Let’s state the obvious and suffice it to say, I’ve gotten lax keeping up with the home education update posts. Don’t get me wrong – we certainly aren’t running around crazy and frenetic, but that doesn’t mean we have been sitting back on our haunches either. One of our goals with home education was to create a wonderful family environment and eliminate the unnecessary, and I think we’ve done a great job of that.
But wow – I can’t tell you how many times I sit down to write and just can’t get my thoughts together.
I’ve really missed writing these updates. They are a great way to document what we do, and reflect on all of the things we’ve done, which is really important, especially on those days when you worry you are doing it all wrong.
I highly recommend journaling your home education journey, whether you are required to or not. And even if you are required to document and record it, find a neutral space to write your feelings and track what you like and don’t like.
I take photos of nearly everything, and then, when I load them into iPhoto, they are dated and sorted. I sometimes add notes to Evernote if there are specifics I want to recall. Sue Elvis, of Stories of An Unschooling Family has great posts on how she and her daughters use it to document learning.
So I’m pushing through my bad habit of back-burnering this, and getting back to it.
That being said:
Some of What We’ve Been Up To (the very very brief highlights version)
In January we started participating in a postcard exchange with other families across the United States.
The kids enjoy, and look forward to, receiving the cards each month. We get 3-5 different cards each month from other states, and we send out several, with facts about Alabama.
Money Management and Real World Math
We talk about real world applications for learning all the time. Remembering what we learn is meaningless if we don’t understand how to use or apply it.
So our math is often done in the kitchen, at the gas station, or when budgeting for things we want (side note: I can’t stress enough the importance of that last one.)
A few examples:
Customs and Holidays
We started attending a new church last fall, and this has been our first year of fully going through the liturgical calendar. Even though I’ve celebrated Advent, Epiphany and Lent through my adult life, the children and I have never experienced it through church.
It’s been a wonderful experience to learn along with the children, and the holidays have taken on new and deeper meaning.
That being said, we got our usual cheap Mardi Gras King Cake from Winn Dixie and enjoyed our processed sugar treat. Unfortunately, this one did not come with a baby Jesus. Womp womp…
Day Trips and Family History
My parents came to visit on their way to spend the month of March in Florida (they were fleeing the east coast snow!), and while they were here, we drove up to my dad’s hometown of Florence, Alabama. We showed the kids the house he grew up in, places he played, places he worked, where he went to elementary and high school etc. He and my mom met at the University of North Alabama – UNA – (it was called Florence State when they were attending) and so they even got to see the places they courted.
Comic Book Club, Collection Books and Bookmaking
The children love the weekly workshops they attend, and this month, the three oldest attended a comic book club workshop, while the youngest attended a workshop on creating collection books and bookmaking.
The comic book club brings in actual comic book artists to talk with the kids and then they get to spend the last hour drawing and talking about their favorite comics and just enjoy being with others with the same interest.
The collection books workshop allowed Declan to tap into his current interest: Japan. He used his books – that he made himself – to collect notes and snippets of information that he has learned, and is learning, about Japan.
Celebrating Math on Pi Day
We made individual pumpkin pies and topped them with homemade whipped cream (and even, briefly, discussed Pi.)
When my parents visited, they brought a bunch of books that they had, that had belonged to my grandparents. One of those books was an Alabama bird book from 1958.
It’s been interesting for us to discover how the bird populations have changed and what birds were/weren’t common in our area and compare it to what is/isn’t common now.
We’ve enjoyed identifying the new birds that visit our yard as the seasons change, especially when we hung a suet feeder and started getting Carolina Chickadees, Downy Woodpeckers and Titmice.
Because bubbles. (and there is some fun science that goes along with them.)
What have you been up to and what have you learned this month? Share in comments, and let us know your favorite way to keep track of learning.