Homeschooling

HHA Week 6: Ancient America and a Mini Beast Hunt!

I’m doing even worse than normal on pictures today; all I have are a few blurry snapshots from my phone! Frankly, this matches my life right now, which feels like a blur in itself. We’ve crammed so much into this past week that I had to completely change my approach to school.

For the past five weeks, I’ve plotted my lesson plans with detailed checklists for each day. That approach doesn’t work for everyone, but it works beautifully for us. . . when we’re home all day every day, when everyone is well, and when life in general cooperates.

But life hasn’t been cooperating with my detailed checklists lately. 😉 So instead of stressing over it, I decided to start this week with a blank page and generic categories. We also brought back Morning Basket. Instead of scheduling readings, I put our books in a basket and we read what we could each day. No advance planning, I just logged what we accomplished each day.

There is no right or wrong way to homeschool. Sometimes I think we moms obsess over finding a method for our homeschool, then try to stick to it no matter what, even when it is no longer serving us. I see this a lot in the “purist” Charlotte Mason community, and I totally get it. I’ve often been guilty of it myself. But after experimenting over the last few years, I’ve found it helpful to think of our homeschool as having seasons.

We have seasons of intensive, planned work. During these seasons, we set specific goals and work hard to achieve them.

We have seasons of relaxed homeschool. During these seasons, we allow our interests to lead us while we explore this fascinating world at a gentle pace.

We have seasons of literature based learning, when we spend most of our time curled up on the couch diving into beautiful books.

We have seasons of STEM based learning. We put our books aside for awhile and get our hands dirty with projects.

We have seasons where we do all the things. We go on all the playdates, the field trips, the learning clubs and classes. Most of our “school” happens elsewhere with just a little math and reading at home.

We have seasons where we say no to all the things and cocoon at home, diving deep into our studies.

We have seasons where we use Charlotte Mason’s philosophies.

We have seasons that lean more toward Classical education.

We have seasons where our school looks more “traditional.”

We have seasons of full blown “unschooling.”

This is natural. This is fine. This is how the universe works. There is a season for everything, why should homeschool be different? 🙂

This new season found us both craving more time cuddled up reading. We started our read aloud for Rome, Detectives in Togas. This book is hilarious and exciting! We are several chapters in and can’t wait to see what happens next. Elsa Beskow is a treasure, and her book Children of the Forest is completely delightful. It was a perfect read for this changing season. I hope to add more of her books to our library this year.

Our history for the week was on Ancient America. Story of the World briefly covered the Nazca lines, the Olmecs, and a Native American myth. We watched Youtube videos showing the Nazca lines and the Olmec heads, both of which fascinated Cowboy. I, too, am fascinated by the ancient history of the Americas, and by how little is truly known about these civilizations who left behind such interesting things. I can’t wait to dive more into this history next semester!

This week, Exploring Nature With Children had us going on a mini-beast hunt! It was a perfect week to review what we learned about insects in August. This time, I actually sucked it up and did the mini-beast hunt. The above picture is proof that I got up close and personal with a few of our finds, ha!

Our other big change this week was removing our tv and replacing it with a book basket and audio books! This is a temporary change (probably?) while we work on better habits. I’m not going to lie, it has been hard. I’ve used the tv too often as a babysitter because my kids are not great at entertaining themselves. But I’m hoping that taking away the option helps them *learn* the skill of entertaining themselves without screens.

So far, it’s been an even bigger success than I would have imagined. Not only have they played more, they both also totally cleaned and organized their rooms because they actually cared about their toys again! Today, Cowboy curled up with a book and read for two hours instead of the 15 minutes he’s “required” to read every day!

I’ve still given them each one hour daily on chromebook to play games. But crazily enough, they’re no longer taking the whole hour. Today they each played for about 45 minutes and then decided they wanted to dress up as superheroes and play with LEGOS together. It was pretty awesome to see!

It has been a long, full week. Tonight, as we sleep, the autumnal equinox occurs and the season officially changes to fall. I can’t wait to see what tomorrow holds for us. 🙂

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