It's different for every family, and that's the beauty of it. We can choose the best curriculum that fits our child. If something is not working, we can change it. (Wouldn't mainstream teachers love it if they had the freedom to do that?!) If our child does not understand something, we do not have to move on until they do. We sit at the table and work with them until they understand. There is a one to three teacher/student ratio here. There is no pressure to get a good grade. They are not doing it for grades, they are doing it simply to learn. There is no comparing themselves to other kids, no advanced or not so advanced reading groups. No labeling. There are no bullies. They do not have to get up at the crack of dawn to catch the bus. They don't have hours of homework in the afternoon, so that there is hardly any time to play. They have more time to be creative! Do they play with other kids?? YES! They play with neighborhood friends every day, and they also do extra curricular activities like basketball, softball, sign language class, gymnastics, art, and others. They get to spend lots of time with the family, strengthening those bonds (and learning how to get along with each other because they are forced to!) We can teach our kids our values, and we spend time doing things like singing together and learning Bible verses. It sounds nice, doesn't it?? Well it is........
But, nothing is perfect, and we don't live in heaven yet. : ) Our kids find seat work horribly boring, there are bad attitudes and complaining around here (that we are constantly trying to keep in check), I have a busy three year old running around, it's difficult to get everything in my day done, and on and on it goes. Too many days, especially this crazy year, I relied way too much on workbooks, simply because I was not here a whole lot. The kids did get bored with school.
However, I'm trying to make up for lost time. We just finished a unit on geology. One of my favorite things about homeschooling is that I get to learn everything all over again! I love it!! And truth be told, a lot of things the kids and I learn, I don't think I ever went into much depth at all when I was in school, if we learned it at all, so it's totally new and fresh to me. Anyway, we did some fun things with this unit, so I thought I would share some of the high-lights with you.
Sometimes, you have to teach something that you really don't know much about, and there is only so much you can learn from textbooks and library books. I don't know a whole lot about rocks and minerals! So, my wonderful friend, Julie, just happened to study geology in college, and has a degree in education to boot! So, she graciously came to our house, brought her stuff, and taught my kids about rocks. How awesome is that?
We learned about different ways you can test to identify minerals. Believe it or not, one way is tasting, in some circumstances! This one is halite (aka salt) : ) You can see Ben loved it.
Here the kids are learning that pumice, an igneous rock, floats! It was Sarah's very favorite one!
One awesome thing about homeschooling is that the kids can learn together, and help each other learn. I love it.
We spent some time learning about volcanoes, and yes, we made one! Notice it's not very high tech, and I do not claim to be crafty, but we did it, and it was fun! (Even our lava was green because I did not have red food coloring on hand. Of course I didn't.)
Another great thing about homeschooling is that you can stop what you are doing, and learn about something that's going on in current events. We took some time to learn about earthquakes following the disaster in Japan. Here the boys are experimenting with different building styles, and seeing which ones stand up to some shaking the best. And earthquakes also happen to fall into the geology category, so that was a bonus. (By the way, you will notice a pattern of one or more kids wearing pajamas in these pictures. Well, didn't you know that p.j.'s are the homeschool uniform??)
We learned about seismographs, and made our own....
And for our final geology test, we decided to have some fun. We had a gameshow and dressed up like Flintstones characters! Here is our Pebbles. : ) (Notice that fantastic pony tail? I snatched that up at the dollar store!)
Our contestants were, from left to right, Fred, Dino, Barney, and of course, Pebbles. Our show was called, "Who Wants to be a Geologist?" They did really great, and it was a very close game! Lots of candy and money was awarded! (Well, "lots" being a relative term, of course.)
And you don't recognize the famous gameshow host? It's Howie Gill-Stone, of course. : ) (I can't believe I am posting this on a public blog...)
For our final treat, we had this delicious ice cream volcano, created by my talented husband!
See how well the boys learned? They know how serious volcanoes can be!
They are really, really concerned!
And they told Sarah about the calamity at hand. She is obviously very troubled by it too!
So, there you have it...a behind the scenes look into homeschooling! (But don't let all those last, fun pictures fool you. We even had real life show up at our fun little game show--one boy ended up in tears because he hurt his hand slapping the bell as hard as he could while his brother was trying to do the same... It's never perfect, but we do the best we can... and it's fun! : ) I wouldn't give up homeschooling for anything!