Tuesday, November 9, 2010

It's Happening...

When you read about homeschooling, you hear about this phenomenon where the parents step back a little and let the kids lead the way.  I like the idea of teaching things to children when they inquire about them.  I do believe that having a desire to learn about something will lead to a more receptive learning experience and retention.

But...I also know that there are lists of things that children in school are covering.  And I don't want my girls to be left behind.  So, I have lists of things that I want to accomplish every day: handwriting, composition writing, spelling, math, science, history, geography...

This week, we missed co-op on Monday because our dog was having bathroom issues and I didn't want to come home to a mess.  Monday felt like a windfall.  We had not planned on doing lessons Monday, but we did.  Instead of using our "school room", we sat at the dining room table.  We started with graphing Halloween candy and moved on to potato chip science.  Then we did a little math (A finished the 5 bridges for her recent Life of Fred lessons) and writing.  It was very relaxed.  That night, as I was laying in bed reading John Holt's "Teach Your Own" (hmmm...are you getting the feeling that maybe this new freedom and open-ness is not coincidental?) the girls came up to show me journals that they had made and decorated and wrote in about themselves and their day: Writing and Art!  Woo HOO!

On Tuesday, we were back in our classroom, so we could use the whiteboard for geography.  Then, we did a little handwriting.  Then, A started her first Teaching Textbooks lesson.  My plan was to go over multiplication tables with P and have her recite the poem she was memorizing for co-op, as A worked on her first Teaching Textbooks lesson.  But P wanted to watch over A's shoulder as she did her math.  And I took a step back and said," Ok, we can do our multiplication later."

I went upstairs and made our lunches.  We ate while watching a BBC Television DVD "Egypt: Rediscovering a Lost World".  After eating, the girls got out their Air Dry clay and A made a relic with cuneiform writing on it while P made a tablet with cuneiform writing on it, while watching the video.  This was totally and completely THEIR IDEA.  Not mine at all.  While they worked and watched, A talked about possibly being an archaeologist when she gets older.

I know I have more work to do to really let go.  There is a part of me that still says, "This is all well and good...but we have to start our writing assignment before we get tired..."  But I am resisting.

While they were working on their clay, and I was partially watching the DVD, I got the brainstorm to make some Egyptian food.  Then remembered that we are watching some homeschooling friends on Thursday and wouldn't it fun to have a little Egyptian party???  So, while they worked on their cuneiform art, I researched recipes for Honey Omelettes, Ramadan Dumplings, Meat Kofta and Tigernut Sweets.