Thursday, April 5, 2012

Why homeschool?

 I ran into a lady from church today, who told me that my kids were the only homeschooled kids she could tolerate.  She meant it as a compliment, but I was pretty taken aback.  I guess in her life growing up there were several families who "didn't do it right" or "did that unschooling thing".  Still, I thought that was a pretty unkind thing to say.  Especially since I know there are better homeschoolers than us in our ward.

To keep the peace, I just smiled and laughed and said every family is different.  I have met some families I wonder about, but on the whole, I GREATLY admire the homeschooling families I've met.  Thing is, these months after spring break are the hardest!  We all have spring fever, and want to enjoy the outdoors non-stop.  Sometimes I wonder how in the world I'm supposed to do all the duties I have on my shoulders.  And it doesn't help that my favorite movies are usually about English ladies whose sole daily tasks were learning to sew, sketch, and play piano forte.  Where are my servants?!

Yesterday, Evan was sad, and didn't want to do anything.  Last year I would have said, we can do something fun after the school work is done- so get to work!  I mean, a lot of life is just 'have to'- there's no getting around it.   But now I realize that childhood doesn't last forever, and when hard times come as an adult, it would be nice to have good memories as a child to look back on.   Flexibility- that's the beauty of homeschooling.  I didn't dare tell that lady that I was in the process of deciding to incorporate a bit more of the "unschooling" side into my homeschooling.  For shame!

So the older boys were in the middle of reports, but I managed to quickly come up with 5-6 science experiments (thanks internet) using salt, and we all just took a break to do some random science.   Evan practiced writing in a huge pan of salt first, like the Chinese calligraphy in the sand.  Then we used water, oil, and salt to make a lava lamp, practiced freezing salt water as opposed to plain water, tried salting ice and observing how fast it melts compared to unsalted ice, made play dough, added salt to water until it's mass or density would make and egg, marble and other things float, poured salt into cans of soda to watch the reaction, etc.

We had a lot of fun!  The reports are going to take a bit longer, and that's okay.  I mean, E is in Kindergarten and he can read REALLY well.  Dallas is like a mini Pat.  He never stops reading!  I find myself encouraging him NOT to read so much.  I started a book with him- Redwall- and I deemed it to far above his reading level after reading the first two chapters to him.  Then two days later he'd finished the book, and Pat had ordered the next from the library.  There's like 15 thick books in the series and he's reading them all!!  (Those exclamation marks were me screaming in horror, not joy.)  Sam does excellent school work too. He seems to do better at some things than his older brother.  He has really started to grow out of his perpetual grumpy state where he spent the first years of his life.  He is now the most pleasant boy out of them all.  He never complains and does so well.

I am a major planner, and plan out the whole year ahead of time, to keep me on target. Now I'm feeling a bit goofy about that.  I'm starting to stress less and be more fun.  I've found out that it makes the work go by so much easier!  I hope to continue to improve.  The Pioneer woman sums it up perfectly in this, one of the funniest homeschooling articles I've ever read (If you scroll down, there's actually two).  This is real life people!

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