Monday, September 17, 2012

Homeschooling When I Don't Have a Plan for the Day

Sometimes I wake up pretty early in the morning and can't get back to sleep feeling guilty I didn't plan anything.  Today was one of those days.

I knew we'd read another chapter or two in our Dragon book since it's due back at the library this week and we really want to know how it ends.  Right now the baby dragon has been captured!

Other than that I didn't have any definite ideas of our day.  I knew I had to have faith and just let our day unfold.  Often I find the days we don't plan anything and just follow our interests we learn the most.



After reading two chapters while eating breakfast, we ended up watching a short web video on how cider is made for science. I figured with our trip to the orchard coming up this weekend it would be great to watch this video today.  On our last trip to the orchard, I asked the boys if they remembered watching how apple cider was made on a field trip they took during pre-school but, other than remembering that the apples were squeezed they really didn't remember.  This was a great visual demonstration. 

We talked a bit more about plants and how they grow and checked on our bean seeds, apple seeds, and pineapple plant.  Alec's bean plant is the only thing growing- in fact it's almost grown out of the bag!  Evan's bean plant must have had too much water since it's moldy and Ian's beans don't seem to be doing anything.

Alec's bean plant- isn't it big?
We started our next art project; a stained-glass-on-paper painting. I found this on That Artist Woman's website and I'm finding more and more I am relying on her ideas for art. I just love the projects she comes up with and it's great to be able to see a finished project before we start.

Alec chose a Luna Moth (because and I quote "it's the biggest of all moths, it's the size of a cereal bowl! And it only comes out at night!").


They really struggled with the drawing part of the assignment and I regretting allowing them to choose their own subject.  Evan quit without even touching his pencil to the paper.  Ian hated his drawing when he was done and flipped the paper over to try again.

I tried explaining to them that they don't have to draw something complicated to make a nice drawing.  A leaf, flower, or even tracing their hand would have looked very nice instead they were reduced to tears and ended up so frustrated

Ian ended up deciding to draw a bird anyway on his own and Alec finished his moth.  It was a bit tricky to outline the drawings with glue but we set them aside to dry and I think they look pretty good.  We can't wait to paint them!

(updated with final paintings)



We did something different for math today.  Over the weekend we were told about Shel Silverstein math.  Sounds pretty crazy right?!  Well, this site has a few worksheets made up to go along with some of Shel Silverstein's poems.

We used the poem Band- Aids today.  My kids are familiar with this poem and it's a family favorite so I thought it was a good one to start with.  I love that this assignment combines math, reading and poetry in one and it was something neat and fun since the poem "is just hilarious!"
        
I was also hoping to get the boys to work on their Alphabet books we started last week but wasn't sure if I was up for the whining of "writing... I hate writing!"  I had checked out a some alphabet books from the library as inspiration so we spent a bit of time reading those today.

 I was excited since many of them were about the United States and I figured that covered our government/ history lesson for today too.

We read A is for America; an American Alphabet


D is for Democracy; a Citizen's Alphabet


 M is for Majestic; a National Parks Alphabet. 


 I set the older boys to working on their books and gave them a few options:

  • They could work on the words for each page or the pictures or some of both.  
  • They can draw the pictures, use Internet searches to print out pictures or use the camera to take pictures. 
  • I told them this is a rough draft start to the story so if they find another item they'd like to use for one of the letters other than what they wrote down they can change it.  They are the authors and they're in charge.  
  • It doesn't have to be neat or perfectly spelled or punctuated but I wanted them started.  
Ian wrote the words to two of his pages and Alec wrote the words and drew the picture on his Antelope page.  It was a very short but sweet 10 min. writing activity without any complaining.
       
We finished "school" by lunchtime and watched a show on DVR called The Great Barrier Reef.  It was really neat.  We learned so much.   There were many unusual animals and animal behaviors shown.  We also learned the history of the area.  I had no idea the great barrier reef was so young and that it had once been above water.

Great Barrier Reef, The (BBC)


We listened to some books on CD in the car while running errands;

 I, Crocodile (again!)


Waiting for Wings


This Land is Your Land


Rikki Tikki Tavi


It's amazing to me all that we manage to get done when I don't have a set plan in place!  In fact not planning seems to work so much better for us as I relax and let the boys immerse themselves in what we are doing rather than watching the clock and thinking of everything else we still need to cover for the day.

For now I'll stick to homeschooling without a daily plan.

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