Monday, July 09, 2007

A day in the life of our (not yet officially) homeschooling family

We were making our way to the kitchen for breakfast this morning when I stopped the kids in the living room, saying, "Oh, guys, look at what's hanging onto the outside of our screen!" There, in the large window to the patio, was a huge hawk moth (more specifically, a White Lined Sphinx), who we had identified a while back as a caterpillar but had yet to see as an adult. How exciting! I took Dylan out with me to get a closer look, while the girls stayed inside and watched from the dining room bay window. I was actually a little nervous about getting close enough for a picture...these things are so big!

After finishing our morning chores, Dylan asked to play his San Diego Zoo Animal Explorer game on the ZOOOOS system he received from his uncle last Christmas. I was amazed to see how much he knew and remembered about the different animals and insects he selected! While he was busy learning fascinating animal facts, my girls were industriously sorting and lacing brightly colored wooden beads. A little while later, Dylan came into the kitchen and asked me if he could make his very own animal book and, since I was putting away the bags of school supplies we had just purchased yesterday at Staples one cent sale, I let him have one of the two Picture Story Primary Tablets I had also bought. He was so happy to sit at the table in our new homeschool room, drawing a prairie dog for the first page of his story, and coloring it with the new colored pencils we had also picked up at Staples. He had no trouble coming up with the first sentence on his own, but then was unsure about what else to write. So, we pulled out one of his favorite books and looked up prairie dogs, finding an accompanying caption that was perfect for copying into the lined space below his illustration.

To keep the girls occupied, I sat with them on the floor, making puzzles and playing with alphabet blocks. After lunch, he wanted to make a poster with the large pad of paper we...of course...also bought yesterday. So he got out one of his map place mats to use as a guide and set to work drawing his own map at the table.

I let my girls play for a while, too, before putting Meghan down for her nap. I spent the rest of the afternoon tidying up the house, and when Darren got home, I was able to go out and photograph a few new plants and one new butterfly! The Crepe Myrtle outside my kids' bedroom window is (yay!) finally blooming, my miniature roses have put on a few new flowers, a beautiful new lily opened just a few days ago in the bed along our front walk, and, a new little skipper came to visit! (I think it must be a Sachem.)

We went out to eat at Cracker Barrel tonight, and all three of my children were so well behaved that I barely recognized them as my own! (Okay, that's not actually fair...they really are usually pretty good but tonight they were exceptionally pleasant!) In the van on the way home, Dylan read, out loud for all of us, Thomas and the Magic Railroad: Little Engines can do BIG things. Although I did have to occasionally help him sound out a few words, Darren and I kept looking at each other in amazement at all the big words he did read without any help from either of us. I am so proud of him!

As I tucked all three of my kids into bed tonight, it was with a sense of wonder and amazement at all the learning we accomplished in the context of play today. It has made me so excited about the official beginning of our homeschooling adventure. It reminded me that play is okay...learning will happen no matter how structured our learning environment is (or isn't). Today was awesome. I can't wait to see what tomorrow has in store for us!


Kristen Laurence said...

How wonderful! You will be a great homeschooling mama.

Crafty Mom said...

I have thought all along that you have been a great homeschooling mom. Just forget the officialness that people seem to give it and keep doing the wonderful job you have been doing.

He who wears the most black wins. said...

No doubt! You WILL be so awesome at this homeschooling business! You are already doing it. No need for anything to be "official". Your life is a classroom and you are one of the most excited, perpetual teachers I know!

God bless you and have a wonderful day with your sweet children, learning and playing.