Home Education

The Homeschool Pick Up Line

It never fails. There you are, shopping, or maybe enjoying a delicious Chik-fil-a lunch and she spots you from across the crowded room. Who is she? Oh, you know who she is. The woman who bobs and weaves her way through the crowd to get to you and asks “Do you homeschool?” “Is it that obvious?” You ask yourself as you try to finish chewing, and swallowing. then frantically wiping every delicious bite of chicken off of your face wishing you had a little more time to savor your “so not in the budget, but…” chicken sandwich before it gets cold. After all, haven’t you wolfed down enough cold meals in Mommy haste? You’ve done your time I lunch purgatory or lunch hell, (depending on the day). But you still manage a smile and reply sweetly, “Yes, I do. Do you?” You already know based on the fact that she is asking you and the “Call of the Wild” way that her children are hanging precariously from the playscape, that she does too. But you ask to be polite. And you swallow, although your hot sandwich is now a fading memory, knowing what is coming next…She squeals with delight and exclaims, “Me too!” You feign surprise as you longingly peer at your sandwich from the corner of your eye calculating the minutes until you are reunited. Then it happens. As predictably as a lioness pouncing on an unsuspecting wildebeest in one of those public television documentaries.
“So what curriculum do you use?” And so it begins.
Numbers are exchanged and play dates arranged. It is the beginning of a beautiful homeschool relationship and the end of your hot sandwich bliss as the two of you sit and swap stories of homeschool victories, defeats and everything in between.
It really is a beautiful thing, but can we homeschool moms PLEASE get some new pick up lines?! We’re supposed to be creative and out-of-the-box thinkers. Then why oh why do we ask the same questions every time we meet another HSM? Really? I ask too becauseĀ I am always excited to meet other HSM’s and HSD’s. I love sharing stories and planning to meet up for play dates. But we have got to get some new pick up lines.

Home Education

A Glimpse

Phase 1: I restructured lesson plans to fit their passions.

For example, one child wants to be a pediatrician. We learn biology, Latin, business math, history of medicine, famous doctors, etc. She still has to learn everything else, but there is a focal point, not just casting a wide net and seeing what we catch.

Phase 2: Lots and lots of hands on activity.

One of my children wants to be an inventor. We supply magnatiles, erector sets, gears, tinker toys, etc. I decorate the area with blueprints, pictures of prototypes, and famous inventors. We read biographies and create timelines of when who invented what. We add episodes of Modern Marvels.
Then there are days I just supply raw materials and we see what they come up with. They enjoy the process of discovery, I enjoy cross curriculum teaching.

Phase 3: Don’t be afraid to get a little cray-c.

We did a unit lesson on eggs, when one of the kids was interested in farming. He still loves it. We learned the history, the science, the biology of eggs. We measured, we weighed, we tested the shells in various liquids. Then we went outside and played baseball substituting eggs for balls and a skillet for a bat. We call it egg splat now beat that. For extra fun, we hard boil some eggs and leave some raw.

Phase 4: Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water

We use curriculum. We use Math U See, Mystery of History, Abeka, BJU reading, Horizons, and the list goes on. I couldn’t use just one because my children’s learning styles are different, I didn’t find any one of them to be all inclusive or completely comprehensive, and it bored me to tears. So, I mixed, matched, modified, ripped out, added in and tweaked. And then I did it again, and again and again. My kids are living and breathing and their education should be too. Furthermore, there are concepts they master quickly and some that require more methodical repetition while avoiding boredom and disinterest. It’s a fine line. I received a great suggestion from Byrdseed via newsletter email. He suggested instead of just regular spelling drills, try foreign words that we use in English. It was a big hit! One of my children loves all things French. So that was where we began.

Ooh la la!

Phase 5: Get off your Gluteus Maximus

We got moving. Into every lesson I incorporate movement. Whether its counting out jumping jacks or jumping rope to skip counting or going outside to hunt for dinosaur (turkey) bones that I hid in the back yard. We’ve even converted the dining room table into a makeshift ping pong table.
There are numerous studies relating increased physical activity to increased cognitive function.
Besides all of that we don’t want to raise sedentary kids.

Phase 6: Keep it Fun

I believe with all my heart that God never intended for life to be dull, routine and boring. Or for kids to be dredging through old, stale curriculum and forced into endless cycles of pointless rote memorization. Or for children to be be taught what to think instead of how to think. I definitely don’t believe that God intended for humanity to stop having fun just because children become adults.
There is this massive, beautiful, intense, complex world that He created. He wants us to explore it, discover it and to experience it. He wants us to live. Education should be full of life!

Phase 7: Get out!!

Go do, experience, breath, observe, test, collect, run, jump, spin and twirl.
There are no limits to the field trips you can do. Local farms, libraries, book stores, observatories, museums, fire stations, police departments, dentists offices, universities, airports, caves, Lego Land, cereal factories, chocolate factories, etc. Mt Rushmore, Washington DC, the Grand Conyon, you get the picture.








Home Education

A Fresh Perspective

I’ve heard it said that February is “Rut Month” for homeschoolers…everyone wants to quit. I didn’t want to quit, although I did imagine myself running out of the front door flailing my arms wildly and screaming “Make it stop!”
No, I didn’t want to quit, but I did need a change.
I didn’t need all new curriculum. Been there, done that. I didn’t need more field trips, more computer time or more printables. Don’t get me wrong…printables are great, workbooks too. But I was mind-numbingly bored and one more printable on recycled paper was going to be enough to push me over the proverbial edge.
The kids were learning and having fun but there was something missing. Something was awry. Downright rotten in the state of Denmark.
It was me, I was bored. I’d lost my passion for teaching. So I did what I always do, found some good organic chocolate and went to God in prayer. Prayer changes everything. It changes us.
It’s sort of like Clark Kent going into the phone booth for me.
So out I emerge with new vigor, new energy and new excitement! What could be so exciting about homeschool?! A completely new approach.
For starters, we would no longer call the dining room that we repurposed, the homeschool room.

It would be forever etched in the annals of history as…(insert drumroll) The Innovation Station. That’s our educational goal- Innovation. To inspire creativity, abstract thinking and problem solving. To nurture a passion for independent lifelong learning and love for God. To raise a generation of autodidacts who discover new ways to solve old problems.
We filled the Innovation Station with passion centers. Yes it still contains, reading, writing, and arithmetic. But also clothing design, an inventor center, and a worm rescue center. It’s a small space so some centers are seasonal and we rotate. Bottom line is this, fill the space they live in with what they love. That passion will fuel their learning as well as your teaching. It’s emergent curriculum meets Montessori via vocational training. I don’t have a name for it yet…if you any suggestions leave it in the comments.