This post is the first in a series of blog posts that explores a day in the life of our homeschooling family. So often friends or acquaintances ask me what we do, as if there were a nice, neat answer for that. I assure you there is not. So in this series I will describe one day: what we did or didn’t do, and why, what’s tickling our fancies or driving us crazy. I’m starting with a particularly productive day. I promise you, this is not always the case.
Let’s start by saying that Daylight Savings Time sucks. In Spring, I mean. In Fall it’s awesome. But right now I am still feeling the pinch, which really irks me because I had gotten so good at getting up early and doing my own reading and studying. Then DST had to come around and ruin it all. Can’t we find better ways to save energy? Because I am not feeling it this week. The statistical probability of my husband getting a heart attack also went up this week, thanks to this foolish time tampering. Not that this really worries me. By which I mean, I love my husband and obviously don’t want him to have any sort of illness, it’s just that it’s a statistical probability, not a real-life thing. Anyway, the real issue is that all the wonderful time I’d been having in the morning I’ll have to fight to reclaim, and it is a fight, because I am one sleeping woman. I just love to sleep.
Speaking of sleep, my awesome friend Dixie wrote over on her blog about how homeschoolers get more sleep, and the many benefits associated with that, which is well worth the read, especially if you have any teens. Last night my kids did not get more sleep, however, as they opted to keep vigil over the two eggs in the incubator. One of them hatched around midnight, and my daughter is over-the-moon with chick happiness. She was quite the dedicated egg nurse, turning them and providing them with moisture. The second one hatched this afternoon, so I felt less bad about growling at everyone when they tried to get me to get out of bed to come watch the chick miracle unfold. Really? I AM ASLEEP! I screamed downstairs, promptly sinking into agitated dreams. Anyway, it is quite a miracle, watching a little baby bird come out of something you usually eat for breakfast. We are all excited about the possibilities that have opened up for us, possibilities like Olive Eggers–chickens that lay deep olive eggs–and Sliver sebrights–lovely little bantams with white feathers trimmed in black. We can order fertile eggs online and incubate them ourselves. How cool is that?
I tell everyone we are unschoolers, that is, if it comes up, but we are not radical unschoolers. I do make my kids do some things. This morning, for instance, we did an analogy crossword puzzle. I really love these things and would actually like to do the whole book myself. (Get your own book, kids!) But there is something about working out a puzzle together that makes it much more engaging. And really, I think that puzzles are amazing mind-developing tools. Puzzles and board games. After that we wrote for about ten minutes in our journals, all four of us. It does help motivate your son if his dad is willing to sit down and write too.
The journal writing is something we hadn’t done in awhile, but that I want to pick back up. This is where I kind of diverge from unschooling. I have this idea that small daily practices build self-control and mastery. I’ve seen this with their growing skill at the piano. And because I’m not asking for a huge chunk of time, they will do these small things that I ask them. Usually.
Then we read some of D’AuLaires Book of Norse Myths, which led to an interesting discussion of Carl Jung and archetypes, prehistory goddess worship and Norse and Greek mythology. By discussion I mean that I talked and they kinda listened. But that’s OK, I think moments like that are just little seeds that fall into our minds. They will sprout when they are good and ready, or maybe not at all. Not everyone is into archetypes at the age of eleven or twelve, and I just want to reiterate and reiterate that there is more to the world that we can know.
We practiced piano and while getting ready to leave for lessons heard a resounding boom, like the sound that a bird makes when it hits a window, only bigger. I ran outside and found our darling red-bellied woodpecker, the one we have been admiring at our feeder, stunned underneath the sunroom window. He tried to fly away from me and we were all so scared that he had broken a wing but we were just enraptured with his beauty. And did you know that the tongues of most woodpeckers are very long, and the tip is hard, pointed, and has little bristles on it to catch yummy grubs? We saw this firsthand today in our poor woodpecker friend. (You can the innovative woodpecker tongue here.) And this photo is courtesy of Wikipedia:
Worried about cats, we put him in a safe room in the house and left in a hurry for piano. When we came back we hurried into the house to find him flying about, perfectly unharmed, if terribly stressed. I opened the window and took out the screen and we watched him fly off to his freedom. Hooray! We were all so relieved. Then the second chick hatched (I’m telling you, this was a bird day!), and after he was safely out of the egg we went to town to get some Pizza Pi.
Tonight we are chilling in our own ways. I am, obvioiusly, blogging. Zoë is watching Pokemon on the iPad, and Denali is playing a computer game while skyping with a friend. Later I’ll do some studying and Zoë might opt to do another lesson of Brainology, a program that teaches kids about the growth mindset. Then we might read some more of The Hunger Games. Or not. I’m still trying to get back that hour DST took from me.