Not School Homeschool.
Since we have officially not enrolled Rosie in Kindergarten for this coming fall I figured it’s time to start practicing our homeschooling routine.
I’m realizing now that this will take a lot of organization and dedication on my part. We can’t just float through our days and wait for knowledge to magically appear. Unschooling kind of sounds like this is how it works, but I don’t think that’s quite true. Unschooling parents spend time facilitating activities for their kids to do that will be educational. They don’t just sit around and do nothing. This facilitation is a lot of responsibility! I have to, you know…think and research a bit.
I don’t know what type of schooling we’re doing right now. I think we are totally going to be eclectic homeschoolers. Rosie has definite ideas about what she does and does not want to do. I figure I’ll follow her suggestions while at the same time introducing new things to her and see how she responds.
Right now we’re studying whales, which is fun for both of us. We’re learning some of the types of whales and their differences. There are baleen whales and toothed whales, who knew? People seem to have this idea that to homeschool the parent already has to be an expert on everything. Not true! But you know what? I am now an expert on whales…I know plenty of astounding facts. Did you know one type of whale has a tongue that weighs one ton!? Just the tongue alone! By contrast, the brain only weighs 20 pounds.
I made some whale fact cards for Rosie, I printed them on card stock paper. The back of the cards has an anatomy diagram of each whale along with important facts: number of blow holes, life span, predators, size, baleen or toothed, diet, family (pod) size, and a few fun facts. Rosie is too little to memorize all of these things, and that’s not even the goal. It’s fun for her to be able to hold the card and see the whale, then know that wow, this whale is the size of a school bus and nurses her babies until they are two years old. Even if she can’t name seven types of whales, she does know that there are different kinds with different features. It broadens her knowledge about the world, you know? Before she didn’t even know that whales had blow holes or how they worked.
You should have seen her trying to hold her breath for 3 minutes like a Gray Whale can. She was shocked she couldn’t do it. The Sperm Whale holds its breath for 3 hours when diving down into the depth of the sea to catch giant squid for dinner! We read the book Baby Whale’s Journey about Sperm Whales. Rosie and I both loved it, what a good book!
We used a rubber basting brush as a baleen and used it to try and catch crumbled up cheerios in moving water to see how a baleen whale sucks in sea water then uses the baleen to snag tiny shrimps and krill. Then the water is spouted out of the blow hole(s) and into the air as the whale exhales. Pretty cool stuff.
We also used a dinner plate and an orange to show how large the eye of a humpback whale is. The eyeball is the size of a dinner plate and the pupil is the size of an orange. Rosie was astounded. Whales are freaking huge.
I’ve been thinking about the best way to introduce the concept of mammals to her. That will be what we learn next, along with a study of a different sea creature. Sharks maybe. I also want to show her venn diagrams. I’m thinking we can compare fish to whales and at the same time mammal vs. non-mammals.
I think next time I have any spare money I’m going to invest in a laminator. I plan to save things like these whale cards in file folders. Eventually I’ll have a folder of whale homeschooling materials, so when Ada is older I can pull it out and we can go over the same things. Perhaps at that point Rosie will be older and can take a second look and study whales more in depth for her age level.
If I save everything then I won’t have to start over for each child. Since I plan on having a lot of children…this is a very good idea. Hopefully I can be organized enough!
I also need to be sure I don’t skip anything basic that’s essential. I need to find a good days of the week song to teach her. We’ve sporadically checked off days on a calendar, but she still doesn’t have much concept of what day of the week it is or even really what that means. I wonder what age that concept naturally occurs. I think I remember fully understanding what it meant to be Monday or Saturday by first grade.
It’s surprisingly hard to find specific time to sit down with Rosie and do these things. It’s good though, Rosie absolutely loves it and she practically glows over the individual attention. She is working so hard to learn to write and read. It’s all on her own, I’m not forcing her to learn reading and writing right now. She is very motivated to do it by some internal force. She constantly asks how to spell words and begs me to show her how to write the letters.
I’ve made it my goal to do schoolish activities with her three times a week. I think this is plenty considering she’s only four. I’ve also got a goal to read at least one book a day with her, or one chapter. Not just little kid simple books, but ones that are slightly challenging to her, though still trying to keep it fun and not making it a chore. It’s so easy to get caught up in daily life and just forget to slow down and read a book together, especially now that I have Ada.
I feel like I have this homeschooing thing under control right now. That’s a good feeling.
Rosie is interested in learning more about chicks suddenly, since we now have some new ones. (See previous entry.)
This is a chick hatching from its shell.
She’s working hard to learn to write the word “chick” so she can label her pictures herself. She gets so upset if she writes it wrong and “ruins” her picture.
I love these two kids so much. I can’t imagine sending Rosie away to school all day long starting in a few months. They are such a huge part of each others’ day, how much would it suck for them to be separated all day for five days a week? I think I strongly value close sibling bonds and I’m happy to be able to foster that for them, and for future babies as well.
By the way, you can see me featured in a friend’s Spotlight on Homeschooling series here.