Monday, February 23, 2009

I wrote this blog for a homeschooling site I am on, and decided to post it here, too. Thanks to Deb who encouraged me to do so! This was in response to a question about a "typical" day for homeschoolers, and she is SO right that there is no one "right way" to homeschool. I know I tease people about being overly organized, but I hope they know that I truly believe we all need to do what works best for our families. Just because I am Organizationally Challenged does not mean I couldn't use a little more of it in my life. And just because someone else is super-organized doesn't mean they can't "loosen up" a little sometimes.

Of course we Lifeschoolers truly have few "typical" days, but we do have a rhythm to our lives with which we are very comfortable. Let me give an example. Last week, K and I had two very different days during which we had very different activities, but phenomenal learning still took place........

One day, K got up around 9, and was gung-ho about the books. She wanted to "do school". We sat at our old farm table in the "school room" (one end of our den, which SO does not look like a school room!) for almost 3 hours. She did math worksheets, language arts pages, read several stories from a reader I picked up at a thrift store, did two chapters in a Science book... I can't even remember everything she did. But she was happy and chatty and asking questions.... It was a good day......

The very next day, she got up around 9 again, and didn't want anything to do with any of it. She was a grumpy girl and said I "made" her sit too long the day before, and that we are Lifeschoolers and I knew that we "didn't have to sit and fill out pages to be learning"............ I had to leave the room for a minute to wipe the big grin off my face after that statement! So (after I had sufficiently recovered) I told her that we didn't have to open a book if she didn't want to. Now I may hear a collective gasp at this point, but let me finish!

That day, she read 2 chapters from one of her books (those of you who know me know how she has struggled with reading, so that is a HUGE victory for us!!), then she spent at least an hour with her paints and crayons and colored pencils. When she was finished, she showed me a beautiful card she had made for our uncle who is sick.......... Then she wanted to make brownies, so we did that, and she did almost everything all by herself................. She watched a show on APT, then came and began discussing Greek mythology with me, asking questions and telling me about the show she'd watched. We got on the Internet and looked up some things, read a little about it............. After this, she made our lunch (sandwiches and chips) and set the table. (Not as enthusiastic about doing the dishes... hmmm... guess we need to work on that! :-)............ A little while later, I went in her room to put away some laundry, and she had pulled all her puzzles off the shelf and was busy putting them back together. She had mixed up all the pieces to "make it more fun"! ............ Later, she used her computer that her brother built for her, and played some games and did some writing............... Then later still she built an awesome structure with her zillions of building blocks. The most fun part there?? Knocking it down, of course!!

So - completely by herself and with absolutely no directions from me, she covered: Language Arts, science (chemistry), Math (spatial relationships and computer game), Reading, Art, Composition, History, Domestic Skills, Reasoning, Questioning, Computer Skills.... and probably a lot more that I am missing right now.

The two days I've described were totally different. Yet they each produced all sorts of learning possibilities. If I had imposed my will and made her sit down and "hit the books" that second day, it probably would have been a horrible day, filled with tears (hers) and tantrums (mine). Instead, both days were GREAT. And of course this has played out many, many times over the years, with both K and E. I think it proves that some days need structure, and that many days, we just need to lighten up!!

Have a great day everyone! :-)

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