Sunday, May 24, 2020

Homeschooling Week 9

We had a few more kids for homeschooling last week. It was wonderfully busy! All of the kids were happy to spend time together and we quickly fell into a good routine. We fit  A LOT into our week including our usual studies, drinking chocolate like the Aztec's and Mayan's made, learned about DNA and where zombies came from (not in the same class), had a cake competition, and played outside. Like I said, a fantastic week. Here's a peek at what our week was like:

I haven't heard a bit of argument from the kids when I tell them it's time to do things for "school." The kids keep track of our day with the schedule and our Alexa clock helps them keep track of their time doing certain subjects. These two things have helped the kids sooo much! Plus, it's easier on me. 

The cat likes to be a part of our homeschooling days. has some fun worksheets for social studies! This week alone we learned about chocolate, fireworks, zombies, and the Underground Railroad. Fun and simple learning worksheets with questions (to make sure they understand), followed by discussions or activities. The Mayan drinking chocolate was NOT a hit! The kids all thought it wasn't sweet enough, but they had a fun time making it together.

Hands on science class: we did a brief reading about sound, the kids got a chance to make their own instruments, and play them for each other.. Then we talked about the sounds they heard (high pitch, low pitch, etc.). 

Art was making clay figurines or doll size utensils and dishes.

Every Monday I have the kids journal about their weekends. Elizabeth killed me: Mom yelled at us on a hike. The hike was long. After the hike we went to the beach.
All true.

At the end of each school day, the kid's reward is playing Prodigy with each other. They love and think of it as a treat--in reality they're playing math games. Everyone wins.
I love this: the kids learn so much from each other. I love it when the big kids decide to "teach" the little kids. In this case it was letters and words.

Part of the reason homeschooling/freeschooling has been great is because we've been doing school work all throughout the day. This creates more free time off and on all day. Sometimes you can find the minis doing lessons during dinner, as Elizabeth did one night.

The three minis learned about plant and animal cells off and on these last nine weeks. The kids got to make a cell in a bag: they had to find items around the house to use for the cell parts. As they were added to the bag the kids had to tell what part they were representing and what that part of the cell did. My favorite was the Twizzler Nibs for the centriole.

I wasn't able to take many pictures during gym because I had to use the stopwatch on my phone. Each child got a turn to skip, hop, and shuffle while being timed. I was not planning on a week of dreary weather so we did this as it was misting.

The cats had a hard week. In preparing for the upcoming family addition, we moved the cats food the basement and also put some on the third floor. They were not amused, but kept us all entertained with their random meowing and sitting where their food bowls used to be in the house.

So many kids crowded around one computer for Spanish class. 

Zombies for social studies (it's actually a fascinating history) and then drawing zombies for art!

I quickly went over DNA and then the kids got to make their own strands of DNA using candy (find the activity here). Naturally, my explanation of DNA just made the kids more confused so we watched a quick YouTube video while doing cursive. 

Of course they ate them too!

We're enjoying live concerts from home these days. I was looking forward to seeing The Lumineers in concert, but this will do for now.

Despite the dreary days, the kids spent as much time outside as possible. They ate outside nearly every lunch and mastered playing while eating.

Great story while learning about the Underground Railroad. The kids wanted to see pictures of the underground railroad, thinking it's actually a railroad underground. I had to use actual examples with the kids: imagine the slaves are at the top of our hill and they needed to get to the bottom to the creek to be free. They would stop at our house, because our house was a station, or a safe place for the slaves to rest. Our house (or station) would be part of the underground railroad because it was a secret route to freedom. One child looked at me and said, "oh okay, I get it now. So we're at your house and we're like your slaves. Then we stop being your slaves and you can take us to freedom." They then proceeded to go outside for recess and played slaves and freedom. I'm winning all around here.

We learned some big differences between humans and dogs. Since the puppy will be an integral part of summer daycare, we've been learning what makes a dog unique, their digestive system, foods dogs can and can't have, and how to care for a puppy. Things are going to get interesting!

Thursday was our Cake Baking Competition! The kids were soooo excited to do this. They split into teams, had a chance to bake their cakes in between lessons, decorated their cakes in between lessons, and then we all did a taste test after "school" had ended. Everyone got to vote on their favorite cake and the winners got $1 each. 

A strawberry cake, chocolate explosion donut cake, and a vanilla almond bacon cake. The vanilla almond bacon won--it was delicious! I am so impressed with the kid's creativity and their way around the kitchen. We all had so much fun with it that I've agreed to let them take turns cooking lunch throughout the summer.

Playing math games during dinner again.

Friday's are our Free Friday Fun Days. We usually have a few projects to do (all hands on) but for the most part it's free time for the kids. I smiled to myself when I asked to them to not scream in the house (I told them we'd just go ahead and do more school work if no one listened) and their solution was to read for 45 minutes until they could go outside and play tag (while screaming). 

We put on black gloves (or socks) and felt plants and flowers for pollen. Then we discussed the importance of pollen and pollinators. It was a quick but informative activity and discussion.

While they played outside most of the day, they also played math games.

The mud kitchen has been well used once again. The kids got creative and made "mud cakes" (the one pictured below is a mud unicorn) and treats. I'm constantly amazed by the creativity in their play.

The kids claimed our backyard has a 'bird poop zone.' It turns out they're right--an area where the birds poop. They all reminded each other not to go near it or a bird will poop on them.

Lunches and snacks outside all week while they played outside. 

Naturally we ended the week in tears. Moments after the last kids left on Friday, Elizabeth came in and informed me she's "not playing with that jerk anymore!" She was referring to her brother (the middle one). And they played together all weekend, but in that moment, as she laid under the playset as he ran by, he was a jerk. 

Homeschooling, or freeschooling rather, has been a unique experience. While it hasn't all been rainbows and butterflies (I'm actually not partial to either), it hasn't been bad either. If I'm honest, I'm a bit sad that week 10 will be our last homeschooling week for now. Of course, we have a full summer of daycare ahead and many, many activities on the To Do List, so I suppose it won't be too much different than freeschooling.