Homeschool Reason # 395: Learning Happens

It’s Monday.

Today is also the tax deadline day and I’ve barely made a dent.

I also have a client awaiting my recommendation on their bathroom overhaul.    All my other due dates are a week or two out, but this one is pressing on the back of my brain.

OH!  And I’ve got these children to teach.

Seems like the perfect makings of a Funday Monday!

Actually, the boys requested it and I agreed, more for my own necessity than their desire to do get out the paints, make some things for their Dad’s birthday tomorrow, and play outside.

Whatever.  It works for me!

Well, after an hour or so, I overheard Caleb chatting about The Pinocchians (as in the wooden puppet), and then a bunch of giggles.  I heard Gabe say, “No Caleb, you mean the The Phoenicians.”  I pulled myself away from my reco, peeked around the corner and saw this:

Yes, my boys were doing a history lesson!  All on their own!  After I told them they could take the day off from their bookwork, and just have the morning to make crafts and play!

Sure, there are times when bookwork feels like a task to them.  But then there are other days when they just want to fill their brains.  I LOVE the flexibilty of homeschooling.   You see, learning happens as we live.  It’s not like we only learn at a set time of day, and a set day of the week.

They learn when they are open to learning.

Apparently that means today.

Funday Monday!

Have a fantastic week, everyone!

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Maturity Seeps In

We work hard as parents and as Christian homeschoolers.

We get up early, we plan, we prepare the nourishment and wash the clothes.

We start our days with snuggles and kisses.

We also assign household tasks to the kids so they learn to participate in the functioning of the family.

We demonstrate how to fold, how to scrub and how to prepare a good omelet.

We open our devotionals and bibles and kick off our morning together.

We read to them.

We give a math lesson.

We encourage.

We wipe tears and explain that it’s more than okay to have mistakes on the page — it’s how we learn.

We crack the history books and read and discuss and discover.

We put aside our ‘me time’ for them.  Constantly.

We try our best to lead by example.

We attempt to develop Godly character through tough lessons.

 

 

But we falter more frequently than we’d like.

We become frustrated.

We marvel at the fact that telling them the same thing 2563 times can still have no impact.

We beg them to stop. fighting. with each other.

To pick up their messes.

To do things for someone else, just because.

We work HARD to keep up with all of this parenting business.

We wonder at times if it’s worthwhile to put in this constant effort into child rearing.

We think about how much easier it would be if we just lived the ‘boys will be boys’ and ‘kids ‘ll be kids’ sentiment, and just accept it all.

We wonder about all of it… Is it really worth such diligence?

There are times we raise our voices LOUD, sounding ugly and mean.

We are surprised by our own anger.

We immediately regret.

We pray.

 

 

And then we close the door on the day.

And try again tomorrow.

 

 

And then, there are little glimpses, moments of His grace.

They turn the frustration into relief.

They really ARE getting it!

One does someone else’s chores without being asked.

Another plays imaginatively and happily with a sibling.

The eldest puts aside his own free time and offers to read a favourite book to his little sister, just because.

The tough work of parenting,

the encouragement, the tough love, the diligence, the persistence, persistence, persistence…

all work as building blocks in the formation of character.

We’re not raising children.  We’re raising the Godly, mature, responsible, respectful adults they will eventually become.

Keep on parenting!

Gosling Input: Spring Cleaning

Hey!  Have you seen the Homeschool Ryan Gosling site yet?  So hilarious.  Some of these pictures just hit far too close to home to not end up laughing hysterically.  I’m not a big fan of his, but I must admit, some of this is funny stuff!

I spent the entire day today — as in ALL of it, cleaning the boys’ room.  It … well… smelled like BOY and needed a serious overhaul.  We cleaned the closet and rearranged the umpteen-thousand books.   We didn’t even do one teensy weensy ounce of book work today.  I had the intention to clean their room until 10am, but well, it didn’t exactly play out in that way.   Sidetracked spring cleaning days offer another great reason to homeschool year round.  We can do this sort of thing when the fancy strikes.  And I have been feeling seriously neglectful in the house cleaning department these days.  Like REALLY.   I have just been dealing these last several months, and that has meant complete ignorance of the less critical areas of home.  Until today.

Oh, I should mention that I found part of the nasty boys smell.  It was a beautiful concoction of rotting apple core and garbage can pee from a poor sleepwalker.

Again.

I wish I was kidding.  That garbage can was just… eeeew.  I had to break out the big guns to clean that puppy.  Lestoil trumped my usual vinegar and baking soda cleaning arsenal.

We worked away all day.  At the end of it:

– the room was tidied, vacuumed and dusted

– the shelves were purged of the “collector’s items” (that really were Caleb’s upcycled packaging from the blue bag)

– there was one long discussion about ‘necessities,’ the ‘special’ things and ‘the rest’

– the trim was as clean as it was going to get without painting (how are they SO hard on trim?)

– I had a half garbage bag of crap to toss, about a dozen clothing items to donate, and a whopping four, yes, FOUR books to pass along.

All were duplicates.

Oh wait!  Make that five books.  There was a Spiderman picture search book in there that I’m sure was never cracked.  It was okay to part with that one.

– I rejigged the “it was supposed to be temporary” shelving on the landing so I could squeeze in Caleb’s new to him encyclopedia collection… (which, by the way he said he would take if the house was burning and he only had 5 things to take with him).    Did you know that 24 great big heavy books count as one item when you’re talking about fire-gathering?   (Yes, this little gem came out of our ‘special items’ discussion.)

– The hallway outside?  Not quite ‘there’ but coming along…

Anyway, dear Ryan had something to say about my day:

Haha!!  Hilarious!  (Only ’cause it’s true.)

The boys will sleep tonight in the freshness of clean.  Ahhhh…

Happy Weekend Everyone!

~T.

What School Looks Like Today: Spring Schoolin’

Nothing says “SPRING” quite like taking the books outside,

or rigging a pulley to haul your books up your favourite oak,

so you can hunker down in the blue-sky-sunshine to write,

and do a little reading aloud about Samuel de Champlain with your Brotherly BFF.

It’s all but a glimpse of today’s gratitude.

Green Eggs and Ham

I’ve been excited all week about today being Dr. Seuss’ birthday.  We love his books and his movies, and I knew I wanted to make Green Eggs and Ham for breakfast.  But was there a way to do it without nasty food colouring?  I decided to investigate.

What I found really exciting.  Red cabbage can turn eggs green?  What?

It didn’t occur to me until part way through the process that I should be taking pictures, but here’s what I did:

1)  I chopped about 1  1/2 cups of red cabbage, added it to a pot with a tiny bit of water on the bottom and simmered it for about 10 minutes, adding a splash of water when needed to prevent scorching.

2)  I used my immersion blender to puree it, and then pushed it through a fine strainer to squeeze out the beautiful purpleness.

3)  I separated a bunch of eggs…

4)   …and added a couple scoops of the purpleness to the whites.

5)  Then the kids got mixing.

Apparently, the green comes via a chemical reaction relating to the pH levels.  Here’s what I found:

“Naturally, red cabbage has a colour somewhere between red and purple, depending on the pH-value of the soil it is growing in. This colour change occurs due to the pigment flavin, which belongs to a group of water soluble plant pigments called anthocyanins (For those of you, that don’t know what the pH value refers to, it is the measure of the acidity (pH < 7) or basicity (pH > 7) of an aqueous solution). In this Instructable, we are making use of the fact, that flavin is a natural pH indicator and that egg white has a pH value of about 8. These slightly alkaline condition result in a colour change to a blueish-green.”

How cool is THAT?

6)  I then spooned some egg whites egg greens into the pan, and carefully spooned a yolk on top, flipping carefully when the time came.   (They look less green in this photo for some reason, but they were actually quite green in reality.)

7)  I tried to make the ham green, but it only made it purple.  Clearly, the ham didn’t have the right pH to cause the reaction.   Great science lesson!   We talked about pH levels in pools and how our eyes can be red when the pH is off, and perfectly clear when the pH is right.

We all enjoyed our breakfast immensely!

Caleb declared that it smelled like I was cooking chinese food for breakfast, I guess because of the cabbage smell.  But they tasted like …eggs, perhaps a slight bit sweeter.  All five of us ate them up and declared breakfast a great success!

Now this has me thinking about pH levels and experiments we can do with them.  Maybe planting seeds in soils of varying pH levels to see what happens…?    I think it’s all pretty cool.

It’s a snow day here in Nova Scotia (we’re finally getting our winter), and I’ve declared it a Funday Friday — because I can (the homeschoolers among you know what I’m talking about).   My brood is out in the snow now, a bit of shoveling, bringing in some wood and of course, playing!  Later, we’ll do some crafts – maybe draw some Dr. Seuss characters?  We’ll watch ‘Horton Hears a Who’ this afternoon, and probably do a read-aloud of Green Eggs and Ham.   It’s days like this that my kids will look back on with fondness.

And now I’m off to clean up the post-breakfast mess.  A small price to pay for all the smiles.

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

What School Looks Like Today

There is still baked oatmeal breakfast shrapnel on the counter, but thankfully enough space for Gabe to do a bit of school work.  🙂  Changing locale every 40 minutes or so helps that boy to get his work done.   I’m happy I can accomodate his needs. 

Caleb, on the other hand, needs the structure of a table in front of him.  He whips through is handwriting practice in no time.  

For the most part, Eden likes to be close to me.  I think this tendency, more than anything else, has to do with her need for an audience for the constant chatter.   Today, though, she seems more focussed and I am able to figure out if I have all necessary ingredients for supper.  Tonight I’m making Edie’s Cheeseburger {in paradise} Soup.  I’ve been thinking about it since Monday, so I think today’s the day!

Not all days offer such smooth sailing; a great many do not.   Yesterday was not one of our finer days, but today looked different.   This morning I woke up and got a double batch of Baked Oatmeal in the oven.  We had breakfast as a family before David rushed off to work.  I did some blog reading, hopped in the shower and threw in a load of laundry.  By the time I came downstairs, the boys had already done their devotion and prayer and were digging into the Audio CD of Anne of Green Gables.  

All of this was on their own.

And BEFORE 9am. 

Three cheers for independence and diligence! 

In light of their great initiative, they chose some music to play.  Caleb selected one of his favourite songs:  Piano Man.  Half way through, Gabe came to where I sat at the dining room table, and asked in his best British accent, “May I have this dance?”

Well, of course you may.

Then Eden got in on the action and danced with her biggest brother.

Caleb, knowing that Piano Man was coming to an end, put on another favourite:  Robin William’s singing Prince Ali (from Aladdin).  Oh my.   Do you know the one?   You can see it here.   Do it, so I’m not the only one who can’t get it out of her head.  

And then, the crazy dancing started.  Shaking the sillies out is something we try do with some regularity.  

Yes, it has been a great school day, and it’s not even over yet.

But the highlight of my week thus far was yesterday, when Gabe came in for a great big hug and said “Mom, this house is just so full of love…”

And that is what this whole thing is all about.

The time has (finally) come…

 

“People laugh at me because I use big words.   But if you have big ideas you have to use big words to express them, haven’t you?”   

-Anne with an ‘e’

 I think the Anne books are some of the most beautifully written – ever.   Period.  Full stop. 

I have been waiting 12 years for the day to start the series with my kids, and today was the day!  Eden is 5 and can sit through and understand enough of it to enjoy it, though I imagine she will use some of that time to go and play quietly by herself (which is also fine by me). 

We live a few hours from Prince Edward Island, and have taken the boys to Green Gables before (though they don’t remember).  Perhaps we will make another trip over this summer, to enjoy it, breathe it in first hand. 

Oh, this is going to be FUN!

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