Thursday, April 11, 2013

Homeschooling Thursday: Signs of Spring and Timelines

After a good deal of mulling it over for the past few weeks I've managed to rearrange our weekly schedule a bit to allow for two and a half completely at home days during the week! (unless we want to go out of course).  This means one hellish Monday of piano, followed by swimming, followed by lunch in the car--which must be packed in the morning of course, followed by flute lessons, followed at least once a month by Game Loft, and book club.  For those hardy parents who regularly pack their kids (lunches and all) out the door in time for the bus, then pick them up and cart them to music/sports/dance etc. this is most likely a run of the mill day.  But for we "lazy" homeschoolers who find getting anyone out the door before 10 a.m. a feat of great will and cunning (and swearing and stomping no doubt) a day like this is plain exhausting.  But, worth it I'm hoping, for the resulting few days free of car rides and scheduled events.  
And so, we've opened up a chunk of free time that suddenly allows for a few more intentional homegrown lessons in our week, and lots more time for bike rides, last minute projects that can take all day, and out door fun.  A few hightlights from this week:  

Signs of Spring:  Each year we do a purposeful signs of spring walk about our yard, exploring buds, and worms, bird songs and flowers.  This week we've found:  Fuzzy buds on the peach tree, colts foot blooming near the barn, robins, chickadees singing their "spriiiing tiiiiiiime" song, geese and loons returned to the pond, wood frogs quacking, and peepers!
The kids each chose a tree/shrub in the yard and have been checking it every few days for changes.  Kale is especially serious about this activity and loves to bring his nature journal or a clip board and pencil out to write down all kinds of "math".  Its pretty darn cute.  

In our search for flowers blooming (we found only colt's foot and red maple) the kids discovered a patch of British Soldier lichen and "pixie cup" lichen and set about making "fairy gardens".  Of course then we had to tour the neighbor hood on our bikes selling these cute things door to door for a quarter a piece.  Wylie (who is always the schemer of any money making venture) netted just over $3 which he's hoping to spend on iTunes.  Hmmmm. From fairy gardens to iTunes...nine-year-olds truly have one foot in childhood and one headed straight for the teen years.  

Our history for most of this year has taken the form of lots of good read-alouds, and Story of the World on audio during longer car rides.  I've been thinking of a way to tie all of these great stories together, without a Book of Centuries (which I'd like to start as the kids get just a bit older) or a 40 ft. wall, and came up with this zig-zagging timeline.  The time line begins near the floor at 7000 BC and climbs to present near the top of the half wall.  The time/space ratio is off, with the space between centuries getting longer as the dates climb, in order to accommodate the greater amount of historical information in more recent history.  We've only just gotten started, adding a few dates and pictures from things we read over the past year or two.  I used watercolor pencil for the line, so I could wipe it off and fix any squiggles initially, but the writing is all in sharpie, so will not come off.  I may go over the line in something more permanent before too long.  

Already I feel like I'm getting a better handle on world history than I ever had in school, and believe it must be helpful for the kids too.  I love imagining how this will develop over the next year or two, and picturing how each little pen drawing is helping create a picture of history they can carry forward as they grow.  

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like a lot of fun. I love the money making venture with fairy houses. Is Kale whistling in that outside picture? He is looking so grown up now!


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