Our first "official" day was Tuesday. Something went wrong with my car on Monday, so I had to start the day by taking it to the mechanic. My first opportunity to be flexible! I did pull out a few math sheets, since Dudeman really wanted to do something "schoolish," and it turns out, the ones I chose were too easy. So I let him pick, and he was happier.
Dad (a.k.a. History Geek) was eager to talk about the ancestral puebloans, (formerly known as Anasazi). So he got out a map of Utah and some of his favorite books about Native Americans and did a geography/history lesson. We pretty much followed Dude's lead and talked about the details that interested him. This meant that we skipped around more than a school curriculum would, but we also kept his interest and covered way more information.
The puebloan conversation led to a general conversation about Native Americans, which led to a conversation about social justice and the way Native Americans live today compared to the past...Supersim has been fascinated with Native Americans ever since she learned about our Chickasaw roots. Mimi had given her a great book, The North American Indian Atlas, and in it we found a map that showed the bison range of today versus 200 years ago. Wow--I never knew that bison had lived all the way up into northern Canada and all the way down into southern Texas!
Then we got the globe and found all the continents, and talked a bit about some of the countries located on each. We went to the big map and looked at the line between Europe and Asia, and discussed the fact that they are separate continents even though they are connected. When we told Dudeman this was his geography for the day, he said, "This isn't geography." Yes it is. "No, this isn't what we do in school." What do you do in school? "Cells." He wasn't satisfied that we were doing geography until we asked him to locate cities and landmarks in map cells on the Utah map.
Later, we played Monopoly and he was the banker. In the evening, we all watched Nova, a documentary about the polar ice melting. Before bedtime, Supersim, Dudeman and I read three more exciting chapters of Molly Moon. Our total time doing "school" was 4 hours and 45 minutes, and he really enjoyed most of it. In my opinion, it was a great first day and much more valuable than a day at school.
Our second day gave me another opportunity to be flexible--Supersim came down with a yucky stomach virus. Dudeman had to fend for himself until I could get something together for him. So, he went to Kidwings and dissected an owl pellet.
Since Tuesday's math was too easy, I pulled out the Family Math book and we picked a game called The Value of Words. He loved it! I thought we'd use it as a warm-up and then do the "real" lesson, but guess what? The game WAS the real lesson. We played for an hour, and then he showed Mimi how to play and continued with her.
Next, I asked him to pick any book and do some reading with Mimi, while I did what I could for Supersim. To our surprise, he chose a Nancy Drew mystery. They read together for over an hour, stopping occasionally to discuss vocabulary, note the clues, and make predictions.
In the afternoon, Dude decided to make a sundial out of Legos (not sure where that came from) and test it outside. He also decorated the cover of his new journal. Our "school day" was three hours long. And my kid was happy and learned a lot.
Which brings us to our third official day. Now I have TWO sick kids (flexible! flexible!) but since they are feeling well enough to get in trouble, they are doing a bit of schoolwork to keep busy. So far they have studied erosion, animal tracks, the food chain, bald eagles, and pumas on www.webranger.us. They played history bingo, memory, and Kerplunk. They also watched Planet Earth Deserts. We read Elephants of the Tsunami, How Many Ways Can You Catch a Fly?, and two chapters of Nancy Drew.
I think they are going to study some video games next.
I can see why all the experienced homeschoolers advised me to stay flexible! And I can tell already that we are going to enjoy this time together, and that I'll learn at least as much as the kids do!