Homeschooling is really cool BECAUSE:
If we start out having a History Lesson (Caribbean People Chapter 1) and we start wondering HOW COME the Native Americans traveled from Siberia across to Canada, we can turn it into a Geography Lesson (Geography: An Integrated Approach) for a while and learn about ice ages and plate tectonics. And then get back to History another day. Then we can hike along an ancient Amerindian road, read "Amerindian Stories" and "Native American Myths and Legends" at bedtime AND drink real cocoa tea too. HA!
There are a meeeelion Math websites out there, complete with explanations for homeschooling Math Mummy Dummies (me) and quizzes and games (them). The idea of doing math on the computer makes the boys wild with excitement. They love the timed quizzes, which keep their brains ticking. We are going more in depth with some things, for example learning the times tables beyond 12 and looking at old topics in new ways.
We have old Secondary School textbooks for history, geography and science and they are good. We haven't had to buy ANYTHING yet, except for a few new little reading books for Max. We have lots of paper, and a huge container of coloured pencils in every colour of the rainbow except red. And I refuuuuuse to buy a pack of coloured pencils just because we have no red, and this homeschool has furthermore OUTLAWED the colour red until further notice. Does anyone else have this problem with red pencils? I suppose in a civilized land one can just go out and BUY A RED PENCIL?! Please advise.
Chas and Sam are avid and voracious readers, and love poetry. When I checked recommended reading lists, I realised that they have already read their way through most of them. They also love to read textbooks, probably because both their parents are nerds who read textbooks. We have been "Setting a good example" by our nerdiness. Sam is reading "Inkheart" at the moment (we haven't seen the movie), which will hopefully keep him busy for a while. I have a hard time finding MORE BOOKS and one thing we are missing is the school library.
The boys are all mad about science and have always been permitted (and encouraged) to do messy experiments. We live in a great place for outdoor science and have had cool pets (arachnid, reptile, crustacean, amphibian, fish, bird, mammal). This weekend Chas and Sam went on a hike in the rainforest with their amazing grandparents, a University Researcher and his two assistants, a knowledgeable guide who is a close friend, and other enthusiasts. Many Biology questions were answered. And some have been asked, such as "What ARE those bites? The ones we get from watery places? That itch for days? Are they from bugs?" And next time we go there, we must take the little microscope and see if we can't see the microscopic blighters. Then, we can PLOT THEIR DOOM!!!! (Plotting doom is educational. Comes under "Modern History and Political Studies".)
We don't have to spend hours and hours every day sitting in rush-hour traffic. My back is thankful.
Chas and Sam can do plenty of stuff together as they are in grades 4 and 5.
The boys are smart. They love to learn. They are a joy to teach, and they retain information wonderfully.
We can speed ahead in the subjects that come easily. Sam used to weep at the repetition of school. And we can go over and over the topics that need extra help. For example, Max has been learning his four times tables and doing games and quizzes up to four. When he is ready, we will move on. He has a great memory, so it won't be long. Max needs plenty of reading and handwriting practice, though, so we are working on that.
Sean is getting into the science action in a big way, and the boys really enjoy having his attention.
Everyone is getting more exercise. Sean fixed up the boys' bikes and they zoom off into the village and around the estate like wild things.
We get through everything in the morning between breakfast and lunch, and then the rest of the day they are FREE! FREE! Although they appear to drift back to "school stuff" like projects and reading and writing later in the day, without any prodding. I also plan on working more academics into bedtime story time.
We have been eating more healthily. The boys have been helping with the cooking and baking.
We have an idea what we ought to be doing next in most subjects. They will be going to school again next term, so we need to make sure we don't miss anything. I hope there are no gaping holes in our system, but I guess next term will be a new school year so there will be some revision and these kids pick stuff up quickly.
Chas says: "I love it. Things get done a lot quicker and we can exercise a lot. And I get to do more on my website." (Mr. energy is benefiting from between-lesson pogo sessions)
Sam says: "Saturday and Sunday! Haha! Typing. Doing stuff on the computer."
Max says: "Typing and computer." (Copycat!)
I have been having a break from them all from time to time: Getting a haircut, taking the boys to visit buddies and having tea with the other Mums, going out with girlfriends on Saturday night. Sean's help has been wonderful too. So I don't want to strangle anyone. Amazing. If this keeps up, we will be sad when "real" school starts back in September.