Wednesday, April 27, 2016

End of Year Review

According to my homeschool calendar, we have 12 days left of school. Yes, we will get our required 180 days in, but all of those days were not spend in our "classroom". Some of those days were spent at the library, museums, and out of town where we visited some historic sites. We even spent part of Spring Break at the San Diego Zoo to go along with our Zoology unit. One of the things that surprised me the most about this year was that we had ZERO sick days. When Logan was in kindergarten and 1st grade he missed 15 or more days of school. This year, he missed zero. Now that we're almost done, I am having a hard time finishing out the year with a bang. I'm kind of done and I think the kids are done. We did SO MUCH this year. Logan did more this year than I expected and faster than I planned. Colin has moved along just the way he needed to and Trevor is finishing up his online classes this week, with exams next week and then a 2 and a 1/2 week "Leadership Block" for school which will consist of some projects and reading. We've been busy and we worked hard and the kids learned a ton. And so did I. The most important thing I learned was to relax and not worry so much. I had a plan to stay super organized and structured, but with homeschool you just can't always do that. Things got in the way and there were some days I had to cut lessons short to go to the dentist or to run into work. There were moments when I could tell a lesson wasn't working so we'd stop and go play. There were plenty of pajama days, days where we decided to sleep in and start late and days when we counted reading some books and playing "math games" on the computer as school for the day. And all of that is okay because no matter what we did for the day the kids were learning. They read more books, wrote more, spent more time on math and science and learning history than they did when they were in school. And it's not because they didn't have good teachers when they were in school. My kids had amazing teachers. It's just because we have more time at home. We have more freedom to learn what we wanted the way we wanted. I realized that I didn't always have to teach writing and spelling and grammar the way I did when I was a classroom teacher. I figured out that sometimes they got more out of a field trip or by watching a video or doing a project than they would have doing a worksheet and taking a test. It's been an amazing year and even though I'm a little burnt out and these next few weeks are going to be very relaxed, I'm already looking forward to next year. I already have ideas of things I want to teach and new things to try. I'm excited for this adventure to keep going and to see where it continues to take us.

Thursday, March 3, 2016


Today we did a Disaster Simulation for Trevor's STEM class mid-term project. We had to pretend there had been a major earthquake. Trevor broke his ankle, Logan had a concussion, Dave was trapped at work with no way to let us know how he was. We had no running water, and we had to "help our neighbors" turn off their gas because of a leak. The part of the simulation I was most worried about was when I announced to the boys that we had no power, no internet, and all electronics (even battery operated ones) were down. They grumbled a little, one boy threw a pretty major fit, but we went ahead and turned everything off. We unplugged for 3 glorious hours. The first thing I noticed when we turned everything off was the peace and quiet. There was no fighting, no bickering, no noise whatsoever. The house was quiet and it felt calm. Colin and Trevor spend the time reading books and magazines. Not once did they complain. Logan and I played games and we talked. Then, when he wanted to read, I had time. TIME. I couldn't look at my phone or turn on my computer to work. I couldn't check out Facebook or Pinterest. I couldn't sit mindlessly in front of the computer and waste my time. I used that time to read and to think and to plan. I sat and enjoyed the quiet and the peace. And I loved it. I loved the time where everything was off and I wanted it to last. It didn't last. I had to work and the simulation ended, but I was left with the impression that we NEED to unplug. Maybe once a day or even just once a week, but I think we need it.