Homeschool: Go Big AND Go Home

When homeschool goes well it can go unbelievably well.  When it goes badly it can be a complete disaster.  I’m thrilled to report that today was a fantastic day for learning.  We haven’t had one of these in a while and it feels like we are back on track.  A good homeschool day is when your kids make the connections without you.  On days like today I’m able to step back and just watch as they automatically transition from reading about something to role-playing it, to cross-referencing it in other books.  They make up their own games in which they are the animal we just learned about and they are off to hunt for their lunch.  It’s everything that learning should be and if they are engaged in learning then behavior is a non-issue.

When I announced at breakfast that we’d be getting back on the homeschool wagon today (after a few days of art camp) my daughter said, “Oh good timing.  I’m ready.”  I’m slowly recognizing that the three of us are much happier on school days.  It gives us a clear focus and they can rest easy knowing the next two hours will include lots of personal attention.

img_6853Today we focused quite a bit on animal science as we wanted to finish our unit study on butterflies.  We made some egg-carton caterpillars and read The Very Hungry Caterpillar while using our felt board to physically lay out the pieces of the story.

Additionally, we delved into tree frogs (there was one on our glass door last night-inspiration!), insects, and birds because my children can never seem to get enough of playing baby birds.  This gave us a great way to incorporate the trampoline into our morning recess- we used it for our baby bird flying lessons.

img_6844We love the science books by Steve Jenkins.  If you’re not familiar with them they are all worth a look, the illustrations are fantastic.  We just returned a great one to the library that was all about bones.  We own an animal one which my daughter references nearly every day.  For instance, at breakfast we noticed two robins squabbling in the yard.  I explained that they might be fighting over a lady friend.  My daughter dropped her breakfast and ran for the Animal Book.  “Look!” she exclaimed.  “This page is all about fighting for love, just like the robins!” That right there- that connection made my whole day.  She is learning how to find and confirm answers to her own questions all because she wants to, not because she has to.

Sometimes I can’t help but test the waters of comprehension with my daughter.  She is only 5 but she is passionate about learning so today I dove into Darwin and survival of the fittest. Why not? The Steve Jenkins animal book has a spread on tadpoles and their journey to adulthood- it is very well done.  Two frogs survive out of the 3000 eggs that originally hatch.  I thought I might lose my daughter during the explanation but she stayed right there with me.  You just never know what they’re willing to take an interest in unless you sit down and offer it to them.  It’s the same with world geography.  I wasn’t really sure my daughter would go for that either but she was more than ready.

Homeschool: where you can go big and go home all at once.

img_6854

The family of Goldfinches goes on a bug hunt.

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