Sunday, February 26, 2012

The Relaxed Homechool Pre-Game

I really wanted to start posting last week about some of the things the kids chose to do during our week off. I had planned to create a log of the things they had done during the week-just to reassure myself that even if I am not actively teaching them something, they are still learning all the time!! I had even planned to slot their activities into subject categories so I could track things that way. I thought it would be very interesting to look at how they spent their time in the absence of lessons.

Alas, for one reason or another, I failed to record anything! There were lots of good things going on though, just in the "science category" for example...

The kids spent lots of time spent checking the sap buckets to see how much we'd collected. We're tapping maple trees this year! This weekend we boiled some of the sap down and made our first syrup... and some accidental maple candy when we boiled it too long. When they say it takes a lot of sap to make a little bit of syrup, they ain't kidding. Sheesh!

I checked out a couple books of science experiments from the library and just left them lying around. James took one up to bed one night and the next day he asked to do an experiment from one! I was so excited that he wanted to do science even though it wasn't "science time". Of course, as it turns out, we didn't have the right materials for the one he wanted to do. But we just added them to the shopping list and he did a different one. He put some colored water and oil in a bottle and shook it to show how they don't mix. I left the bottle out and the kids can't pass by it without shaking it to see what happens.

Grace spent some time this weekend watching for guinea keets to hatch via a hatchery webcam. I'm going to have to post the link for that later, I can't find it! She opens up this page every Sunday, to check what's going on. She also played around on the software that came with our telescope and read a few astronomy magazines. She took her new camera outside to do some nature photography.

Christopher has been reading a book on plastics and another on space robots. He and his brother spent a lot of time looking for quartz in the woods and they decided to start a rock collection. They looked at quartz under a microscope and spent some time smashing pieces of it (hey, it got their energy out).

I'm sure there was tons more that went on that could easily merit the label "science" ... and lots of other "subjects" covered too.  Pet care, reading, doing their chores, playing lots of games, watching a video about bass fishing, going to homeschool group, learning to make cookies, spending time outside, walking in the woods, and lots of time spent taking pictures (their newest craze).

Tomorrow is the day I consider Day One of our Relaxed Homeschool Experiment. Relaxed is shorter than "super laid back"-so I gotta change the name. I am planning to explain our new plan in brief to them tonight, telling them that tomorrow we will read from The Wind in the Willows, do math and a little writing, and then they can choose what to do next.

I am tossing around the idea of having each kid jot down a few things they'd like to do or learn about. I'm not sure if this will make things less relaxed (if they see it as a to-do list) or more relaxed (because we won't have the potential stress of no structure at all).

For now, we'll see what tomorrow brings!

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