Sarah’s Guide to Relaxed Home Education

In this edition of the Walston Family Nonsense Posts, I will attempt to give you all a good idea of how I go about home educating my four delightfully bright children. (Was that cheesy enough?) But in order to see how this home school works, you are going to have to connect the dots. Because really – that’s how I do things around here!

Dot Number 1: Wednesday of last week we went to the library and heard a presentation by Ranger Tom about our local Missions which are National Parks. The children were given some worksheets to complete, after visiting a mission or two, and once they do that they can turn their assignment in and they will become Official Junior National Park Rangers! How Very Exciting!!! We made plans to “go to the Missions soon.” (Which really meant I wasn’t all that interested in finishing the project Ranger Tom had just started for me.)

Dot Number 2: This week, on Tuesday, in our unit on The Weather from Considering God’s Creation, the children learned about mountains and precipitation. They learned that the side of the mountain that is closest to a body of water will be the most fertile due to many factors like wind, air pressure, height above sea level, etc. We also learned, obviously, that “the other side of the mountain” will not be as lush and is much dryer. Sometimes a mountain will be green and full of vegetation on one side, and dry as dirt on the other. It’s just how it works – it’s the crazy weather!

Dot Number 3: On Wednesday of this week, Royce was home from work and lo and behold! We decided to go to the Mission San Jose! Will wonders never cease?! The children completely forgot that we had told them we would take them to Fiesta Texas! I guess the prospect of getting their Junior National Park Rangers Badges was just way more exciting than an amusement park! (Whatever.)

Dot Number 4: As we were walking over a small bridge which crossed over the irrigation ditch that ran water into The Grist Mill at Mission San Jose (which is the oldest working grist mill in Texas!) I noticed that one side of the land was green and lush and the other side was dry and brown. I thought this was really strange because, obviously the one side wasn’t parched due to lack of water! About that same time the wind blew and I realized that OH! Oh oh oh!! That’s from the weather lesson!! That’s why the one side is green and the other side is brown – the wind is carrying precipitation across the irrigation ditch to that lush side of the lawn while the other side of the lawn, which was not on the receiving end of the wind pattern, was dry and parched and lacking of any noteworthy green grass blades!

Dot Number 6: I immediately called the children’s attention to the fact that one side was brown and one side was green. I asked them why they thought that was. Adri had some silly answer. Ean said, “Because.” Claire said, “I’m hungry. And Hannah said, “Oh because the wind – it’s like the mountain!” And then they all went, “OH YEAH….” And we got to talk about our lesson from Tuesday regarding weather, wind, mountains, precipitation, etc.

Kids’ Home Schooling Experience Completed.

I turned to Royce and said, “Oh! This was what I liked about home schooling so much. You get to help the kids connect the dots!!” And so…more important than the childrens’ experience….it was….

Mom’s Home Schooling Experience Completed!

Most people would have just walked right past that irrigation ditch and wouldn’t have given it a 2nd thought!! *Snide humph.* We are just so much smarter than your average folk. What can I say.

Here’s Hannah checking out the Grist Mill – we got to talk for a little bit about what the mill was and why it was useful. She thought it was really cool!

All in all – in the past week – we’ve covered Texas History, National History, Local History. Spelling, Language Arts, Handwriting (worksheet and workbook they completed about the Missions). We’ve worked on oral reading, listening skills, and we’ve been making synaptic connections between the things we’re learning in the classroom and the world around us. That’s very important. We’ve also covered Science and we’ve had 2 really cool field trips. (The Library and The Missions!) And that’s just from these two events. That doesn’t even count the handwriting book Adri and Ean are working on, Hannah’s 1st grade skills she’s working on, Ean’s Animal Workbook he is doing for fun. The reading logs they are keeping for several places in town to get free books. Or the unit study we are doing on Neil Armstrong using Beyond Five in a Row Curriculum.

And I don’t DO lesson planning!!! That’s the best part. Really – aside from getting the basic things I need, I do not spend time planning out family lessons. I shoot from the hip and aim for the best and my kids’ have no idea that I’ve skipped over most of the 1000+ activities suggested so far in the various unit studies we’ve worked on!! Seriously – what Home School Mom has time for all that AND blogging??

Of course, we kind of haven’t done math in a while – but we’re going to pick that back up in July – after I get back from Michigan.