Friday, September 19, 2014

7 Reasons I Almost Hesistate to Call Myself A Homeschooler

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Another week of  homeschooling is winding down here.  As it does, I wonder why I call myself a "home"schooler at all.  We remain rarely at home.


Trees beckon!

While we were away on western PA visiting family, one of our neighbors trimmed the trees in the cul de sac near our home.  Nina was delighted and has wanted to play in the trees often since discovering how much easier they are to climb now.  

The boys have been equally delighted, grabbing hockey sticks and wiffle ball bats to be weapons as they perch in the trees to defend themselves from the British.

Physical education and dramatic play tied to Revolutionary War studies are schooling; they just aren't homeschooling!

D.I.Y. takes us o-u-t!

The kids are working on an animator badge a la  Of course, we could work on it at home (and have done so a bit), but it's so much fun to create and share with others.  So, we joined the Outside the Box homeschoolers for a joint lesson!

The kids made storyboards, watched clips about animation, planned their stop-motion animation scenes in teams and created animation studio boards.  (Nina and her teammate made their board quickly, as time was ticking, but were so pleased with what they did!)

Art, teamwork, sequencing and so much more explored, but again, not at home!

Mom says "yes", even first thing in the morning!

Almost every morning this week, the kids have asked first thing in the morning (before even getting out of jammies sometimes!), if they can run over to the cul de sac to see how their fort is doing.  I'm all for fresh air and purposeful heavy work in the morning, so I say, "yes".  

Some mornings, "seeing" turns to "working on".  The kids have been building their interpretation of a Revolutionary War fortification - a completely child-led activity.  So far, their fortification has bricks layered with mud mortar, a trench and a short wooden wall.  

Engineering, physical activity, history, teamwork... but, again, not happening in our home, or even our yard.

Field trips make what we read in books and hear on CD's come alive!

I'd love to say my children were actually settled in for a nap/quiet time in the photo above.  But, nope!  Not my kids.  They only nap if they are sick and ususally only settle for quiet time if I play new audio books for them.

What my children are actually doing in that snapshot is experiencing what it was like to bunk in a WW2 Destroyer.  For, although the kids are currently enamored with the Revolutionary War, we have listened to CD's and read about other wars in the past.  So, when a field trip to Battleship Cove came up on a local homeschool board, we signed up!

On the tour, we enjoyed a guided tour of a battleship, a submarine and a destroyer, as well as our own self-guided walk through a missile ship and past some PT boats.  In the afternoon, Luke, Nina and Jack gave friends who had been in another tour group a tour of what the friends had not yet seen.  It was so awesome to hear my kids teaching their friends what they had just learned!

History, exercise, public speaking.  All there.  At home?  Nope.

The weather is too good for indoor co-ops!

The children asked Daddy to teach a Flag Football class for homeschoolers this fall.  Their wish was our pleasure!  We put word out to our Little Way Home Educators group and have just finished up week two of a five week mini co-op where we spend some time playing Flag Football and some time doing a Trees class.  Then, of course, it's lunch and playground time!

This week, the mom leading the Trees class portion of our mini co-op could not come, so I threw together and led a plan that included building tree models out of train tracks to review the parts of the tree and to introduce the idea that water goes up from the roots and sunlight gets captured by the leaves and becomes food that goes back into the tree.  The kids loved this activity, which, in the photo, is just beginning.

Some science, some physical education, some socialization.  But, all in a park, not at home.

We love audio books!

When we were on our way back from PA recently, we began listening to George Washington's Secret Six: The Spy Ring That Saved America.  Nina and Jack were non-plussed by it, but Luke got so into it, we had to finish it this week.

When it was done, we took Jack's request to listen to the "castle story" in the Brinkman Adventures and then tried out Jonathan Park: The Adventure Begins (Jonathan Park Radio Drama).  It captured the kids' attention right away with exciting adventures and has also brought up conversations about differing opinions on creation science vs. evolutionary science.

Although we listen to audios at home, I prefer to listen to new-to-us ones in the van where I can follow the stories, too (as opposed to hearing them as background "music" while I go about tasks at home.)  So, audio-learning and entertainment sometimes encourages us to be out and about!  Or, just makes the drives to and from places that much more purposeful and enjoyable.  History, science, faith, literature, even math all turn our minivan into a place for mini-lessons.

I'm often out, but still a homeschooler.

Lest you think we never stay at home or concentrate on learning when we are home, let me assure you that this is not the truth.  We just tend to tuck short, pointed lessons at home in between experiential learning outside of our home.

For example, when Nina was doing some Math the other day I noticed many of the numerals that she wrote were backwards.  So, I mixed mixed Montessori-inspiration with Nina's love for sensory experiences with a loose interpretation of an idea I gleaned from The Gift of Dyslexia, Revised and Expanded: Why Some of the Smartest People Can't Read...and How They Can Learn.  Then, Nina set to work with sandpaper letters and Thinking Putty.  

I loved her smile as she succeeded in building each number!

What do you think?  Should I really call myself a homeschooler?

Sharing at Conversion Diary, Managing Your Blessings, Pebble Pond,  Weird Socialized Homeschoolers and Home to 4 Kiddos.

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