"Lo, Children Are An Heritage of the LORD: and the Fruit of the Womb is His Reward" - Psalm 127:3

Monday, October 21, 2013

Homeschooling is a Scream ... Sometimes Literally

I've been homeschooling my kids for 16 years. We started when my oldest (who is almost 23) was going into 1st grade.  I LOVE homeschooling.  Sometimes, people will ask what curriculum I use, or say, "What do you DO all day?"  I'm pretty sure they don't envision this...

Here's a confession for you.  I don't really USE a curriculum.  Not a formal one anyway.  I mostly go with the flow.  I use a lot of different pieces of a lot of different curricula but I don't follow just one set plan.  I've tried. It drives me nuts.  But back to the subject at hand.  Today, we found an especially large spider.  So we decided to catch it.  Seriously.  The one in the picture wasn't the big one.  The big one was the first one we caught, and easily twice as big as this one.  After we had studied the big one, identified it in the spider identification book, and released it ("WHAT?? YOU LET IT GO??? WHY DIDN'T YOU KILL IT!" - that was my response after he let it go)... anyway, after all that, we realized we should have sketched it.  So the nine year old decided to catch another one.  (Did I mention he found both of these INSIDE the house within an hour??? Ugh.  We won't even discuss the enormous mouse we saw yesterday.)
So this evening I was working on a lot of household chores and when I came into the kitchen, my son hurriedly covered his notebook and said, don't look.  When he had finished what he was working on, he surprised me with this picture, which is really quite accurate in the coloring, etc. (By the way, this is a big sketchbook - slightly larger than a normal sheet of notebook paper).  I complimented him on how detailed the drawing was (see the joints in the legs?) and he informed me that my phone takes great pictures and that you can zoom in really far.  ACK!  I checked my phone and I have TWENTY ONE pictures of this spider.  He then informed me that the spider is weak from having lived in the glass container all afternoon, so he was able to leave the lid off for 45 minutes while he observed and drew him.  I'm glad I was busy folding laundry during that time.

 Sooo, now you know what we do in homeschool ... at least part of the time. ;)  I am blessed to have identification books for most types of animals we might come across out here - bugs, birds, spiders, etc.  So Dad, moving all those books was not in vain :)  I do have to admit that I shiver when I flip through this one, and try especially hard not to let my fingers touch any of the illustrations. :)

 So now you've seen the creepy side of homeschooling.  Most days are more like this.  The four year old is working on learning his letters.  His therapists (for his autism) are doing a lot with puzzles, so when I found this one at our thrift store, I snagged it.  His two year old brother likes it too.

The piece he is holding here is a pilot in a biplane, so naturally, he is flying into place :)

All of the animals got a hug before going into their spots.  In fact, anything with eyeballs got a hug.

They also got ice cream.

...and cake.

I am so thankful for our amazing thrift store.  It is connected with the Food Basket - so everything sold there goes toward buying groceries and feeding local people in need.  It's a great cause, and people are very generous to donate stuff constantly.  Their large warehouse is always overflowing with things to sell.  Because of that, they practically give things away.  I paid 25 cents for this puzzle!  I bought a whole stack of puzzles and other goodies.  Usually when they tell people a total, people will tell them to keep the change, or give them more than they ask for.  We have some very generous people in town.  I really do get some amazing deals there.  The other day I bought the four year old a pair of Wrangler jeans and a pair of Carhartt jeans for 50 cents each.  They are like new.

Here's another of the puzzles.  We've kind of gotten into the habit of doing a puzzle each morning.  The four year old is usually up before his brothers, and the morning after I bought these I thought it would be a good way to keep him quiet while the brothers were still sleeping.  He's a creature of habit and loves routine, so the next morning, he announced, "It's time for my puzzle!" (LOL the two year old is a creature of habit too. He gets to the top of the stairs and announces, "I need some cereal!") This is the kind of learning I really enjoy.  We have lots of fun hands-on activities, and do tons of reading and discussing. What a privilege and joy it is to get to invest my life in theirs and be with them every day.

We're not just homebodies either.  In fact lately we've been doing too much running.  Our nine year old just finished his football season, he's still in swimming lessons twice a week, and now 4H is starting up again.  Before long it will be time for skiing.  He's not sure whether he wants to join the race team or not this year, but last I heard he's back to being interested in it.  (I think he figured out it will be boring to ski alone, since all his friends will be practicing with the team).  We also have a great local homeschool group which goes on field trips and organizes classes together at times (like the writing class we have here at our house).  It's a lot of fun, and worth every spider-filled minute.  Oh and in the interest of full disclosure, there was a bit of screaming involved (and not just by me) when the large spider decided to run instead of sitting still while we were trying to trap him. ;)

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