Wednesday, September 5, 2012

A Day In the Life

Not Back to School Blog Hop

I've been thinking long and hard about this Not Back to School Blog Hop post theme, because our days are far from identical. I wanted to give people a fairly representative portrait of a day in the life in our homeschool family, but I don't think that's really possible. Every day is different. I could continue ruminating over this and not posting, but I suppose it makes more sense to just go with what we did today:

Mikro got up about a half hour before I did, fed and watered his lizards, snails and hermit crabs, got his own breakfast, and started reading a library book. (That's a fairly routine start to the day around here, though I'm usually up before he is and reading a book on my Kindle or ordering library books on the computer when he gets up.) I came down, checked my email, asked him about his book, and then suggested that, when he got to a convenient stopping place, we could watch a couple of library social studies videos that are due this week.

We are looking at the Middle East this term, and the three major religions which were born there. We watched the Schlessinger Media "Understanding World Religions" series videos on Judaism, Christianity and Islam, and talked about similarities and differences between the three faiths.

Afterwards, Mikro watched an episode of Cyberchase on Amazon Instant Video (we bought the first season for him), and we talked about the math in the episode (fractions) and did some mental math (no paper and pencil). Then he watched 2 episodes of Fetch with Ruff Ruffman, which involved animal training, principles of flight and life in colonial days. We had lunch while watching our videos.

Afterwards, he went back to his library book and later did some drawing in his sketch book. He has been drawing the various life cycle stages of aquatic insects such as caddis flies, dragonflies and mayflies. He also looked at a set of biology flashcards on aquatic invertebrates that I picked up on This is the topic he is most interested in learning this quarter.

We sat down and went over our library account, and figured out which books he needs to concentrate on for the rest of the week. There are a lot of insect books on the list.

We got in the car in the early evening to go pick up his dad from the train station, stopped in Goodwill and bought some terrific science and history books, and a couple of math workbooks for just pennies, then did some grocery shopping.

Then we came home, had dinner, and watched the Syfy channel series FaceOff together as a family. This week's episode had contestants designing makeup and costumes for their own original Chinese Dragon characters. Mikro was thrilled, because he loves drawing dragons. We watch this show every week and find that it is a goldmine for generating art project ideas. We always talk about what we would have done were we participating (and if we had mad movie makeup skills), and often we each make a sketch of our own ideas for the challenge. Sometimes Mikro will make a paper puppet or a clay model based on the show's challenges. Lots of fun! (We have a simple movie makeup kit and plan on trying it out sometime soon.)

This entry makes it sound like we are addicted to television, but actually we typically watch only a couple of hours of TV a week. I am not counting educational videos in that figure. The TV never even got turned on yesterday (Labor Day Monday), which was spent at my parents' place celebrating my Dad's 80th birthday. Mikro got a healthy dose of family history and Grampa's Navy stories, and played catch (football) with his uncle. He was really happy that Grampa liked the articulated swimmer puppet he made for him. A passion for swimming is something he shares with his grandfather. (And he is sad about Sunday having marked our last swim day for the year). Over the weekend, he watched about 2 hours of TV total. I'm not anti-televison, and I recognize (and use) a lot of educational programming, but I refuse to allow it to dominate our lives. I'd much rather be outside, or doing something together. Today is a bad pain day for me, because we did a lot of traveling yesterday, so a more sedentary day today was what my wretched arthritic spine ordered... and using videos worked out nicely.)

Today was not a completely typical day, but we haven't formally started our fall quarter yet, and are still moving at a slightly slower summer pace. We'll ramp it up after our local homeschool group's annual Not Back to School Picnic, and our own family celebration in the coming week or two. That will involve more math and science, and a lot more history related reading. And in a couple of weeks, our homeschool group's Friday science classes will start up again, with cool stuff like dissections and robotics planned. We're looking forward to them, and gradually easing into a heavier academic mindset. But for the next week or two, I foresee some park schooling days, beach combing, and nature study as we take advantage of the beautiful sunny days that remain.

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