Wednesday, February 27, 2013


My view of homeschooling has changed in such a good way.  Things are just naturally coming easier.  I'm not expecting more from my children than they can give at 4 and 7 so the occasional battle over "school work" has changed.  I'm trying to change the vocabulary I use during the day too.  Changed "school work" to "seat work".  Nathan is seeing that it is only small segments at a time and he is really focused.  Now I also refer to all the other "fun" stuff as school too.  It's such a simple little change that makes such a big difference.  Zachary has been home several days due to the snow and he has been totally excited to do school with mom.  We are just going to breeze through the rest of this year.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

In regards to this morning's post....

I can easily answer the following question, "What homeschooling method do you use?"

We are Secular Charlotte Mason homeschoolers. 


I guess, by now, as homeschoolers, we should have an official homeschooling method.
Classical, Charlotte Mason, Traditional,  Montessori, Waldorf, Unit Studies, Notebooking, Unschooling... ?

Trying to fit into any of these makes my toes curl and my head hurt worse than the Enlarged Middle Turbinate.  I find that I homeschool the same way I taught public school.  I was never satisfied with a boxed curriculum.  I was never really satisfied with doing the same things the same way day after day.  I got bored as easily as my children.  Earlier this week I posted about officially calling ourselves homeschoolers and the peace that it brought me.  I think at the same time I realized that being comfortable with our "method" also brought peace.  Even though I didn't know until this morning that I was even suppose to have a "method".

We are Eclectic homeschoolers.  According to the homeschooling world, this isn't an actual method but a term for a mixed bag homeschooling approach.  So for us that means... and is all subject to change when Zachary starts showing his learning style...

Charlotte Mason's small 5-20 minute lessons, living books, nature studies, art, and habits.

Theme Units to organize our curriculum and tie everything together.  Nathan and I like to have some glue between things.  Units make it easy to tie our Reading, Science, and Social Studies together while still allowing flexibility on specifics.

Montessori's hands-on approach. I introduce every math concept with manipulatives. The manipulatives are out and available for use and play at all times.  I didn't use them much for Nathan when he was learning to read because he just seemed to know how from the beginning.  But I am using a very montessori sensory approach to teach Zachary reading.

Unschooling to emphasis the important relationship being siblings.  A great deal of our day is spent with my boys just playing together.  They hardly ever fight and come up with some truly amazing things to play.  I easily see this as learning.  We often "study" something that arose from a playtime.  This is one of the top benefits to homeschooling... the relationships between brothers.  Unschooling to allow student's interest to lead curriculum.  I'm planning to allow a lot more of this upcoming school year.

We throw an occasional lap book into the mix. Nathan really likes them.  And I guess I'm still a little Traditional too.  I do think there is value in seat work to learn and practice math, handwriting, spelling, grammar, and map skills.  Nathan and I have worked out a deal. I promise to keep seat work  to a minimum daily and he gives it his full attention for the short amount of time it takes.  Funny, as I typed this all out, I answered a few questions I had of myself.  I actually think all the things I listed above could fall into a CM method.... hmmm. I guess I need to keep thinking about it.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Old enough?

Today, I gave Nathan a recipe for Snicker Doodles, measuring cups, ingredients and walked away.  His immediate response, "MOM! There's no way I'm old enough to cook by myself." I told him to just do his best and have fun.  He was too stressed out to enjoy himself and I immediately decided that we would do this every week.  I just ordered a William Sonoma Kid's Baking Book.  I can't eat the cookies because they are made with real flour, but Nathan reports that they are good even though they are a little crunchier than we prefer.

We also decided to make snow shoes for playing in the 14 inches of snow.  We recently watched a show about Snow Shoe Hares and got the idea.  FYI... duct tape is great at keeping moisture out, but terrible for traction.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

I hope....

my boys never outgrow Little Bear.

Skateboarding Block Robots of Science?

Today I feel terrible.  I've been suffering, literally, since September with sinus infection after sinus infection and allergies.  I haven't worn a contact in my left eye since November and can't comfortably wear glasses either because the pressure they cause on the bridge of my nose.  I finally have answers to my problem, Giant middle turbinate on left side of nose, but I still don't feel better.  I started allergy shots 3 weeks ago.  I totally should have skipped today's shot because I am clearly getting another sinus infection, but I went anyway.  I'm itchy all over and feel 10x worse than I already felt.  And I have a large hard whelp at the injection site... ugh! All perfectly good reasons to do nothing but feel sorry for myself all day.

But my boys are delightful today and they are not allowing me to feel anything but happy and grateful! Nathan and I quickly got through our seat work and moved on to science.  We are studying simple machines and his instructions were to write his own experiment.  He has robots on the mind so he decided to build a variety of different models of wood block robots and see which were the best incline plane skateboarders...OK! Sounds good to me! (Seriously this is what science is about! Exploration, invention and imagination)

The robot construction was temporarily delayed by the World's Best Snow Day Weather EVER and experimental gluten free dairy free drop biscuits.  (I tasted them while the boys were still playing and quickly made a non gluten free dairy free batch too.)

It's 2:30 and the rest of the day's agenda is playing piano, reading The Magician's Nephew, sipping hot cocoa, working on robots and other random art projects for Zachary's preschool.


Wednesday, February 20, 2013

A glimpse into the Price Family Homeschool

I like having a schedule.  But every time I try to say we do blank at blank time and then blank at blank time I get frustrated because it just isn't our nature.  My boys wake up in the morning and can't wait to play together.  I need a couple cups of coffee and to play fetch with the dog.  Sometimes these things only take 30 minutes, but frequently we need longer to get going.  So I'm trying a new Chunk schedule.  After all, I don't want to try to recreate a public school classroom at home.  I don't need to be that strict with schedules because I don't have 25 kids to teach.  So here's a glimpse into our daily chunks.  Zachary still goes to preschool on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday mornings.  I have to say I'm super excited for him to be home full time next year.

AM FAMILY CHUNK -  Feed and Fetch Sadie, Free play, Coffee, Mom's workout, Nature Walk     (with Sadie), morning chore

AM CORE SCHOOL CHUNK- Breakfast with Book (I read aloud a picture book every morning during breakfast), Language Arts, Math, 2nd grade Science & Social Studies on MWF, and FAMILY Science & Social Studies on TT

RECESS LUNCH D.E.A.R CHUNK- Gross motor free play, lunch, and reading in bedrooms (Nathan reads for 60 minutes, Zachary does 20 minutes alone and 25 minutes with mom.)

PM SCHOOL CHUNK- Arts and Crafts, Music, Family Science, Baking, Unfinished morning work

PM FAMILY CHUNK- Walk Sadie, afternoon chore, chill time, dinner, etc.

One morning, not so long ago, we had breakfast hotdogs cooked over the fire pit.  Boys put goggles on to protect their eyes from the smoke.

It looks so clean and orderly when all typed out.  But there is lots of time between all these chunks to play. We also do a few classes during the week... piano lessons, gymnastics, art, wrestling, and jiu jitsu.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

We are homeschoolers.... there, I said it!

I can't remember all the details (who am I kidding?) of how it all came to be.  I'm truly not sure when the line got blurred and the internal transformation happened.  But... It has happened officially and joyfully!  This isn't a reaction or a phase this is a way of living and learning as a family.

Last night, I realized that something has changed a little over the course of a few months.  And maybe last night was the first time my brain was allowed to stop and have a big picture moment.  I spent hours reading homeschooling websites and blogs last night and it all sort of hit me.  I woke up this morning feeling rejuvenated and excited.  We are homeschoolers.  We like learning together.  We like to be home.  We like spending most of our day together.  This is a choice to give this sense of family to my children.

When you tell people you are homeschooling many of them (friends included) will look at you like you are crazy, or you must have a special child, or you are the mom that just can't let go.  Even though I can say those things aren't true, there are moments when I wonder if I just don't see it as clearly as others.  I've had lots of those moments in the last 18 months. Moments when I question my choice to homeschool Nathan. Moments when I wonder if this is all a reaction to fear.  Fear that my child will...? or won't...? or the school will...? or the school won't...?

But today I know this is not a reaction to fear.  It was a reaction to love. And now it isn't a reaction to anything.  IT JUST IS!