Wednesday, October 26, 2011

All Kinds of Learning

"So, today school is cleaning?" asks Ethan.

It started as a consequence for fighting during school, actually. I decided they needed to do some manual labor instead of bickering with each other. Then Megan remembered that she has wanted to clean out her toys and sell some of them for awhile, so she tackled that project. We haven't seen Ethan's carpet in quite some time (don't worry, it's only a 1x2 meter piece - we don't let him get THAT messy) so he set about organizing everything I pushed off onto the floor while I vacuumed.

Ethan remarked that he wasn't going to finish his schoolwork as a result of all the cleaning. I told him that cleaning was taking the place of school, hence the comment.

I went on to tell him that cleaning teaches us to be responsible for our belongings, keeps our stuff from getting too dirty, and in the process helps us find those things we've been looking for.

Why am I telling you all this? Partly to remind myself that learning isn't just about school.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Homeschooling vs the Dog

One of my greatest hesitations about continuing with our dog journey is whether or not it's feasible to homeschool. The problem? She's most active in the morning, and our schoolroom is upstairs. We haven't allowed her to go up there because she's not house trained yet and I value my carpet. Not to mention she's a distraction. She had down times when we put her in her crate, but she can't possibly stay in there from 8-12 every morning. The Dog Whisperer would disapprove.

We tried several options the first week and a half. We tried doing school in the living room. We tried the kids doing what they could upstairs with me watching Scout, then cramming in whatever we needed to do together while she was sleeping. It's all felt quite chaotic and frustrating, and a lot of things have been dropped.

This morning I wrote in detail on the board what they both needed to do. None of it was really anything I HAD to be there to do with them, although some of it (history) I normally do. I decided for our sanity and to keep a less stressful atmosphere in the house, it would be better to let them try to do it on theier own.

Three and a half hours later, they are done with their work. I'm not quite sure how to feel about this - Jubilant? Dispensable? Dubious? Relieved?

I know there will be days when it isn't this easy, but in addition to watching the dog, I was able to go get supplies for a baby shower and buy more Coke Zero (necessary for survival). So it seems that we might able to continue homeschooling after all. Lucky dog.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Mama Said There'd be Days like This

Actually, my mom doesn't really give me advice on homeschool, but she's a wise woman and a life-long educator, so I'm sure that if I skyped her right now she'd say, "Oh well. Tomorrow's another day." It started off pretty well - exercise, great talk with Erik, super yummy oatmeal with raw honey, flax seed and cinnamon (a daily joy), then it all kind of went wacky.

In between determining which kind of worms our new little pup has (finally nailed it after a discussion with the vet - roundworms. Bonus: I now know how to say different kinds of worms in Chinese), cleaning up to make sure we don't get the worms (he said don't worry), escorting a VPU from our office to a friend's house, and planning my teaching time for this afternoon's co-op, homeschooling my own children sort of went out the window. Occasionally I would throw a worksheet or a book at them like, "Here! Learn something!" Thankfully they are pretty independent learners, and they can recognize when mommy needs a little space. We didn't end up doing half of what we planned to do, but it'll all get done eventually.

Now I'm inhaling a salad while waiting for kids to show up at our house (one came 40 minutes early - it's her first time and her mom didn't know how long it would take to get her here) before I throw some stuff in the slow cooker for dinner and head off to teach.

Tomorrow is another day.