Monday, July 26, 2010

A Full, But Relaxed, Homeschooling Day

Today we had a pretty full school day.

Out in the yard, the girls observed our little garden of peas and squash.  I had NyGirl take out her science notebook and pencil, her digital video camera, and a measuring tape.  Of course, BabyZ wanted her own measuring tape, notebook, and pencil too.

Our squash measured at 15 in. and our peas at 6 in. high.

We saw a couple of caterpillars eating away at the leaves.  It won't be long before we'll need to starting weeding the garden.

Afterward, we went back inside and read this book from the library.

Next, on to American History.  From our BJU Heritage 3 studies, we covered a chapter on  the Bill of Rights.  Some of the terms are a bit complicated for NyGirl ("amendments", "ratification", "declaration", "hold these truths to be self evident")...BUT...I figure it doesn't hurt to introduce the concepts.  I don't care so much that she doesn't understand all the minor details of each historical fact.  I just want her to be introduced to the ideas and have a general feeling of what mainly happened.  We came away with a discussion of how grateful we are for our rights in America.  (We followed this up with writing a few sentences of "What I Am Grateful For").  And since we didn't purchase the timeline that accompanies this curriculum, we created our own out of index cards.  We've never done much with timelines in the past, so I should probably update to let you know how it turns out for us.

Next on today's agenda- on to Geography.  Actually, it wasn't on the just kinda crept up on us.  I was digging in our pantry (where we keep most of our homeschoooling supplies) for BabyZ's counting bears, and out tumbled all of our games from the top shelf- right splat on the floor.  So I had to clean up.  While cleaning up, I realized that the United states puzzle that fell would go along good with what we were just learning about the colonies and how they ratified the Constitution.

So...out came the puzzle for NyGirl, and while we did that BabyZ kept busy with her own puzzle...and counting bears.

Counting bears- new fun for BabyZ.

We finished up our day with our next Saxon math lesson, a grammar lesson, a handwriting practice sheet, and a bible lesson from our Explorers workbook.

AND...believe it or not...we had a VERY relaxed day.  And how could it have been THIS relaxing when we covered so many subjects?

Hmmm....I question that myself.  In fact, in just a few posts previously, I talked about how our days were so packed full of subjects during one of our earlier homeschooling years, that I would never make that mistake again.

At this point, however, I can assuredly say, that I still whole-heartedly stand by my decision not to overcrowd my children's schedules.  But that is, presumably, if I am the one overcrowding their schedules!  You see what I mean?  The main difference in a long school day that is productive and one that is intensely difficult with each second on the clock, is who is initiating the learning.

Sure, I oversee the lessons.  But, I feel like although I planned the outline and prepared to tackle the day's presumed lesson, I wanted to step backward a little and at least make them feel like they were leading the show.  So they wanted to keep going.  NyGirl thought she was the one who initiated going outside to check on the garden.  And when I slightly suggested the video camera and notebook, she hopped all over that idea because she could play like a scientist and detective.  Then she knew when we went back inside that we need to cover the basics like math and grammar...but I let her have her choice of grammar book for the day (between Shurley Grammar - which I totally do not prefer at this point, and BJU--and, uh...she actually chose both).  And with History, she looked forward to creating the timeline. I tried to make it as fun as I could (being that she feels it's her hardest subject, with terms like "ratification"-- I mean, I completely understand!)  When we stumbled upon the U.S. puzzle, she had a blast.  Of course, we had plenty of breaks for snacks, lunch, free time, play,and PBS.

So that was our day in a nutshell.

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