I heard the back door open and shut and then I heard the water running for the garden hose so I got up to see what was going on. Abby was in the back yard cleaning out the toy shopping cart that had most recently been used as a wheelbarrow to carry dirt from one end of the yard to the other. She scrubbed it down with soap and water in the 100 degree heat (a task that had she been *asked* to do, she would have most assuredly balked at), then she rinsed and dried it, and brought it in.

This whole process took them nearly an hour.

She and Nathan then found their wallets, split up the paper money, and began shopping.

After they had chosen their items, they “checked out” – Abby was the checker and she added up the amounts on her abacus.

She then helped Nathan count out how much money he would need by using various denominations of 10′s, 5′s and 1′s. Money exchanged hands and all parties were happy. This sequence of events was repeated several times before nap.

(And while Nathan and Sarah were napping, Abby finished reading a biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder – this was  her 3rd chapter book in the past 7 days.)

So let’s see here….

After they had completed “school” for the day they did the following things:

Writing (making the stickers and the labels for the different categories of items)
Classifying (putting the items into categories)
Figuring totals with money in different denominations


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Why we homeschool… July 4th Edition

03 Jul 2010

We have spent the past month reading several books on the history of our country.

I love that we school all year ’round for lots of reasons. (Can I confess – One of them is the fact that there is no guilt when we end up going for a few days without having formal “school lessons”  because I know we’ll be doing school many days on Saturdays or Sundays or during the summer or winter breaks. And you know that we believe that each day provides opportunities for learning so why would I confine myself to a calendar of days?)

Another really fantastic reason for schooling all year is that we do school during times when other students are on vacation. I think that certain times of the year really lend themselves to great unit studies. For example, we do a lot of history during December. We do an advent activity each day and we spend an entire month learning about Christmas meanings and traditions. June and July are also really great times to harness a child’s curiosity of American History.

This month, we have spent the majority of our school time (minus math and science) doing activities and reading books about The Declaration of Independence, The Revolutionary War, and The Constitution.

Abby has shown much interest in the topic and has devoured many books in her silent reading time – Her favorite of which was the Magic Tree House book “Revolutionary War on Wednesday.”

Her imaginary play time has long involved George and Martha Washington or fighting the British Redcoats. I am excited about celebrating the 4th of July tomorrow with her. It will have a deeper meaning and I hope that we are building a foundation for her that will rest upon the foundational truths for the beginnings of this nation that we have the honor of living in.

Another reason that we homeschool is because I want to make sure that I teach my child these things because as you can see in the video clip below – the public at large has not been taught these things in a way that they were able to retain!!

A little while ago when I saw this clip from Jay Leno asking American citizens (one of whom was a COLLEGE PROFESSOR!) about the history us the U.S., I called Abby over to the computer and had her listen to all of the questions. I’m happy to announce, she scored a perfect 100%! (Which is more than I can say for these folks in the video. If it weren’t so horribly sad and shameful, it would be hilarious.)

Happy 4th of July!

May it be filled with a true appreciation of our freedom and of the uniqueness of this great nation!

(Click the image below to read the Declaration for yourself!)

This part always gives me chills:

We, therefore, the representatives of the United States of America, in General Congress, assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, in the name, and by the authority of the good people of these colonies, solemnly publish and declare, that these united colonies are, and of right ought to be free and independent states; that they are absolved from all allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political connection between them and the state of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as free and independent states, they have full power to levy war, conclude peace, contract alliances, establish commerce, and to do all other acts and things which independent states may of right do. And for the support of this declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of Divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.

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Homeschoolers don’t get snow days!

07 Jan 2010

It’s kinda funny.

I homeschool my children. My husband is a teacher. We get excited about the possibility of a snow day because it means Daddy will get to stay home and play with us, not because we will get out of school.

Today around our city there were MANY scenes just like this one:

All over town, there were kids playing outside in the middle of the road in the middle of the day enjoying the thrill of being pulled down the street on a sled, throwing snowballs and just being “kids.”

But here’s the really awesome thing: These kids can *often* be found outside in the road in the middle of the day; the only thing out of the ordinary in this picture is the snow. Usually they can be found riding scooters, making up some new game, enjoying time with their siblings and neighborhood kids of various ages. They are frequently found enjoying the freedom and beauty of learning just by being, and spending time with their friends and family.

The funny thing about snow days for homeschoolers: We don’t have to have school canceled to enjoy days like this. We enjoy days like this every single day. We just change the schedule a bit and incorporate a lesson on weather. :)

You see, my schooling philosophy goes something like this: “All of life is school”. For us, school is not a place that you “go” to. School is not something that you “do” at designated times. Most days, school happens just by virtue of breathing. (Now don’t get me wrong; We do school. We do a LOT of school. We just don’t always call it “school.” We sit down sometimes and do worksheets, we do science experiments, we read lists of words, we read history, we listen to music, we do art projects with little scissors, glue sticks and construction paper.)


Every morning, Abby comes in our room and tells us what time it is. She reads the clock on the wall and tells us pretty much to the minute what time it is. That’s school. (Math!)

Some days, she helps her daddy make pancakes. She reads the directions on the box of pancake mix and she measures the water in a measuring cup. She observes the liquid batter turn in to a solid pancake. That’s school. (Science!)

Each day, she sits at her desk (or at the kitchen table, or on her bed with a lap desk, or at the bottom of the stairs) and writes out a Bible verse. That’s hiding God’s word in her heart. And oh yeah, that’s school. (Handwriting!)

Some days she goes and plays with our neighbors (who also homeschool) and plays “Little House on the Prairie” or “Mother and Daughter” or any number of imaginary games. They role play relationships (mother and child, father and mother), important life events (having a baby!), household duties (setting the table, cooking dinner), dealing with difficult circumstances (“It’s snowing and we have to get to town to buy grain or we will starve!”) That’s school. (Social studies, people!)

Many times I find her drawing and writing stories for her friends. Not only is she cultivating personal relationships, she’s spelling and writing. That’s school! (Language Arts!)

Today we had some friends over. They played outside in the snow and then they came in and “played school”. (They practiced the ABC’s on the chalkboard in the hallway.) Then later, we played with some more friends. After playing in the snow some more, they went inside and made paper snowflakes and drank hot chocolate. (By the way: Making paper snowflakes? ART TIME!)

For dinner, we had friends over to share a meal. Abby helped cook and set the table and helped clean our home to make it lovely for our guests. That’s school! (Home Ec!)

At bedtime, Abby and I read about the solar system. Tonight’s chapter was about the earth and how it’s orbit around the sun produces the seasons. I had just boxed up the Christmas ornaments and one of them was a lovely gift from one of Bruce’s students – a miniature globe. We got it out and we put a lamp in the middle of the floor and then walked around the lamp with the globe and observed at what point it would be summer, winter, spring and fall. We saw that as it rotates, half of it was dark and half of it had light from the “sun” shining on it, thereby demonstrating day and night. We summed it up by reading Genesis 1:14 – 19:

“And God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark seasons and days and years, and let them be lights in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. God set them in the expanse of the sky to give light on the earth, to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.”

So today, we skipped the planned Math lesson. (Although we *did* have to figure out how many plates we would need to accommodate our company and how many extra chairs we would have to get to make room at our table.) And though we did our science lesson at bedtime instead of during “schooltime”, we enjoyed the freedom that schooling this way affords.

It just makes sense.

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Homeschool Holidays

29 Dec 2009

I know I’ve mentioned a time or two that we try to do school as opportunities arise. This means that even during Holidays, we don’t stop looking for opportunities to teach and learn. These few weeks have been no different. We’ve spent time playing restaurant (during which Abby writes out a menu, comes up with a theme song for the restaurant and seats us all at the table while serving dinner.)

She also was quick to make this “warning” sign to put in the kitchen after she had spilled something on the floor:

She also spends time reading to herself, her dolls, her friends and her siblings. (Sometimes, she reads to them while they’re on the potty.)

Lately, she was started helping to put them down for nap time!!

One of Abby’s Christmas presents was a Pocahontas doll. (I found it used on eBay!) She wanted to the book to go along with it but I opted out of the Disney version and found a great biography instead because I wanted to stay as close to the real story as possible. This study of Pocahontas dovetailed nicely on to our studies in November about the Pilgrims. (In fact, we still have not left that behind! On Christmas day we discussed the fact that The Pilgrims started building houses on December 25th. This led to a discussion about Puritanism and the origins of Christmas.)

We’ve continued our use of Right Start Math and I LOVE LOVE LOVE it. (I know I have said in the past that I do not use curriculum yet but the workbook was loaned to me by a friend and it made SO much sense to me! We do not do it formally every day but rather do short little lessons using the concepts in the workbook. I think it is SO AWESOME!) Tonight at bedtime (before we read our chapters of Pocahontas) we did a few activities using the tally sticks and the abacus. She thought we were playing a game and kept begging to do “just a few more!”

Yesterday, Bruce took all the kids to the field house at CPA and while he worked out, Abby and Nathan played school. She sat at the dry erase board and wrote out letters of the alphabet and he would name them and say what sound they made. Then she spelled some words and helped him sound them out.

She’s also been SUPER EXCITED to be able to send and receive e-mail using KIDOZ. (That’s the kid-friendly web browser that I told you about HERE.) Today she spent an hour composing e-mails to friends and family. She sounded out words, practiced typing skills, got some introduction to the use of punctuation, and had a great time doing so! She never once thought that she was doing “school.”

But she was. :)

(We’ve also watched the School House Rock DVD in the van quite a bit this month. That counts as school, too, you know!)

I’m really, REALLY enjoying doing school this way (and I think that she is, too!!)

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How We Homeschool

13 Nov 2009

My friend Rowena has inspired me with her “how we homeschool” posts and I have been pondering just how I would explain to you all how WE homeschool.

As I have mentioned a few times, we are not currently using a boxed curriculum for any subject. We do math, writing, reading and science in *some* form each day although I can’t tell you tonight what we will be doing in the morning. (And yes, I know tomorrow is Saturday – we don’t really differentiate between school days and weekends around here.)

Over the last few days, here’s what “schoolwork” at the Clark Academy of Excellence has looked like:

We have been focusing on Botany in our science lessons. I read to Abby a little bit each day from THIS BOOK and we then apply the knowledge we gain from the book to items we find on our nature walks and in time spent in our own back yard.

Speaking of nature walks – we’ve been taking tons of them lately in this unseasonably warm (if this is “global warming”, I like it!) weather. On our adventures we have found acorns that have started germinating, held humongous pine cones (and recalled that they were gymnosperms and not angiosperms) touched molted snake skins, and found spores on fern fronds. We’ve stopped at bird blinds and identified the birds as they swooped down to eat the seeds we left for “bait”.

Our next project? To tap the pine tree in the back yard that the kids love to climb.


For Math we have been doing lots of money games. Abby had a friend over the other night and we played with our money dice and a pile of coins. The girls rolled 2 die, calculated the total and then had to pick up that amount of coins from the pile. Halfway through the game, our guest said, “Wait a minute… WE’RE DOING MATH, AREN’T WE?!?!

On the aforementioned nature walks, we’ve gone to a nearby parks that have required short jaunts down the interstate. Before we get started, we make note of the number of our exit and then look at our map and directions to get the exit number of our destination. Abby then calculates how many miles between exits x and y. As we’re driving, she reads the mile markers (and all the road signs along the way) and does simple math as we get closer to our destination. (“We had to go 10 miles but now we’re one mile closer so now we only have to go 9 more miles.”)

We’ve been playing with dominoes a lot. Abby uses them to write equations and then figure the answer. (And did you see the “I love my Mommy” doodle that she wrote on her paper?)

She also does some worksheet type drills. We usually sit outside while the other two kids are taking their naps and Abby sits at the picnic table with a snack (and whatever doll she has been playing with that day). She does her math problems while intermittently stopping to notice a bird flying overhead or one perched in the tree that is shading her from the afternoon sun.

We have a few workbooks that we use for math but we don’t do them on a regular basis. The other day when we had spent much of our day in our non-formal method of schooling (we had spent practically all day outside exploring at the park and then reading in the afternoon), Abby picked up a workbook that I had been thumbing through the night before. While I was cooking dinner, she blew through half of it (that’s 4 months of seat-work!) in about 45 minutes.

We still use our Bible Verse Worksheets for handwriting practice although lately Abby has been doing so much writing on her own.

She’s constantly carrying around a little journal or notebook and drawing pictures in it and writing notes to family and friends. I also found her some “Disney Princess” workbooks at Dollar General and lately she has been writing in them while I read to her from the Botany book or from the multitude of Mayflower / Pilgrim books we’ve been reading this month.

Speaking of which…..

READING! (History!)
I did not anticipate the amazing amount of fun and joy that I would get from reading to my children. Not only am I getting to spend quality, special time with them, I am (re?)-learning SO much!

Our read aloud time has become the highlight of school for both of us. I frequently read to her (and Nathan) while they’re high up on one of the sturdy branches of the backyard pine. I camp out in a chair at the base of the tree and read while they lean over and rest their heads on their arms, look down and listen. These are precious times – times in which I can just about forget the madness going on in the world around me, forget the endless to do list and the recounting of all the things that I’ve done wrong as a mama that day. We’ve read countless books about the Pilgrims this month and I have been so very inspired! Imaginations have been sparked and much of the imaginary play around here lately involves sinking ships (Abby is quick to tell you the facts about the Speedwell and the Mayflower), Indians helping to plant corn, and pretend names like “Patience” and “Oceanus“.

Abby also does lots of reading as well – each day she reads to me from a book at bedtime and she does lots of other reading on her own.

As you can see, we don’t plan out the days – we learn as opportunities arise. It’s a beautiful, wonderful thing and I am so glad I have the privilege of being not only “mama” but “teacher” as well.

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Sneaky Schooling

28 Oct 2009

Abby thinks that she got away with not doing school today.


Today was a busy day. We spent time with my Aunt Helen this morning visiting the library for story and craft time, home for lunch and laundry, and then some grocery shopping. Later we loaned out our driveway to host an End Of Season CSA party in the afternoon.

The neighborhood kids played dress up, played with the farm kittens and filled up on hot apple cider, popcorn, good-for-you organic apples and a few bad-for-you M&Ms.

By the time we wrapped up the festivities, it was bathtime and nary a lesson had been done. Abby snickered and said, “Mama – I didn’t do any school today!”

That’s silly, of course, because around here we believe that “all of life is learning” so just by virtue of “being”, we did do school today. (On the days that we don’t do any “formal” learning, I firmly believe that we are still learning.) Today, however, I did manage to get in math, reading, writing, history and spelling before she turned out the light.

After I put Sarah down for bed, I came out in to the living room and dumped all of the coins from our change bucket onto the floor. This of course sparked interest from both Abby and Nathan. I didn’t give any direction at first and just waited to see what they would do. They had been watching an educational DVD while I was putting Sarah down – it was about counting money (and it is fabulous, by the way!) so I wanted to see what they would do with the change.

With no instructions from me, Abby started grouping the coins into similar groups – quarters, nickels, and dimes. Nathan collected all of the pennies. I asked Abby to put them into groups of $1.00. I had Nathan put pennies into rows of 10. After we got everything grouped, we counted coins and Abby sounded out the words “Six dollars and eight cents” and wrote them on a piece of paper. Then we discussed what we could buy with six dollars and eight cents. A couple of happy meals, several packages of bubble gum, or maybe a Barbie doll if it were on sale.

(This all occurred , by the way, with Nathan in his Knight in Shining Armour Costume – just so that you can have the full visual.)

After they brushed their teeth, we went into Abby’s room. Nathan was begging to play a game before bedtime so I brought in a set of money dice.

Nathan rolled one at a time to Abby and she would pick it up and read it. If it had the words “ten cents” on it, she would have to tell me what coin that was and who was on that coin. They played that for a few minutes and then it was time to put Nathan to bed.

While Nathan and I were in his room reading Curious George, I asked Abby to please try to read to herself a few chapters in a new book she got for her birthday.

When I came back into her room after finishing with Nathan, she informed me that she had read the entire book.

I handed her her lap pad chalkboard and said, “Hey! Let’s play a game! I’ll ask you questions from the book and you try to sound out the answers on your chalkboard!” She thought this was great fun.

After she filled up the lap pad with words, we talked about which ones were nouns. (We’re working through “First Language Lessons” and nouns have been our focus this week.)

Then we read a few chapters of “Stories Of The Pilgrims” before turning out the lights. (Oh good gracious, how I am LOVING that book!!!)

Before I tucked her in and kissed her goodnight, we had our nightly dose of theology.

(And she thinks she didn’t do school today. Ha!)

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Report from the sick house:

Since last Friday night, every member of this household has had a fever, sore throat and hacking cough at some point or another. Everyone that is, except me. I have one heckuva headache, though. It’s rough taking care of four sick people! I almost wish my immune system would have caved!!!

The plus side of this whole thing? Bruce was home with us all week, which was nice, even though he felt horrible off and on all week. Mom risked her health one night and brought us dinner. The kids, being kids, would feel bad and then miraculously feel good and start running around like nothing was ever wrong. Then, predictably, we’d find them passed out asleep somewhere or asking to be held (or asking for a popsicle.)

Sarah got so hot one night that when I put her in bed with me to comfort her, I started sweating because she was laying on top of me and was so hot to the touch.

I got to thinking today that if Abby had been in school, she would have missed nearly a whole week but since we do school at home, we didn’t miss a single day!

We spent lots of time talking about germs and how they are transmitted and how the body fights disease (THIS VIDEO SERIES on youtube is great!) She spent her hours reading to sick siblings, flying a kite (and afterward learning about wind flow, lift, and aerodynamics as she asked questions about how a kite flies and then we had a review of Benjamin Franklin’s famous kite flying experiment). She caught and learned about katydids , and she changed out our perpetual wall calendar from September to October and calculated how many days until her birthday.

She and Nathan also spent some time watching our new Rock-N-Learn DVDs and practiced counting money and telling time. (Have I told you that her most treasured possession at the moment is a Sacagawea dollar coin?)

It’s been a long crazy week. I’m thankful that the weather has been nice. The windows have been open all week and have hopefully blown the germs far far away!

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Sibling Rivalry?

18 Sep 2009

Let me tell you a bit about my sister and I. We’re wonderful friends, now. Before we got married and had kids? Not so much. I was a typical first-born-bossy-little-pain-in-the-rear sister (does that about sum it up, Jen? I’m sure you could add some more choice adjectives to that description) and I am sad for the fact that we were not close growing up.

My brother and I were born 7 years apart. By the time he was 5, I was out and about and busy with my own life (cheerleading, school activities, boyfriends, even!) and I hardly remember interacting with him much as a child. (Except for that one time that we dressed him up like a clown. Sorry ’bout that, Matt. And lucky for you – I can’t find that picture anywhere.)

Now I’m not making excuses here; I am responsible for my actions and how those actions affect my relationships. Even though I spent years in school earning a degree that often encourages people to blame everyone but themselves for their problems, I do not adhere to that line of thinking. But let me do some theorizing and what iff’ing, just for the sake of my argument.

For the first 8 years of our school lives, my sister and I attended “2-year” schools. We were never in the same school building ever until I was in the 11th grade. For many of those years we rode different buses to different buildings, had two totally separate groups of friends, and our peer groups absolutely positively superseded our relationship with each other and with our family before I even reached middle school.

But what if???

What if we had been with each other for the better parts of our days? Would we have had arguments and would I have probably still been mean and bossy and a pain in the rear? I’m sure. But what if we had been together more often, had not been separated by age and school building and schedule? Would we have had a stronger relationship than we did? I can not help but guess that the answer would be yes.

What about my brother?

What if at 8 years old, instead of leaving and going and standing at a bus stop in the dark at 6:30 am, I was practicing my reading skills with him as my audience? What if I had been responsible for helping him to learn to dress himself and tie his shoes or been around more to help him brush those two adorable teeth?

Might I have learned to be more compassionate and maybe even been a bit nicer to my siblings if I had been with them more often? What if our time together had not consisted primarily of busy times that involved rushing to school or chaotic bedtime routines or weekends??

We can’t go back, so who knows, but I can’t help but speculate that a different structure to our time might have made a difference in our relationship.

I do feel compelled to stop here for a moment and interject this important fact: This post is not about me looking back and blaming my parents for doing anything other than what they did when we were growing up. THEY DID WHAT THEY FELT WAS RIGHT AND BEST (just as I’m sure you do, regardless of whether you’re homeschooling or not) AND THEY MADE SACRIFICES AND HARD DECISIONS FOR OUR BENEFIT AND FOR THAT I AM ETERNALLY GRATEFUL. Despite a lot of struggle that many families go through, we were a pretty close knit bunch. Neighborhood kids loved to hang out at our house and eat dinner around our table. My parents loved us and showed us that love in innumerable and tangible ways at every single turn that life’s path took us. I am not looking back and pining for things that might have been. I am simply wondering…

What if having my kids at home is a more excellent way? What if snuggling in bed each morning instead of piling in the van to sit in a carpool lane is better for fostering a relationship between my children? What if having my children learn from one another and be together MOST of the time is indeed a better way to foster loving and respectful relationships? What if sitting under a table feeding your sister yogurt and laughing when it dribbles down her face is a memory that gets ingrained in your brain and one that you would have missed if you were in separate classrooms with different circles of friends and different social and emotional pressures?

What if, if at 8:00 at night we were playing outside and having a blast washing the dinner dishes in a tin bucket? What if we had lingered outside for another hour and talked about the pioneers traveling West to start a new life? What if we were enjoying each other’s company and mom wasn’t stressing the hour because we had to be up to go to school? Is it possible that this could actually be a better way for families to exist?

Is it possible that this could be a better way to encourage a strong bond between my children?

I’m going to have to say yes; yes I believe that homeschooling is an excellent way to foster those bonds. In fact, I’m betting on it, hoping and praying for it every single day. I’m staking my hopes for my children’s future relationships on it and we’re jumping in with both feet.

And so, that’s my reason for today why homeschooling makes sense.

The *primary* reason.

14 Sep 2009

I’ve been thinking for a while that I need to start a category of posts on “Why Homeschooling Makes Sense” and I’m finally getting on the ball with that. (With some inspiration from my last post.)

There are lots of reasons why we have chosen to take this path and why this “makes sense” to us. The reasons are educational, spiritual, and cultural in nature and do not necessarily have a degree of importance on a continuum — they’re all great reasons.

There is one thing, however, that we do feel is at the top of the list. After this one thing, everything else kind of falls where it may. What is that reason? We feel that we have been called to homeschool. (I know that not all families feel led to homeschool and I respect that, of course.) For us, however, we feel that if we did not pursue this, we would be in direct violation of something that God has placed on our hearts and commanded us to do.

Deuteronomy 11:18-21

“Fix my words in your hearts and minds; tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads. Teach them to your children, talking about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up. Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates, so that your days and the days of your children may be many in the land that the LORD swore to give your forefathers, as many as the days that the heavens are above the earth.”

I don’t just want the waking up and lying down moments. (You know, the rushing-out-the-door-in-the-morning and the homework-filled-evenings-before-bedtime-ones.) I want the sitting at home and walking along the way moments that come in between and I would give up MOST of those if I sent them to school.


I’m selfish like that. :)

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Chasing Rabbits and Frogs

I don’t guess I’ve ever mentioned that we’re homeschooling and that I think it’s an awesome thing to do, have I? < wink >

Homeschooling makes sense. I like things that make sense. Let me tell you how this made sense this week.

Abby and I were in her room talking about money. We had coins out and we were identifying them, regrouping them into dollars (20 nickels, 4 quarters, 10 dimes, 100 pennies), writing their names and values, using them to count by 5′s and 10′s, etc. That was the “planned” lesson I had for her that day. After about 30 minutes, we were pretty much through with the prescribed activities when the “rabbit chasing” began.

Among the nickels, we found this:

A Canadian Nickel.

Abby was SO excited because, as you can see, there is a picture of a QUEEN on there!

From there, our money discussion took the most amazingly wonderful turns.

From the discovery of that one nickel, here are all the other things that we did:

1. She found Canada on a map.
2. She observed that it is another country but it’s not separated from the U.S. by water. How do we know where the US ends and Canada starts?
3. What’s a border? That little red line on the map? Can people see the line? What are the other borders of the U.S.? We discussed borders, border patrols, and passports.
(Mama, do you have a passport? Where have you been that you needed one? Looked up the Bahamas and Italy on the globe.)
4. Found my Italian coins from my trip to Italy.
5. What do other Canadian coins look like? What about the Italian ones?
6. Abby wanted to know who was on that coin? A Princess? A queen?
7. Why is the Queen of England on Canada’s money?
8. We used to be under British Rule, right? There’s no King or Queen on our money, right?
9. OK. So now we’re a free country. (sorta.. grrrrrrr… that’s a rabbit I will not chase for the sake of this post :) ) What happened AFTER the American Revolution? (We spent a while snuggled in her bed watching Schoolhouse Rock videos and learning all kinds of fun things).
10. We ended up back on money and found this fun video about American money:

Now, if she would have been in a classroom, her money lesson probably would have gone something like this: Teacher gives a great interactive lesson on money, kids count coins and then do a worksheet to reinforce what they learned. Abby finishes hers in a hurry, starts fidgeting in her seat, disrupts other students who are not finished yet and ends up getting in trouble.

This example of child-led learning is my reason for the day why I think this homeschooling thing makes sense.

Oh! And after we spent all that time chasing proverbial rabbits after a math lesson, we spent the evening catching a frog and doing a science lesson before bedtime:

We named her Francine The Frog. (Alliteration!)

I. Love. This. Gig.