Saturday, June 9, 2012

This Week's H/School Journal

In our homeschool this week...
...the kids watched dvds in the car on route home from Alberta!  Most of them were not educational!

...while we were driving, we had opportunity to see quite a few animals:  cows; horses; sheep; ducks; black birds; etc etc.  What was cool was that the kids also got to see lots of babies of all of those creatures, too.  There's nothing like seeing them for real to teach the kids the names of the babies (though, for the life of me, I have no knowledge of what to call a baby bird other than a 'baby bird'!)!  I've read Seth and Lizzie many books that include references to and pictures of calves, foals, lambs, and ducklings, but this is the first time it's every really connected with them.  We often slowed down or even stopped at the side of the road when we saw baby animals in a field next to the highway.  Seth was very proud of himself when he began to remember the names of the baby animals, and he loved to screech out what he'd seen...every.single.time.he.saw.them.  With Matthew, I also talked a little about the changing landscape that we drove by:  Prairies; mountains; farmland; etc.  We marvelled together at the beauty of each kind of terrain (personally I've never found driving through the prairies to be boring - in fact, there are parts that I think are simply spectacular).  There is no doubt that the kids were amazed by how big Canada is, and how majestic (for example, Seth's marvelling over his first sight of the foothills).  I showed them on maps how much ground we covered, but that was almost overwhelming for Seth and Lizzie - I'm not sure they really got that.

...for h/school skeptics out there who worry that my children will be unsocialized or unadjusted because they exist outside of the traditional classroom setting, I am happy to report that during our two weeks of intense socializing, my kids did just great thank you very much, and with children of various ages!  There are definitely nuances of play that Seth has yet to grasp but that has nothing to do with h/schooling; and he's come such a long way that it's a little mind blowing at times. 

...we did do a little Five In A Row work while we were away, with the book called Owl Moon.  Other than reading aloud and spotting three of the four Big Cats we've been studying (when at the Calgary Zoo), we did little formal school.

...the kids learned a few things on our nature hike on Thursday: about deciduous/coniferous trees; the difference between swamp and marsh; etc etc.  Well, Matthew knew most of the stuff already, but it never hurts to repeat, right?  And of course everything's new to the little kids.

Places we went and people we saw...
...Well, given our recent sojourn to Alberta, the details hardly need noting.  I think it is fair to say that the kids and I have been highly, extraordinarily, abundantly and happily social in the past two weeks.  It was awesome meeting old friends and new, and having the time to dig deeper into all of these friendships.  I miss them all!!

...we also went to see the Royal Canadian Circus on Friday afternoon.  I'm not a huge fan of circuses, to be honest, because of the treatment of animals I've always read about, so I was glad that only one short part of the show featured animals (elephants).  The kids loved it all.

...on Friday evening, we all five went to a bbq hosted by my former colleagues.  I have seen only one of them in the past year since I became a SAHM (stay at home mom) so was good to see everyone again.  Things have definitely changed in my absence, and the dynamic felt different for me than in the past; but I have high regard for several of these colleagues and seeing them brought back many good memories.

My favourite thing this week was...
...again, absolutely the highlight was our trip.

What's working for us...
...for sure, it was a good learning experience for the kids to have to get along in close quarters while we were doing our five days of driving over the past two weeks.  That was straining at times, but they really did progress in their ability to handle this.  I, too, had to mentally adjust at times.  For example, I determined at the outset of our trip that I just needed to relax about making stops as needed...we simply were not going to be able to progress through our drive as quickly as if I were on my own.  So I stopped every two hours for bathroom and stretch breaks (and usually to top up the gas tank), and as a result there was only one time when I was hit by the "I need a bathroom - NOW" issue - on that occasion, we had just finished a scheduled bathroom stop five minutes earlier when Lizzie suddenly announced that she had to go again, urgently.  I (mostly) clamped down on my frustration (I did let out a surprised "what? really Lizzie?") and pondered how to do this in the middle of nowhere (though I did have a roll of toilet paper along for emergencies!), when suddenly, to my great relief, I saw a sign indicating an upcoming rest stop - YAY.  Crisis resolved.

Things I'm working on...
...I'm starting to get back into research related to Seth's learning and language challenges.  I think it'll be a while before I come out with something tangible here, but I'm working on it, to be sure.

...we have a little bit of work to finish up on our Big Cat unit, but by later this week we should be ready to launch into our spring/summer school plans.  I'm actually excited about it.

I'm thinking that I need to add a component to our summer plans in preparation for the Olympics.  (Thanks Sharla, for planting that seed.)  I think we'll do a short unit study about the Olympics sometime in the next month as a lead-up to the 2012 Games, which means I need to get my butt in gear to collect some ideas and activities.

I'm reading...
...sadly, not much still, other than h/school-related stuff.  This aspect of life is more than a little depressing.

I'm cooking...
...not much for the past couple of weeks, thanks to the families the kids and I stayed with in Alberta who cooked for me!  Because we were away, I didn't prepare a June menu plan and so I feel a bit like I'm scrounging for ideas every day again...I'd almost forgotten how much I hate that.

I'm grateful for...
...not wanting to be a broken record or anything, but I'm willing to risk it by saying that I'm incredibly grateful that the kids and I were able to get away for two weeks.  I'm also grateful that we arrived home safely, and I'm grateful for the friends we were with and for the wonderful memories. 


  1. Hi Ruth, have you used 5 in a row for very long> I am interested in this program for my K aged child that I have deferred for 1 year and may homeschool in the end. Also can you reccommend some h/school books for us newbie parents??



  2. Someone who teaches pre-K told me last week that her kids call a backpack a pack pack. I thought of Seth and his difficulty learning to say it the 'real' way.