Monday, January 11, 2016

Sometimes Homeschooling looks like . . .

We have two teenagers now. TWO TEENAGERS OMG WHERE DOES THE TIME GO?!? Ahem. Two teenagers. Every once in a while, I step back and take a mindful look at what homeschooling looks like around here sometimes. I've done posts like this before and it's nice to do one every so often - you can almost see an evolution of sorts. I hope so anyway . . .

So here we go. Sometimes homeschooling looks like this:

I love this. She's watching a video, taking notes, enjoying our dog, eating a snack (because she's hungry and not because it's some set, regulated time to eat), and talking to me in our home. We both even commented on how very cool homeschooling is right before I took this picture. It's when I thought to stop and take it in.I took the pictures and then over the next while, this post brewed in my head.

 And sometimes it looks like this:

He'd just finished meditating, as well as doing some video learning about cells, prefixes, and math. He practiced his piano and then organized and set up some Magic cards in a duel. (And he made his bed after I took this picture). :P Yesterday, he and Mark built a bookcase in his room and organized all his books, cleaned up a bit, and formed a To-Be-Read (TBR) shelf.

I took those pictures today at a couple of random different times. We've had a good day. It's been mellow yet productive and it's been filled with learning, and that is something we all enjoy and love.

We do some formal "school" learning, but most of what we learn comes naturally from conversations, outings, things we watch, discussions at the dinner table, sharing articles, reading books together, researching things we're curious about . . . you know, normal life!

We try not to distinguish between "school/learning" and anything else, because we have a learning-is-natural approach and it certainly shouldn't be a tedious chore. Sometimes this is referred to as "unschooling" - a term I once thought was code for 'lazy,' but over time saw was a lot of work and a natural, successful, effective approach.

That being said, we aren't so hands-off that we do absolutely nothing formal/planned (which is the approach of some unschoolers). But overall, our days are filled with learning in a playful, relaxed, natural way.

Here are just some of the topics covered today just in the normal course of the day:

- Cell cycles
- Geometry including congruent and complementary angles
- Prefixes
- A group violin lesson
- A piano lesson
- instrument practice
- Meditation
- The word "clandestine"
- Abraham Lincoln's assassination
- The similarities between Lincoln and Kennedy
- The Illuminati (not kidding)
- The Golden Globes
- David Bowie
- Peter and the Wolf (and how the different instruments represent the characters)
- Liesl & Po (a book the children and I are reading together)
- Read aloud, making a game out of it with dice
- Han Solo
- Benedict Cumberbatch
- Current events
- Feminism
- Gender Issues
- The etymology of the phrase "dark as pitch"
- comma usage
- Forming an X-wing group
- Knowing ourselves
- Handling anxiety and sensitivities
- Time management
- Laundry (collected, sorted, washed, dried, folded)
- Cooking
- Dishes
- Cleaning counters
- Baking
- Recipe following
- Setting the table
- Exercise (Zumba - the kids did this together using the Wii)
- Weekly planning
- History reading
- Sharing stories and things we've learned
- Gratitude
- Book Discussion
- Researching actors
- Galavant
- Catching up with our foreign exchange students
- The Proust Questionnaire and its uses
- Spelling
- Volunteering
- Calendaring
- Emails

Phew! That's honestly off the top of my head. The kids were able to sleep in as much as they needed to, eat when they wanted to, research things at their pleasure, contact their friends via phone or texting or Skyping, help with some house keep up, play, talk, laugh, cuddle with the dog in front of the fireplace . . . life is good. This homeschooling gig is a pretty great thing and we don't take it for granted. We feel very fortunate indeed.


Jimmy said...

I've said this before, but I think homeschooling is awesome and I feel like I've cheated my kids a little by not focusing more on learning in our own home. There is some consolation in the fact that my girls have all done very well in the public schools they attend, but I think there's some loss of creativity because of that. And from what I hear from my girls, there's not always a lot of learning going on in public schools, especially at the middle school level.

Dr. Mark said...

I love these posts. Being out of the house for a good portion of the day, I had a decent idea of how the school day went, but seeing it in this form really illustrates how varied and interesting "school" can be.

Boquinha said...

Jimmy, there's something to be said for thriving in the system that is already there, too. That's great that they're all doing so well. I think, like anything in life, it's a balancing act.

Mark, I'm glad you like it! :)