Sometimes homeschooling is fun. Sometimes it feels more obligatory. This week Brian and I have been fighting a (thankfully, minor) cold. It isn’t wiping us out entirely, but in addition to the stress of job hunting, home repairs, and temporary living situation, we are both drained. And I am supposed to somehow muster up enough energy and enthusiasm to teach.
When this happens I tend to fall back on a few things. One is Progeny Press book studies. I love these studies because I can read great books that we already own (Mr. Poppers Penguins, A Cricket in Times Square, or Little House on the Prairie to name a few) to all the kids and we can do a book study together. The twins are a bit young for the upper elementary studies, but I often find lap books or smaller studies for their age range to go along with the book study. We work on these studies for 4-8 weeks, depending on how much we do in a day. This week we started reading The Little House on the Prairie and discussing it. I am a little embarrassed to admit this, but I never actually read the series when I was younger, so it is kind of fun to read it for the first time with the kids.
Another curriculum I use on days like this are Evan Moor books. They are simple and easy to use and often times I find it easy to adjust the lessons to the kids level. The book we are using this week is the geology book, found here. I like how I can use this book with all of the kids as well. Once again, I adjust to make the lessons usable for all of our kids. For instance, we recently started discussing rocks. Last week Vincent’s assignment was to research the three main types of rocks and do a presentation to all of us on those three main types. After his presentation we separated our rock collection, dug into some more research, and discussed it using the Evan Moor book.
This week we used the science experiments to “make rocks.” We basically made various food items in the same way rocks were made. We used corn syrup, sugar, and other materials in an attempt to make lollipops (igneous rock). The candy didn’t hard properly, but it mostly worked and the kids learned that igneous rock comes from rock cooling and solidifying from magma.
Today we made rice crispy treats in an attempt to help them understand sedimentary rocks. We added the Rice Krispies cereal, then he gooey marshmallow mixture, and then each kid added a “rock,” a piece of candy or cookie to add to the mix. Often, when sedimentary rocks are made other rocks are mixed in. After adding their rocks we mixed it up and waited for our treats to harden. It lead to a great reminder on how sedimentary rocks were made.
It’s days like this that I feel like I can actually do something, even when inside I feel like I am failing. We are in the middle of confusing, unstable, and uncertain time – yet I can have an easy, informative lesson that the kids actually enjoy. It gives me some peace in the chaos. And as I look back through the old blog posts (yes, all 210 of them that were accidentally emailed to many of you…still so very sorry about that) I realize just how important these hands on learning times are. I am reminding that they find joy in these times and they also grasp some concepts from them as well.