We went around the neighborhood putting flyers on mailboxes for our neighborhood association Christmas party. Along the way we stopped to push the stroller around on the tennis courts. We noticed the plastic bags were causing some drag so we did some testing. It was amazing how much one plastic bag could slow it down.
We went to Audubon Acres for their Walker Farm Pioneer days on Friday. It was very interesting. It was busy so I didn’t take very many pictures. The boys saw demonstrations and got to try out some pioneer tools. They learned about how when the garden frosted over in November that was it for fresh produce. They saw a period rifle shoot. I tried to have them take special note of how long it took just to take one shot.
We went into a cabin that was built on the same property by a Cherokee Indian. The woman told us about how a family of 13 lived in the cabin. It was barely the size of our playroom!
I would hope they could take away some knowledge of life in the past and some gratitude for all the comforts we have now!
We met with some homeschool friends and did part of the tour with them. Then we ran into some other homeschool friends and got to run around and play with them after all the school kids got back in the buses. We really know a ton of people who homeschool in our area and I’m thankful for that.
Simon loves this world map in Coolidge Park. He enjoys hopping from continent to continent and talking about all the places he knows. Today he came up with the questions “where is New Guinea?” and “how can Australia have so many really hot places if they are so far down?”
We will get the globe out and do some research this afternoon!
We did some more work with measuring this morning. We laid down some tape in the lengths of all members of the family and some animals and prehistoric creatures. We had to solve a problem when one prehistoric animal was estimated to be 20 ft and our measuring tape only went to 16 ft!
There was some huffing and puffing over the effort involved at thinking outside of the box a bit. This technique was appreciated later at the aquarium when we were able to guesstimate how big some of the river giants were.
The aquarium was nearly empty and we got to hear lots of great information from the volunteer docents. We saw the seahorses getting their food which was pretty fun to watch.
A question that will require some research: how long can turtles stay underwater?
We started our morning with measuring small toys. Each boy had a bin of toys, a ruler and a notebook and pencil to record data with. Giving Owen his own setup seemed to keep him occupied pretty well while Simon worked. After measuring with the ruler we grabbed a Lego block and figured out how many Lego blocks long the toys were. We then took the length of the Lego block and could figure out the length of the toy. This is called iterating a unit to measure something! One of those good ol’ common core standards!
It’s funny because when I read the standards I had to re-read this one and figure out what they meant but ultimately it’s a very common sense idea that Simon picked up easily.
After Owen’s zumbini class we did some giant clock work. Simon is motivated to tell time by hearing Rick mention that some of his college students can’t tell time on an analog clock! What 6 year old doesn’t want to be smarter than a college student! He happily exclaimed that knowing how to count by fives so well was really helpful.
Thank goodness for the support of friends who homeschool! Of course during the first week I had my doubts about what we had done… What was I thinking? how was I going to make this work? Friends assured me it was normal to not feel settled for a long time!
Week two included beautiful weather and lots of playing outside early in the week. Tuesday and Thursday mornings Owen has preschool so Simon and I can do more concentrated work. We did a fun game to help with learning time and played Scrambled States of America.
Simon has a big interest in presidents right now. We have been reading lots of books, looking at flashcards and doing research on Martin Van Buren.
Wednesday we visited the Chattanooga choo-choo and saw their model train museum. We also rode on the Incline Railroad the steepest passenger railway in the world.
Yes, we won the lottery in December of 2012. We got into one of the best magnet schools in town. A school that people used to camp out to get into. And then we left. Call us crazy if you will, but school wasn’t working for our family. Our son was losing his spark. Yes, he behaved well in school, better than most in fact. But you could just see how much it took out of him to work that hard holding it together in school all day. Without the freedom to move and get outdoors he was shriveling up, the joy was slowly seeping out of him.
It was a terribly difficult decision. One we all talked about off and on for the past year and a half. It’s a great school, they truly are dedicated to their students and doing the very best they can within a broken educational system.
Simon learned so much in kindergarten. His teachers were some of the most amazing people I’ve ever met . But did you know that they don’t really play in kindergarten anymore?There is no dress up bin, no play kitchen area, no spot for imaginative open ended play. It is all planned. They only go outside for recess for a short time each day and they have tests, lots of tests. Did you know that students all over the country are getting sick to their stomachs because of tests? In Kindergarten? Don’t even get me started on the poor things after third grade!
In a future post I will share some research to show how common sense, physiology and psychology combine to prove we are doing it all wrong.
Anyway, so here we are homeschooling. We aren’t bringing school to our house. We are bringing learning to our life. Follow along if you like, we’re happy to share our adventures with you!