Wow, it’s hard to believe that October is already here. Fall has arrived here on Vancouver Island, and the wind, rain and many falling leaves are telling their story in the skies. In honor of a the new 2008/2009 homeschool year. I thought I’d share with you my top 10 homeschooling perks. Each month I will share one of these fabulous and hopefully unique little perks with you, starting with October and…
Read More of my article here at Heart of the Matter Online, which by the way has a great New Look! Look for my article under Family Life.
Wow, I can’t believe it’s been almost three weeks since I posted. What can I say? It’s summer after all! Even though we’re on summer holidays, I will try to continue to bore entertain you with a new post at least once a week.
I had mentioned in a previous post, that we were building a light hut. Remarkably, things have grown – who knew? Those of you who may not be familiar with my nurturing habits of fish and plant life, may not realize that I have a tendency to kill things. My thumb is not green, it is – er, black. Luckily I had charged the nurture and care of these young seedlings with my daughters. Who have unfailingly managed to help them grow – whew.
We still have yet to transplant the little things, but with any luck, I will charge the girls with that job too. We are after all, home learners – and that is what home learners do. Sometimes we show to learn, and sometimes we do to learn. There is no magic formula. The choice usually rides on the child’s learning style, curiosity, and enthusiasm. And in the summer, we have much more freedom to explore somewhat unstructured tasks. This is the time to learn to grow, learn to cook, learn to sew, or read a book. And yes, I know that rhymes – I never cease to amaze myself (sigh).
So without further ado – you may take a peak inside our little light hut:
Our summer holidays took us on a day trip to visit Science World, in Vancouver, B.C. This is an amazing place to take the kids and let them explore the wonders of science to their heart’s content. Pack a lunch and plan to spend the day here in order to explore all the fascinating science displays and interactive stations that are available.
Occasionally, I like to sneak in learning– kind of like sneaking vegetables into the kids’ meals. The children have no idea of all the incredibly great learning that is taking place – they think they are just having fun. It’s neat to watch the kids in this kind of environment, as it gives a parent and idea (if you’re paying close attention) as to what kind of sciences naturally appeal to them.
I also had an ulterior scheme motive, I must confess, besides subjecting the kids to a world of science. There is a Disney trip in our near future, and I had conspired thought that planning a full day of walking/exploring in Vancouver would give me a taste as to who might behave like what. This was indeed a very good experiment. It gave me an idea as to how many times people (big and small) got hungry, how many times they had to pee, how many times someone needed to sit down, how long we could walk, and ultimately: how sore everyone’s feet got. In the end it was determined that an afternoon rest and possibly a nap), a fanny pack full of snacks, a large bottle of water and much better walking shoes for everyone would definitely be in order!
But I digress, so back to Science World. The kids had an amazing time. The favourite science room was the one on forces in motion. There were pulleys to play with, giant levers to learn on, and forces of air and water to wonder about. Ever hour on the hour there was also a live science show on the main stage – a highlight for the kids, and an opportunity for everyone to sit for 20 minutes.
If you haven’t already, and you plan to visit Vancouver, BC, then consider visiting Science World with the whole family. Your kids will thank you for it (though your feet may not), and you may even end up covering a learning outcome or two for next year. Failing that, you’re guaranteed to learn a thing or two that you didn’t know before.
We wound up our school year with a final field trip that took us up island to the Pacific Northwest Raptors in Duncan, BC. Since we have been learning quite a bit about owls while reading The Guardians of Ga’hoole series (the author of these books has done extensive research about various species of owls and their corresponding behaviours and habitats), we thought we would tie in some of our learning with an up close and personal encounter with owls and other raptors.
For those of you who may not know, the Pacific Northwest Raptors specializes in:
- training and working with captive-bred birds of prey
- training their handlers
- educating the public about raptors
This is a great place to take the whole family to see these magnificent birds of prey up close, and a great way for the kids to connect what they may have read about to something visual. It’s one thing to read about how a falcon stuns its prey in the air, it’s another thing to actually *see it with your own eyes. The kids were able to see and learn about various species of raptors, including but not limited to: Eagles, Falcons, Hawks, and various species of owls. These birds were even able to put on a flying demonstration to woo the crowds. The children (and moms and dads too) were able to witness a falcon’s hunting techniques, view a Great Horned owl and his wing span, see some baby falcon and eagle chicks, and witness the majestic pass of the resident Bald Eagle Mahwe. Unfortunately, Mahwe was enjoying the tree tops a little too much to come in for a landing, but such is the way with the wild.
If you’re in the Malahat area of beautiful Vancouver Island, be sure to make the Pacific Northwest Raptors a place to visit. It’s an experience your family will be sure to remember.
*Here’s a little video of some of the falconry training that is available at the centre. Summer programs are available to children, and volunteers over the age of 13 are welcome.
I’ve been rather absent in the blogosphere, but not because of writer’s block, or lack of things to write about. As a matter of fact, I’ve been quite busy. I’ve been on vacation for the last week or so, and the hot weather has taken us outdoors. As Buzz Lightyear so eloquently puts it: “To infinity and beyond!”
But, more on that later. I’ll be updating you with one exciting learning adventure after another. And if that doesn’t keep you awake, I’ll poke you with a stick.
Things are winding downhere as far as formal learning and reporting goes. Real learning; however, never stops around here. No, we do not homeschool year round, so to speak – but informally, I guess we never stop. Even though our last portfolios have been handed in, year end conferences have been attended, next year’s curriculum has been acquired and year end reports are well underway, we still like to maintain a certain level of structure and learning.
The good news is, I’ve never had to listen to my kids say “I’m bored” over a spring or summer break – that is until recently. However; considering my eldest child turned eleven before I had to hear those words, I don’t think we’re doing too badly. One thing I noticed about home learning in our own environment, is that the children seem to function better when a specific level of routine remains consistent over the long summer break. If that routine is broken over the summer break, the children seem to develop what I call: Imboreditis.
The symptoms of Imboreditis include: persistent whining, the droning sound of I’m bored, lethargic lying about, the dragging of feet, and of course: lots of sighing. If you begin to hear the dreaded I’m bored, I’d encourage you to think creatively. Rather than passively allowing more computer or TV time, why not break into that science kit you’ve been holding on to until the appointed time. My kids have been eyeing an electronic work bench in our next year’s curriculum package. I fully intend on breaking it out of it’s cellophane and letting the kids play with it at the first opportunity. Try to refrain from doing what I used to do, which is keeping things hidden until the appointed learning time.
If you have been able to disguise school work as fun up until now, then thinking outside the box should come naturally to you. If your kids smell school work when you break out the science kit; however, you may want to try a more covert approach – perhaps playing with it yourself while the children watch you out of the corner of their eye (hehe), or perhaps involving the secondary homeschool parent as initiator.
Here is a list of attempts I’ve used successfully to ward off Imboreditis:
Keep up weekly trips to the library during the summer (it’s air conditioned too).
Participate in the Library’s summer reading contest.
Schedule weekly physical activities – a weekly hike, or bike ride.
Include weekly social outings: like a beach or park day
Break out the crafts (they make great gifts, too).
Crack open a new science kit that you’ve put aside for next year.
Teach your kids to cook or sew or build something.
Help the kids set up and run a lemonade stand in order to learn about earning money.
Take them to Mom or Dad’s place of employment for the day, and have them volunteer.
Involve them in service: helping at church, volunteering at an organization like WildArc, etc.
June can be a rather fickle month around these parts as far as warm weather is concerned – so why not think creatively before the real warm weather hits? The real hot days are not the days to break out the science kit. Those days are reserved for the beach or the much larger than anticipated pool in our back yard!
What do you do to overcome Imboreditis with your kids?
That’s right: we bought a new pool for the backyard. It’s one of those simple set pools – a no brainer. Not really something to write home about. Unless….
You see the pool we had the year before last was very similar. Sixteen by four feet deep. The problem we had then was the lack of level ground. So my super duper handy dear husband made a custom level platform that was to be the envy of all simple set pool owners who’s pools resembled a bowl of soup on a slanted table. You get the picture. So dh makes this perfectly level framed, supported platform to support our summertime pool madness. It was great! But alas, these pools are not made to last forever. Two years later we find ourselves in need of a new one.
Original Pool Platform
So, as not to mess with the custom, supported, perfectly level platform that now lives in our backyard, we wisely ordered another pool exactly the same size as it’s recently demised predecessor. Another sixteen by four feet simple set pool. When to what did our wondering eyes did appear? Was a simple set pool; large enough to cause fear!
That’s right – the dimensions of the actual pool superseded the dimensions that happily lived on the box. What do do? Dh never ceases to amaze me. He creatively and quickly, managed to carefully build out the existing platform, and managed to transform it into a new perfectly sized platform – where our much larger than anticipated pool now sits happily – and perfectly level. I stand in awe.
Newly Built Out Platform