Thursday, October 14, 2010

Oh yeah....we were going to blog this, weren't we?

Heh it's been a month between blog posts. Part of that is because we spend all day creating content for the blog, but I am usually too tired at the end of the day to string coherent sentences together and post the stuff. Perhaps tomorrow I will deliver a backlog of work for you to enjoy.

BUT NOW, I must give you all a very important update. We have canned the curriculum. Mostly. Personally, I wish someone had used this curriculum on me in grade school, because it would have been right up my alley--read a book, think about the book, write about the book until your hand falls off. However, we ran into some complications with the practical application of the aforementioned curriculum.

1) Gwen is not me. Neither is Addie, for that matter. So me choosing a curriculum that would suit me to a proverbial "T" didn't work so well for my children who are, as we have noted, "not me."

2) Using a writing-intensive curriculum to teach two children completely different topics at the same time (while fielding drink, snack, and other sundry requests from two smaller children) is insane. It quickly became a "read this, write this" tag-team* whirlwind, in which my bored, frustrated children sat staring at their newest worksheet while their bored, frazzled mom buzzed between them and the kitchen and their siblings, continuously repeating "Focus! Write your sentences!" Not the happy homeschooling idyll I had imagined.

3) Our house was a pit. We were still living out of boxes I didn't have time to unpack, the girls' rooms were knee deep in dirty laundry and books, and I was on a fast track to mommy meltdown. Something had to be done.

SO, we took a mental health week. Our only lesson for the week was "How to keep my room clean." And I'm happy to say that both kid rooms have been tidy for nearly two weeks. (Please note, this should count for one of my required miracles once I'm a candidate for beatification.)

And we took stock. Why are we homeschooling? What do we want that to look like? Gwen has been begging to get into the electricity kit that came with our curriculum, and I kept saying "no, we have to wait until we get to that unit." Huhh? I call the shots here, why am I allowing myself to be bossed around by a curriculum that I own? So this week we busted out the electricity kit. We've also started to learn French. And read a lot about Benjamin Franklin (he did a fair amount of experimenting with electricity--in fact, he invented the lighting rod). And learning the names of the states. That sort of thing. But we're doing it all together, even Pippin hops in sometimes. And we're taking it at our own pace. And it seems to be working. Today the gals were testing different things around the house to see if they were conductors--I wish I could have taken pictures of the two of them, bent over the little battery/tin-foil/tiny bulb circuit we'd built, eager to see whether the next item would conduct electricity. This is what it is all about, man. I think we just might make this thing work.

*Ever try to tag-team with yourself? It kind of sucks. Neither of you get to rest.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for blogging this. Some of the books out there on homeschooling are good, but a bit too idealistic and unrealistic sometimes. It is nice to hear how things are going for a real person with real kids - especially ones that are school aged, since that is where we will be shortly.

    Have you ever looked through the book "The Well Trained Mind"? I got it from the library a couple of months ago. We are pretty eclectic right now (following Right Start pretty closely for math (with him loving it), loosely following Hooked on Phonics for reading, and an unschooling approach for science that is working quite well). However, when he is officially schooled aged (and if stick with homeschooling), I think it would be fun to try following the Well Trained Mind’s idea of doing history in sequential order for four years and then repeating the four years in a more indepth and advanced way. They also have a plan for science that follows a similar four year sequence that matches the kind of science the people you are studying in history studied themselves (for example doing earth science and basic astronomy the same year you are studying the early Renaissance period). They also recommend if you have multiple children you have them all study the same history and science each year so you don’t go crazy doing different stuff and everyone can enjoy together. Like you said, our kids aren’t us so they won’t necessarily take well to what we think would have been best for us, but I still think it would be cool and might try it. However, I would probably keep doing some unschooling as well following any other interests he gets into…

    Good luck and keep posting updates on how it is going.