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Entries in homeschooling (59)


Viking bread

Our week was all about Vikings, and since our homeschool gathering was cancelled for the afternoon, we had some free time on our hands to spend in the kitchen baking like Vikings. Or maybe not exactly like Vikings; we didn't have to grind our own flour, and there was no raping or pillaging. But our Story of the World book suggested a recipe that looked suspiciously like any old bread recipe sans yeast, and while I'm not sure how that really brings us closer to the Vikings (again, no raping or pillaging, and where's my dragon boat? I want to speak to Thor!), it was a fun afternoon in the kitchen. Our very modern kitchen.

Oh, and did I mention that Calvin did this one all by himself? Truly all by himself. Of course it helped my sanity that the bread went into a cold oven. There's a first time for everything.

Oddly I have no after pictures, but without yeast the after looked a whole lot like the before.



Homeschooling provides some unique and fun opportunities. Like having your own fungus garden. Jon and I came downstairs one morning last week to find this warning on our counter:

Of course, what he really ended up growing after some time was fungi. But no need to mince words here. It was a successful experiment in more ways than one.


Turkey Trot

At Calvin's annual physical, his doctor asked him about the amount of exercise he got each day. Now, in the past we've been pretty lazy about this on a regular basis. We go hiking on a lot of our weekends, and some of our weekdays, and we'd go biking every now and again, but on a lot of our school days we didn't have structured exercise mixed in. When he asked us the same question last year, I realized that with homeschooling there was no gym class, and we started training for our local Holiday Hustle run. The first few runs he ran some and walked some, but when the race rolled around, after a month of running about 3 times a week, he finished in about a 10 minute mile.

But when the question about exercise came up this year, we were a little more prepared. Since Calvin learned to ride his bike sans training wheels this year, he would break up almost every fall school day with periodic rides around the neighborhood. And since he met the girl who lives next door and the two became fairly inseparable, he's spent almost every afternoon riding bikes or racing through our yards. His pediatrician listened to his answer this year and replied, "Oh, so you participate in the sport of RALAMM, then," which he explained gleefully to our blank stares meant "Roll Around Like A Mad Man."

And yes, I'd have to say that he does participate in that sport a lot these days. And between that, the regular biking, and the Parkour class he took weekly through our homeschooling group this year, when we started training for the one mile this year, he nailed it. The first time out he finished his mile in 10:30, no walking, and probably would have gone faster, but I was pacing him. We kept to a steady training schedule anyhow—on Sundays he and Jon biked 3 miles around Hudson Mills while I ran, and twice a week Calvin and I would run a mile together.

This year we're busy on Holiday Hustle day, so he signed up for the local Turkey Trot charity race instead—one mile around Hudson Mills trails—and the day for that was today.

Cold and rainy—not a perfect day, but not terrible like running in the Shamrock Shuffle in several inches of wet, wet snow, either. To get my own run in for the day I started out from home intending to meet Jon and Calvin at the starting line, about 6.5 miles from our front door. Unfortunately I underestimated that distance by about a mile, so I missed his take off, but I did get there just in time to see him cross the finish line less than 9 minutes later.

Maybe next year we'll sign him up for the 5k.


Still not in school

I realize that recently my blogging has become more of a “where have we been” display throughout the summer months. Jon said last night that it looked a bit like Vladimir Putin Action Man: “here is us in Stratford”, “here we are with ice cream”, “and here in front of Mt. Hood”, etc., etc.

The truth is, it was a crazy, whirlwind of a summer. We were gone more weekends than we were home, and even our longer respites in town were filled with various community activities. It wasn’t planned that way; things just kept coming up, and what started as a summer with two trips planned quickly got a tad out of hand. The last few weeks have been our longest stay at home in months, and they've allowed me at least a little time to try and catch up in the garden and the house, but we have one more trip up our sleeves.

In the past we've been year round schoolers, but this year was a little different. When we first started homeschooling we were aiming for a very unschooling environment, and our summers were little different from our falls, winters, and springs, excepting, of course, for the weather. But in the past few years, as our methods have undergone a slow but decided evolution, have found ourselves more on the side of classical schooling. Now, in the fall, winter, and spring, our mornings are often spent at the kitchen table or a like place, studying or creating together. In the summers we continue to start our days with a little dabble of math and Spanish, but the rest of the day is often spent outside doing one thing or another. I guess you could call the cooler months our classical time, and the warmest months our unschooling time.

The truth being, though, that we still live the life of home learners who find "education" in everything we do.

So this fall, with one more trip still waiting in the wings, we are waiting until October to begin our classical learning months, and we are using the first couple of weeks of September to review a bit, and to plan the months ahead. Rather neatly, Calvin is right at the end of several books—Spanish, math, science, and grammar—meaning that when we get home and pick up classical lessons in October, it will be like a fresh start.

But until then, finishing up, reviewing, previewing, and planning ahead.


4H Youth Show, 2014