Friday, September 25, 2015

Weekly Wrap-up ~ The Hard Things, The Fun Things, and Why Homeschooling Really is Superior


I have got quite an opinion about homeschooling. I think a home education is superior to a public school education. There are a lot of reasons why I feel this way, and I will cover some of those reasons this week.

We started out our week with a visit from Aunt Julie and Uncle Milton (Rick's sister and her husband of 30 years .. Happy Anniversary!!). So Monday and Tuesday's schoolwork consisted of family time, board games (a new WWII era game called "Memoir '44"), educational video games (see below), a historical movie (see below), and reading. We still accumulated some school hours, although not as many as a regular school day, but more importantly we accumulated some valuable family time. If the kids were in public school they would have missed out on time with some of their favorite people.


The Hard Topics


Do you let your kids study the hard topics?

World War II has some pretty tough stuff for us to learn. I do not believe we should water down the truth of history. If we don't understand our history, how can we move forward? This week we learned about Hitler's SS officers and then watched "The Boy in the Striped Pajamas". At the end of it we all just sat in stunned silence.


I got to thinking ... if one of the kids would have come home from public school and told me they had watched this movie, would I have been upset as a parent? Probably. It's a heavy topic! So why was it okay for us to watch it at home but it wouldn't have been okay for my kids to watch it at school? As a family we sat together and discussed the role of Hitler and his SS officers. We discussed the discrimination against the "lesser classes". We paused the movie to make sure everyone was understanding what was really happening. We experienced the tragedy of the holocaust instead of just popping in a movie for kids to watch. (I have seen that scenario played out many times in public school. The lesson is the movie. I am not saying every teacher does that. But I see it done more often than not.) This won't be the last time we talk about this topic. It will be woven into the rest of our studies about Hitler and his role in WWII. The next morning Brynne shared with me how disturbed she was about the movie while going to sleep. We were able to discuss it, because I had watched it with her and knew exactly the emotions she was experiencing.

The kids need to understand just how evil Hitler was, and that there is still that kind of evil in our world today. With an upcoming presidential election, they need to understand the importance of wisely electing individuals who will govern our nation.

I am sorry, but studying this at home for our entire school year is far superior to studying it in public school for a day or two and then moving onto another topic so it can be crossed off our list. World War II was the major turning point for our nation. It can't be properly covered in a few days, and I do not believe a public school can properly manage the emotional side of educating a room full of children.

The Fun Things


Another reason why homeschooling is superior is that kids are still allowed to have some fun. We try to do interest-led learning whenever we can fit it into our schedule.

Right now Brynne is taking a Minecraft class called This Amazing World. She is learning about the Grand Canyon, The Northern Lights, The Great Barrier Reef, and other amazing places in our world. Eli isn't as much into Minecraft as he is into Roller Coaster Tycoon 3. Since Brynne puts in about 6-8 hours a week on her Minecraft class, I told Eli that we would develop a lesson plan for him to use his RCT program. For six weeks he will learn lessons about force, motion, gravity, kinetic and potential energy and more. He will study Sir Isaac Newton. And he will, in fact, build some rad coasters.

These lessons are fun! And they are worth the time, because it amazes me what they are actually learning, the problem solving and designing skills they have acquired. They don't have Minecraft or Roller Coaster Tycoon as classes at our elementary school. How about yours?

Sick Days


On Thursday Eli was feeling sickly. It started out as allergies and turned into a rotten cold. He spent his day in the comfy chair with a blanket, green tea, and eucalyptus being diffused next to him. He ate homemade chicken and noodles, apples, and carrots. He rested even though he was doing school work. He was able to put in a full day. If he was in public school, I would have either sent him to school with a virus that he would have passed on to other kids (not only that but he would not have learned a thing that day, or several days thereafter, because he felt so cruddy), or I would have had to keep him home from school. Homeschooling is superior in that he was able to do his school work and rest.



Today, however, he woke up with a mild fever and a stomach ache. His cold was still bad. We just had to call off school for the day. Sure we can continue to do schoolwork when we are feeling under the weather. But, I am not cruel enough to make someone think when they are running a fever. We had plans to do some catching up today, because I always leave Friday open for that and for interest-led learning. Instead we will just push off our assignments until Monday. Again, homeschooling is superior in that I do not have to follow an administration's schedule for my classroom.

WWII


Other than watching the movie earlier in the week, we didn't get to anything else in our WWII studies. We had plans to do a little introductory lesson about German Uboats and density, read about the Blitzkrieg, gas masks, bomb shelters and evacuations, and do an incendiary bomb activity. Those will be pushed off until Monday.

The Victory Garden


Each week at our enrichment class, after reading our chapters, I try to present one WWII activity and one gardening activity. This week the kids in our class mapped the Allied, Axis, and Neutral countries.


Then for gardening we learned about the nutritional value of egg shells in a garden. I have been saving egg shells for quite some time, so I let each of the kids take a turn at chopping them in the Ninja and then we went out and spread the powdered egg shells throughout the garden. We inspected the growth from our planted seeds (there is some growth), and did some watering.


Then we came back inside and made eggshell heads. The kids drew faces on their eggshells, filled them with soil and grass seed, and watered them. This week they are to observe the growth of their eggshell person's "hair" and do some creative writing about their eggshell person. It was suggested that they keep a diary from the perspective of their eggshell person, chart the hair growth, or just write a short story.

Other Happenings


Volleyball is at the center of our focus right now as Brynne is now into her season. She has greatly improved since last year. In fact, on Monday she was a beast on the court. She played so solid and even served the winning points. She kind of got a big head after that game and learned a valuable lesson in falling off the pedestal upon which we place ourselves. Last night's game was, let's just say, a humbling experience for her. But we discussed it and, I think, she is ready to get back in there are work hard.


From the Kitchen


While our family was visiting I made the most amazing quiche!! Instead of using a store-bought crust, I made this homemade one (super easy, flaky, and delicious!). To our quiche I added chopped mini portabella mushrooms, mini colored peppers, fresh garlic chives from the garden, and turmeric. We devoured it! It is definitely something I will make again!



The Upcoming Weekend


We are excited for tomorrow! Several months ago we registered for a 4-mile run (me) and a 1-mile fun run (Rick, me, Eli, and Brynne) at the Kansas City Zoo in the "Run for the Orangutans". After the runs we are served a hot breakfast and then get the opportunity to stay at the zoo as part of our race participation fee. I haven't been to the Kansas City Zoo since I was in the 1st grade, so I am very excited. Today we used a printable from the education tab on the zoo website and had the kids research an animal of their choice. We will look for their chosen animals while at the zoo. We will also be attending the "Wings of Wonder" show as part of our Further Up and Further In (The Chronicles of Narnia) unit study.


(It's not looking overly promising that we will get to go to our run and zoo day. Eli is feeling somewhat better this afternoon, but I don't know if he will be well enough for a full day out and about tomorrow. I don't want to go alone to run, and the real purpose of the trip was the free zoo admission after the races. If we can't be there together as a family, then I don't want to go.)

The Basics


In grammar we completed IEW's Fix-it GrammarThe Nose Tree! (Next week we will move onto the second level using the story of Robin Hood); we learned spelling words that are antonyms; math had us subtracting fractions with unlike denominators and then simplifying, but at a more difficult level; in writing we worked on writing a basic paragraph (We are using JacKris Publishing's Soaring with Spelling and Winning with Writing); we read several more pages in The Miracle Worker and read passages out of McGuffey's Fourth Eclectic Reader; and, we watched CNN Student News every day.


2015-2016 Hours Logged - 120 1/4 hours out of 1,000 required hours (13 hours outside home)
Plus 167 Summer Hours

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We are linking up with Kris at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers and Mary at Homegrown Learners.





4 comments:

  1. As a child, my favorite book about WWII was (and still is) Number the Stars. It made me cry the first time I read it, but I read it many times afterward. My oldest daughter also loves it. It is a heavy topic, but I totally agree with you about homeschooling being superior to public school. My children went last year for the first (and last) time, and I realized exactly why I was homeschooling, and why I would never put them in again...

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  2. What a wonder week even with a bad cold. I totally agree with you about public school vs. homeschooling. I hope Eli is better soon.
    Blessings, Dawn

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  3. Another good book to read as a parent is Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand. I had no idea of the atrocities committed on our POWs by the Japanese. As a kid our WWII lessons focused mainly on Hitler, and the Japanese were glossed over. Unbroken is an incredible story of perseverance and strength. The movie is also good, but not nearly as powerful as reading the book.

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  4. Yes! I used to be very strict and rigid when it came to homeschooling - how did my oldest get through those years? LOL - but I have a different focus coming into my 12th year. If Sam wants to take 2 hours on a science experiment, trying out different things, making adjustments, seeing what happens, we skip history or every some other subjects. If he suddenly wants to watch a history documentary on You Tube (unplanned) - why not? And if I'm feeling meh, what's a partial day off? It's so wonderful that our kids get to experience life without as many restrictions! (Although Jake does LOVE STEM school...)

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We all know that in this crazy world of homeschooling, we need all the (adult) support we can get. Please leave a comment if you so wish!