I have to confess. I absolutely hate teaching almost any and all kinds of formal curriculum. I just hate it. It makes home schooling so stressful and so taxing. I am an unschooler, if there ever was one.

Today at the table – we had so many interruptions – one thing after another. Finally, when I walked away for the 100th time to check on why the girls were screaming at each other AGAIN…I heard Adri SINGING, “Only 23 more minutes…23 more minutes…23 more minutes!!” To which I replied – “You know what, just go outside. And don’t come back inside until I call you! I’m DONE teaching you anything this morning!” I was trying VERY HARD to understand and apply what the Konos book made look so easy. Presently, they are all outside, playing together very well, in some great imaginative game they’ve cooked up, and I’m sitting here blogging out my frustrations. But not before I laid in my bed and had a good hard cry because my feelings were so hurt by Adri’s song….

And then it hit me….but first I have to backtrack a bit.

Yesterday we took the kids on a bike ride. We stopped at Crestview Elementary to play on their playground. We’ve lived right down the street from this playground for 5.5 yrs now – and yesterday was the first time we’ve ever played there! Anyway – we found the most amazing thing!!! The playground is mulched with wood chips. I noticed that every so often there was a hole in the wood chips – looked like someone stuck a 1″ tube down in the mulch, as if they were digging mini post holes! Just about that time Royce called us over to him – he had found a rhinoceros Beetle! He was in the process of digging a hole (the beetle, not Royce..ha). So THAT is what all the holes were from! The playground was infested with them. We saw 4 beetles all together and probably 100 holes, at least. It was really something!

While Royce was holding the beetle, and we were all examining it, I taught the kids about exoskeletons and had the boys touch the beetle. Adri told me that beetles will break each other’s backs in a fight. Tomorrow we are going to go get some books on beetles and learn a little more. Then I’ll probably find some coloring pages about beetles. And have Adri do some copywork related to beetles. Then we might start a bug collection of beetles. We have lots of different types in Texas. Maybe even go on a hike for the sole purpose of looking for different beetles, to add to our collection perhaps. Or maybe we’ll just photograph them and use the opportunity to teach the kids a little bit more about photography. We can scrapbook the photos into our home schooling album. I’ll get Adri to dictate me a report on what he’s learned about beetles and maybe find a poem about beetles to memorize.

That’s my kind of home education.

Today while I have the kids all gathered around the table and I’m trying to begin this Konos Curriculum I want to do with them, I notice movement in the grass in the back yard. I see a small gray animal bouncing through the yard. It’s a HUGE MOUSE! Probably 4-5″ in diameter and his tail was 8-12″ long. BIG mouse! It’s living in Royce’s wood pile at the back fence. Of course I don’t let this moment pass us by! I have the kids hover around the back window watching the mouse eat. We tried to get a good photo of him – but he kept running off. We laughed when the mockingbird tried to get him. Dumb mockingbird. The mouse is much bigger than you! We’ve decided that Royce will just have to manufacture (or purchase) a humane mouse trap so we can catch the mouse and study him before letting him go on his merry way…but in the field across from the park…not in our backyard! It was very exciting!!

We’ll definitely be doing some science studies on the mouse. And pull out the book on Mr. Tiddlemouse from Beatrix Potter! And go to the zoo and see the different types of mice. Draw some pictures of the mice in our nature notebooks. Label the different parts of the mouse.

So, why am I so hell-bent on using a curriculum? I’m perfectly capable of creating my own curriculum and not letting “life-lessons” like the beetle and the mouse pass me by! That’s what “hit me”. We’ll cover math and reading and handwriting with simple, easy, curriculums. And I do LOVE my Science curriculum – but only because it’s so laid back! But other than that – I’m just not really interested in looking or trying or reading about any other curriculum again for a LONG TIME! Like – until we are in high school!

That’s not to say there aren’t a lot of things about our day that need to change. I’m not saying it’s just a free for all around here. You should see my “to do list” for the day. I hadn’t planned on blogging – but then again…according to my schedule, I should be sitting at the table reviewing vocabulary words (ones that don’t include field mouse, exoskeletons, wood chips, in other words – words that aren’t applicable to anything relevant for us).

On our way to Austin today we’ll listen to Classical Kids Hallelujah Handel, Vivaldi’s Ring of Mystery and Mr. Bach Comes to Call. And, also, the newest addition to our music studies – Beethoven’s Wig! It’s fantasmagorical! If you don’t have a copy of it, get it! You will love it – and your kids will too!!