Thursday, August 26, 2010

Thinking About School

There has been a touch of fall in the air lately.  It's kind of nice, on the one hand.  Fall is my favorite season.  On the other hand, it naturally induces some sort of panic deep inside me.  Fall is the time of year we batten our hatches for the winter.  Although we are not quite at that point yet, this weather has been making me very aware of it's impending arrival.  Fall is also the time school traditionally starts. 

As a homeschooling family, we are a bit more free to work out our own schedule.  We never start officially working until after Labor Day, and even then it's loose until the harvest has been completely pulled in and taken care of.  During this time, we focus more on independent learning, reading, arts, etc - things the kids can do without much guidance from me.

Our homeschooling atmosphere has changed every year since the beginning.  Each year we seem to find a new spot that suits us better.  My husband's cousin picked up a couple of old desks a local school was getting rid of, and she gave them to us!  The kids were so excited to have these "new" desks.

Sweetpea graciously cleaned them all.  There are 2 new-to-us desks like this:

And the old wee one I picked up out of someone's trash 6 years ago.

After they were cleaned, we set to finding places each kid will be comfortable working.  Sweetpea's stayed where it has been for the last 6 years - in one corner of our dining room, where Munch used it when she first started, where Boy used it last year, where she will do all her most difficult work for the year.

Working hard and staying very very focused, as every 3 year old must do.

Sweetie, your shoes are on the wrong feet...


Boy chose a place to work in another corner of our dining room, directly under one of the wall sconces that he considers his own personal light.

Since he is entering the first grade (hard core work, to be sure), he is anxiously awaiting the start of the year.  He did ask if he could have Saturdays and Sundays off each week since Daddy is home those days.  Of course.  That can be arranged.

Munch, who is starting 5th grade, is not so anxious to begin.  She's very content to read the Narnia series and the first Harry Potter book over and over and over and over again.  She has chosen (if she must choose) to work by the window in the living room, providing plenty of scenery for her weary eyes.  As the child of 2 parents who wear glasses, she is quite determined to Never Ever have to wear them in her life.  I hope she can do it!

We are on the lookout for a new and cute thrifted chair to replace this one for her.  Something cute and girly to entice her into her studies!

Our homeschooling style has been very eclectic from the beginning.  We don't purchase any curriculum packages.  Instead, we go to the library and search the shelves for any old textbooks we might be interested in using.  Then I search the web for used copies of these books using to find what I am looking for.  We tend to use many workbooks for the younger grades, and then move to the used textbooks as they get older.  For many subjects, our only resources come from the library.  We choose a topic and then search out the computerized card catalog for books that will teach us about what we want to know. 

It does take some effort to piece together materials like this, but we find it rewarding.  It gives us the freedom to custom tailor each subject to our children.  And we save a lot of money (not to mention natural resources) by purchasing used books and utilizing the library.  Afterall, that is what the library is for!

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