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!


jamesandlisa said...

I found directions online to make an atlatl. We are going to make one in a few weeks when we learn about ancient peoples in Utah. If I can find the link again, I'll send it to you--it looks pretty easy. Homeschool field trips are the best part! We are going on a 3-day trip in September as part of our local geography study, as well as short field trips every single week. But I find I get burned out on field trips after awhile. As far as getting them to do their work, there are different schools of thought. I know a lot of people say they need de-schooling after being in public school and to just let them not do much of anything "forced" for a good six months. I found it better with Dallin to simply be very consistent right from day one about asserting my authority as a teacher and making sure he understood that "this is how we do it" and "you won't play until this is done" as far as doing what I assigned him to do.

Shanna said...

Abby has no trouble at all getting her work done, she is very much a self-starter. Aidan does fine once I encourage him a bit. Jack has the most trouble, either throwing a fit and refusing altogether, or sitting and just not doing anything at all. But, honestly, he had many of these same problems in school, so it is just something we have to work through. So far he has gotten his work done each day, just sometimes it takes until 4 pm! I'm sure we will figure out things that work better, I just keep telling myself it is a process- I can't have all the answers in the first week!

Kelly said...

I just pay my kids off. $5 if the work is done by Friday. I write all the things to do for the week, I will feel burnt out by Thursday, but my kids will be there begging me to do Biology or geography or whatever becuase they want $5. Because the $ is all or nothing. If it isn't all done, no $, period.

I am rigid on this requirement. It has paid for itself now. Money well spent.

Valeni said...

So glad you are sharing your experiences and posting pictures. Now I want to go and find the Tonka book at the library. It does sound intriqing. I know you are working hard to be successful. In the end you all will have found you learned so much. Good luck with everything. We are proud of you all and Kydon for his good support that makes it all possible!

Cecilee said...

Good to hear the homeschooling is getting easier. Nothing worthwhile comes without a price, right? The book and fieldtrip sound great! I bet my kids would love that book too. I am going to look it up at the library.... Please let me know of any other awesome books you discover. I would love to hear about it.