Thursday, August 30, 2007

Homeschool Groups

As always, the quest for socialization continues. Overall, I'm happy with the socialization the boys get, but we're always looking for new opportunities. Last week I sent in a membership form to North Suburban Home Learners, and I'm still working hard at starting up our own preschool group.

Thus, I splurged on a membership and formed a group that way, hoping to get more members.


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Homeschooling Discussions

Doug and I have been fairly vocal in our decision to homeschool the boys for quite some time now. Aside from a question here and there, nobody in our family has seemed the least bit concerned about our choices. Now, most people would probably be content with that and let it go, assuming that their family members have no problem whatsoever with this alternative method of education. But for us, we know with some certainty that many people in our family aren't comfortable with homeschooling. I've been waiting and waiting for "the big discussion," armed with loads of supportive info, but it didn't come. I started to wonder (and maybe worry) that people know we're going to homeschool, don't agree with it, but just don't care enough to bring it up. You see, I'm the paranoid type. ;)

But, anyway.. much to my surprise and pleasure, my grandmother initiated a discussion about homeschooling the last night she was staying here. Mom, Dad, and Kristine participated as well (not Doug, he was upstairs interviewing for a dev position in the MUD/MORPG we play), and we talked for about two hours. Grammy's main concern was socialization, and though I made many good points (in my opinion, anyway), she didn't seem to convinced. As far as Mom, Dad, and Kristine, though, I think I was able to assuage a lot of their worries. And I was so pleased that Kristine was interested in the conversation and came up with thoughtful questions of her own.

I really feel like we've put so much thought and effort into our decision to homeschool (and virtually every other parenting choice we've made), that if our family has concerns, I'd love to try to explain where we're coming from and where we hope to go. While I have little desire to debate with strangers or acquaintances, I do care quite a lot about what our family thinks of us. That's not to say that their opinions/thoughts will change our minds, but I'd like them to feel as good about homeschooling as we do.


Monday, August 20, 2007

Unpleasant Surprises and Productive Mornings

We went to the Museum of Science this weekend. The boys had a good time exploring and playing with the various exhibits. Colwyn really liked the maps, dinosaurs, and archeology exhibits. After lunch, we were sitting on the upper level of the kid play area. Lachlann was sitting on my lap playing with blocks, and we were next to a display of Bernoulli's principle--a jet of air holding an inflated ball aloft at a 45 degree angle. A woman and her child asked the interpreter what was making the ball "float." The explanation he gave was.. appalling. He said nothing about air pressure, or lift, and didn't relate it to flight. He certainly didn't mention Bernoulli at all. I couldn't believe it. I mean, honestly.. a MOS employee can't explain the few exhibits he's supposed to know about?

On the other hand, we've had a great morning so far. Colwyn drew a picture for Emily and wrote both their names on it. Then we put it in an envelope, addressed it, and stamped it. Then he helped me write a letter to the Geology Department at Salem State College, asking if there are any spots around here where we might successfully search for fossils (I also sent an email to the North Shore geology club asking for info, too). We also mailed a membership form to a local homeschooling group, and when I included a check for the dues, we had a discussion on what checks are, how they work, and why we use them.

Then we went for a nice walk around the block, found a piece of bark in the grass and figured out which tree it came from, then came inside and read The Lorax.

Not bad for a Monday morning. :)

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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Social Studies

In my last post, I showed pictures of the kids and the passports we made. I cut some heavy paper into rectangles and also cut some white construction paper into smaller rectangles. Folded it all in half, punched holes, and threaded yarn through. Voila, passports. Colwyn decorated his with smiley stickers while Lachlann just hugged his almost do death. The idea is that as we learn about other countries/cultures, we'll put little "stamps" (probably just pictures we draw) to represent our imagined trip there. Our first country is Ethiopia.

We've been listening to the Putamayo African Playground CD which has an Ethiopian song on it (as well as songs from other African countries). We've looked up Ethiopia on our globe and we drew an outline drawing of it. I printed out a few maps from Enchanted Learning and we've looked at those, too. We checked out a book on Ethiopia from the library, and got Ethiopian takeout this weekend. Colwyn tried injera and dabo, but wasn't too keen on any of the wots. This morning, both boys helped me paint an egg carton that we'll use as a mancala gameboard. Sometime this week we'll also play a type of hide-and-seek game called Kukulu. When that's done, we'll make a little stamp to represent Ethiopia.

I'm not positive that he'll retain any of this longterm or anything, but I'm hoping the exposure to other cultures will at least influence his longterm ability to be open and tolerant. We'll probably go easy on the next one and do Wales.. since we're of Welsh descent, it should be pretty easy. We'll listen to Hugin the Bard to start, as well as some of our other Welsh music, do some dragon crafts, and who knows what else.

One of the other things I'm trying to get set up is a penpal family (or several, ideally). The idea is to exchange small packages with other families to get an idea of what their lives are like. It'll be fun to connect with other homeschooling families, and we'll be able to mark on a map where we send/get packages to/from. Actually, I have no idea who reads this blog, but if anyone out there is interested, leave a comment and we can work something out.


Thursday, August 16, 2007

Catching Up

Here's a little bit of what we've been up to:

Creating a passport for Colwyn:

And one for Lachlann:

Measuring things:

Baking a cake for Daddy's birthday:

Having lunch at the park with Paige:

Going to Salem Willows with cousin Daniel:

Measuring the length of an apatosaurus, using a chalk line to illustrate:

And drawing life-size apatosaurus, T. Rex, and Colwyn footprints:

That's not to mention all the other fun stuff we've been up to.. you can see pictures of hot air balloons and helicopter rides at this Shutterfly album.

We've also done our usual workbook pages, craft projects, library trips, and other goofy stuff.

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