Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Learning Notes

Melanie writes at The Wine Dark Sea. Have you ever read her blog? I'm blessed to know her from UD, but even more blessed to know her better now through her writing and her mothering life.

Maybe she will be embarrassed by what I'm about to say, but I'm going to go ahead and say it because every mom needs to hear what they're good at from someone other than their husband and kids: when I want advice or guidance or encouragement in opening up the world of literature or art or history to my children, she is the first person I think of.  Her personal knowledge of these things, as if they're woven into her very being, is beyond anything I'm going to able to accomplish in myself.  AND her willingness and ability to allow that to blossom naturally in her kids is so admirable.  I tend to still cling too much to "what the grade level expectations are" in a lot of things and in so doing have in the past stifled what could have been a truly organic learning adventure, the kind that actually brings them joy sticks with them throughout their lives.

So she's started a weekly Learning Notes post, and the way she writes hers is by day, which I don't think I can manage right now.  But I would like to put down some thoughts about how our school year has started so I (and maybe you?) can figure out what is useful and what is not and what we should keep and what we should scrap and all those lovely things that make homeschooling good for my kids and our family.

Edited to add: even if you are not formally schooling at home, you are invited and encouraged to post your own learning notes.  As Melanie points out in her comment down below, every mother teaches her children things!

-For history, my big girls are reading The Story of the World and A Little History of the World as I mentioned a few weeks ago.  Instead of answering the comprehension questions from the SOTW activity book (vol 1, vol 2) though (boring), they are each choosing one corresponding project per week to complete, also from the activity book.  So far we're up to two projects each and it's great because we are getting that "homeschool experience" that I like to imagine without the added hassle of ME having to come up with the projects.  Because I'm really not very imaginative and my idea of a project is "let's learn about history by scrubbing the floor the old fashioned way!!!"

Lizzy made this and took the photo AND wrote a blog post.  Wanna read it?  Yes.

-We've only had one week of our co-op classes so far (2nd class is tomorrow) but I think that the Classically Catholic Memory is going to be GREAT for Paul.  He is a young 2nd grader and the tiny doses of lots of related things that he is already somewhat familiar with gives him a lot of learning confidence.  We actually used the CD in the house and the car yesterday and complemented this week's lessons with geography and math songs from Audio Memory. I love me some learnin' songs!

-I am SO GLAD we included public speaking and poetry memorization in our schooling over the last few years.  So, so, so glad.  Katy and Lizzy have each been cast in different stage productions this semester with the performing arts organization for western Michigan and we're pretty sure that wouldn't have happened if we hadn't practiced enunciation and poise and projection and all those good things over the past three years.  And memorizing their lines? No prob, bob.  I'm just so proud of them!  Important life skills that also result in fun opportunities F. T. W.

-Last thing- we are beginning to sort of find a rhythm, an order to the days that are actually spent at home.  Right now it's something like this:

Wake up
K&L morning animal chores
Get dressed and do bathroomish things
(at this point it's usually almost 11 a.m.  No one is a morning person around here.  It works)
School work for an hour
Kids outside for some fresh air while I put lunch together.
School/play time (depending on how old you are)
Mary down for afternoon nap
School work or video or ?
4 p.m. - daily specific chores for big people
4:45 - I start making dinner

Pretty good?  Pretty good.

Thanks for the push to do this, Melanie!  Loves ya.

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  1. I don't home school but for some odd reason I always enjoy reading about what everyone's home school day looks like. More proof that I'm totally weird!

  2. Thanks so much, Dwija, for your too-kind words.

    I want to add that you don't have to be a homeschooler to write learning notes or join in the link-up. All mothers are teachers, some just delegate more than others. And learning happens all the time, not just in school hours. I've already got one mother who sends her kids to all-day school joining in the link up and I'd love to have more moms writing about the learning adventures they share with their kids in the in-between times.
    When I was a geeky high school kid I'd never heard of homeschooling, but I was already compiling lists in notebooks of all the books my future kids would *have* to read. I always imagined that would be extra reading in the summers and as a family. I guess I was always a homeschooler at heart, but I think you can be a homeschooler at heart when your kids go to school too.

  3. Oh and that cuneiform tablet is way cool. I'm not good at doing projects. I guess I'll have to wait till my kids are old enough to do them on their own. I love the way you let them pick one thing from the book per lesson. Definitely keeping that in mind for next time through SOTW when mine are old enough for more independent work.

  4. You already have a rhythm going?! I can't even say that much. I have had way too many throw up my hands in exasperation moments already. Is it February yet? At least then I would have an excuse!

    Wait, does constant chaos count as rhythm?

  5. How adorable is your daughter?? Love the project-instead-of-questions idea, I'm filing that away for the future.

  6. Trying to find our rhythm in our first year - this is helpful! I'm 36 wks pregnant so that whole rhythm thing is about to be destroyed anyway, but at least if there's something going we can try to keep some semblance of it going! Oy! At least they are only 6 and 3. I'm just having a hard time keeping myself prepared to do the interactive stuff with them daily (or every other day) and wishing I did a packaged thing the first year. Oh well! Off we go!

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