Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Homeschool Adventures

I have so many blog posts written in my head... but they never seem to make it to the computer!  We've started homeschool... now in the midst of our 3rd week.  I'm not going to lie- it has been a challenge!  After the first 3 days I was ready to sign them all up for public school and be done.  But, I just can't quit after 3 days, right??  So we took a day off, then kept on going.  After a lot of tweaking and adjusting and realizing I was making myself crazy, I threw out my schedule.  The daily schedule I had spend hours tweaking and perfecting.  It had us running a tight ship- start at 8, plenty of planned breaks, and done by 1:30.  It was scheduled every 15 min.

And it was driving me crazy.  And the kids.  After much frustration, I decided to focus more on HOME and less on SCHOOL.  At school, they keep those kinds of schedules.  Here at home, we don't have to.  If we are reading and want to finish the book, we don't have to stop just because the clock say 10:22.  I have my list of subjects and things we need to do each day, and we just work through them- not worrying so much about the clock.  It has been a lot better! 

One of the books we read over the last couple of weeks was called "Tonka the Cave Boy", about a prehistoric boy.  It was historical fiction based on artifacts they found in Russell Cave, AL.  The kids were completely fascinated by the book- loved every sentence, and talked about it non stop.  A quick google search showed it was less than 3 hours from our house, so our first school-inspired weekend field trip was born!

We started out by staying the night in Chattanooga, then heading up to Point Park (another Civil War battlefield park.  Apparently we can't get enough of them).  We forced helped the kids complete the Jr. Ranger program, which turned out to be very painful and annoying, but they each got a badge and wore it with pride.

After lunch, we made our way over to our real destination, Russell Cave.  It was really cool, mostly because we had read such a good book about it and the kids were really interested, talking about where Tonka might have done this or that.

 Once again, we forced encouraged them to complete the Jr. Ranger program (available at all National Parks).  This one was much easier, and they didn't have too much trouble getting it done.
 The actual cave itself was neat to see, but you couldn't go in very far- maybe only about 50 feet.  But they had some cool diorama-type people and fires and things to picture happening in the cave.  We started chatting with one of the park rangers, and told her of our enthusiasm for Tonka.  She of course knew all about him, but the book is out of print, so not many people read the book any more.  She took us under her wing, and let us experience the best part of our day- a weapons demonstration!
She taught us all how to throw a spear, use an atladl, and aim a blow gun.  The kids spent probably an hour or more perfecting their spear throwing!  Aidan even hit the deer!  Once they got some sharp sticks in their hands, it was all happiness and joy.  So different from the workbook and pencil reaction- go figure!

This type of thing is what makes homeschooling fun.  Reading some random book, getting an idea, and exploring it.  The fighting and struggling over "sit and do your work" is not as fun, but things are getting better on that front!  For now we will just focus on the positive!