Monday, 28 June 2010

Staying Home ... or Not

To my mind, there’s nothing better than staying home to learn and to live.  We spend our 2 1/2 hours every morning in our school room, not always getting through "the plan", but always focussing on something that’s interesting and stimulating.
The picture to the right, for example, was taken on a day we had been learning about whales in the Apologia Science text, called "Exploring Creation with Zoology 2: Swimming Creatures on the 5th Day."  The photo shows how long a blue whale actually is, tracing back to our starting point where the sidewalk ends in the distance.
One welcomed addition this year is our opening routine.  We do stretches called "yes, no, maybe", starting with our heads (yes and no are self-explanatory, but maybe is tilting your head side-to-side to point each ear toward your shoulder).  
Then we have adapted an idea called Five Rhythm Dance to a music appreciation segment.  Using something like "Bolero", we start off with slow, very long movements for a few minutes, then move into karate-chop type gestures.  Finally, we switch over to "Ride of the Valkyries" and do crazy dancing. 

Finally, we choose something like Vivaldi’s "Winter" and just lie down and listen.  The kids are learning about composers and compositions while getting some exercise.  
We try to stick to routine most days, because if we go out too many times in the afternoon each week, or have too many people over, we have problems with the "living" part of our day — that is, we can’t keep up with our daily fire-fighting chores, much less get ahead with de-cluttering.
Never the less, there are times when opportunities arise when a field trip or friend’s visit should be welcomed: carpe diem, seize the day!  We took one of these when we received a voucher from the local wildlife park which saved us one child’s entry.  It was enough to pack us off to the animals for a day.  Hardly anyone was there, so we had the swings and slides to ourselves, could stand front-row to watch penguins eat, and pet all the goats and sheep until our hands felt like lanolin gloves.
So, there are distinct advantages to being an eclectic homeschooler, especially that of having an adaptable routine.  We just call such flights of fancy by the name of "nature study"!

Are there any routines you find helpful?  Post them in the comments box below.


  1. I have to say we're not a 'routines' sort of family, well leastways not when it's just me and the kids, (dh has a whole different approach to the day {g}).

    In terms of home education we go through phases of having busy weeks filled with regular and spontaneous social and 'educational' activities, and then perhaps a month or more of quieter times. Most of what we do is dependent on weather, company and mood and therefore very flexible.

    The only routine I do find useful is to have at least one 'home day' a week (usually Friday).This is designated a 'tidy up' day, a day when I try and get the house under control,empty bins, clean bathroom, put some stuff away, the kids clear and vacuum their rooms, etc. As a resistant housewife I find it easier to devote one day (with loud accompanying music and interspersed with baking and home admin) on housework, than spend all weekend (and usually all week) distracted by undone and half-finished chores.

  2. Hi

    Your music warm up routine sounds fun, I think we will try it. I think it will get the blood rushing to our heads. p.s if you are ever going back to the wildlife park let us know we have passes (we can take the dog!). I have a blog which I have just moved to, its not solely HE but more general family stuff (which inevitably includes HE) but you might like to take a look. sx

  3. I like this idea of taking Fridays off. I guess that's why big-time curricula programs like Sonlight offer a 4-day schedule, to allow the 24/7 lifestyle to actually take a break and try to get on top of things.

    A bit like a Sabbath, though our Sundays are inevitable interrupted by swimming training. Perhaps like a vicar, we need to identify a weekday to be our sacrosanct day, where we stay home and stay focused on the chores at home.

  4. hello! i saw your blog link on the deut yahoo group! very interesting as i have 4 boys from age almost (6) down to 7 months. (i also happen to be an american living in england...birmingham to be exact!)

  5. Oooh. American in England. Tell me more! It seems sensible for us to choose homeschooling, with our country starting formal schooling after 6 rather than 4 as in the UK. I started "just till she's older", but six years later, haven't looked back. What a fun journey!


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