I think one of the most challenging aspects of homeschooling for me, besides time management, is the overwhelming amount of learning options available, and sifting through them to find what works for my children. I'm not known for being the most decisive person in the world, and I sometimes feel like my inability to just choose a method of approaching a subject paralyzes me from doing it at all. I guess Flo is our experiement. For reading, we started out doing Funnix, but half way through we got a new computer, and it didn't work on it, so we just fell back on reading a lot before bedtime and having Flo read to us from easy reader books and flash cards. I don't think this diversity of methods has been to Flo's detriment, but I often feel like I wish I had a better plan or outline.
One of the challenges of homeschooling… and life… is that not everything has to be done according to a specific method or plan to be beneficial. Nonetheless, it's often hard to let go of the structure a curriculum offers, for the more relaxed approached unschooling affords. I find myself caught in the middle. Unschooling offers unlimited resources and potential in everyday experiences, however, being the exhausted mom that I am, I'm not always on the ball and observant enough to make grocery shopping or mowing the lawn a math lesson. So, we fall somewhere in between, by doing some structured learning a few times a week, and just winging it the rest of time. So far, this appraoch has worked for us.
This has been a busy month thus far. For Darren's birthday on April 1st, we were in Kingston, Ontario, visiting his sister and family. It was a nice vacation, and full of learning experiences for Flo. One day we went to a place where they give tours of how maple syrup is made, and then you get to eat pancakes at the end. Most fun! Kingston also has a great educational supply store, so we picked up several workbooks on Canadian history and such.
On April 6th, one of the homeschooling moms from our PHLiC hosted a "Farm Day" at her home. They have quite a bit of land, joined to their in-laws, as well, and offered hay rides on the tractor, time to visit with all sorts of animals, and lots of opportunities to just run in wide open spaces. It was a lot of fun.
This session of gymnastics ended last week. Flo got a medal, just like they do every session. She's concerned about the fact that they gave the boys and girls different shaped/sized medals. That's not fair, in her opinon.
Flo is also coming along nicely with her skating lessons. I'm impressed with her progress. She's got two more weeks of this session, and then over the summer she's going to take the homeschooling class, which is just a mulit-level fun class. I like getting out there, too. It's good exercise.
Homeschool soccer started up at a local park a couple weeks ago. One of the veteran homeschooling dads in the area organizes it every year, even though his kids are all teens now. He does a great job, but I think he's looking to pass the torch. I wish I had the enthusiasm and energy to run with it, but until Joe's a little older, I can't keep my focus on him and much else.
We did a couple fun art projects this month with playgroup. One was a sequenced story board based on a nursery rhyme about the Queen of Heart and some tarts, and then this week we made Spring flowers with tissue paper. I've got to come up with something interesting for next week… we'll keep with the Spring theme for awhile longer…
Flo and Darren went to a baseball game of the local Hagerstown Suns team for the Education Days sponsored by the team. They distributed a curriculum guideline of ways to use a baseball game as a learning experience spanning several different subjects. Darren said it just felt like a ploy to get kids there to sell their junk food and crappy plastic toys. There were apparently quite a few disruptive school groups there, as well. Oh well, it was worth a try.
At the end of April, we got to go to the 18th Century Market Fair at Fort Frederick State Park. Both Flo and Joe were mesmerized for awhile in the blacksmith shop, where a man was actually making something. They also got a chance to run around inside the fort and talk to some of the authentically dressed actors about life in the 18th century.
That's April in a nutshell…