Thursday, September 16, 2010
My new strategy this year in school is to be more conscious and present. As we start our day, I pay attention to important details like moods, amount of sleep, eating patterns, dad's travel schedule, etc. If any one of these areas are off, it can effect the flow of the day. The children will be focused on other things and not school work. This is a skill in itself, to adjust the day as we go. I have always thought the topics being taught need to be relevant to their life and what they are interested in. I have an overall theme for the month and we address the subjects across the theme. I ask the kids about field trip ideas and fit those in to the year plan.
So, the other day daddy had a 3 hour conference call. We had to try and be quiet the whole time. This fell on the only day we have to stay home and have uninterrupted learning opportunities. I wasn't sure how it would go, but we did great! We did a lot of Lego building, which is math and science. They also practiced presenting their projects, fielding questions as well. We decided to make a newsletter for all the activities we do on the street. Each child reported an article about their interests. Cade's story was about the Lego club and Josie's was about the baby club. We read about a girl immigrating from Europe and her experience on the boat. We saw that the wealthy got to have tea and play cards. So, we did the same! When daddy came out we were on the ship (table) drinking tea and playing cards (uno). What a fun way to incorporate history, social studies, geography, math, manners, etc. This book also reminded us of the gold rush days festival, we went to a few weeks ago. We made the best of our day and it didn't look at all like the traditional classroom lesson. That's the thing about homeschooling that is the greatest, you get to play and learn with your kids! You really know where they are at, what they understand and when to move on. I have learned it is ok not to finish something. Sometimes, I have had a culminating project idea in mind and they are not interested anymore. The experience is enough to build a learning record in their mind that they will refer to for years.
In order to be present, you have to be flexible, which isn't my strong point. I have always had big expectations and get disappointed when they don't happen. Take each moment as it happens and watch your children, see how they are enjoying the activity or not. Take what they are getting out of the experience and build on that. If they are collecting praying mantis's and having fun with friends, why not make green ice cream and call it praying mantis cream! There is no right or wrong, what you are doing is right!