Monday, July 05, 2010

Camping and other thoughts

We've been sort of camping the past few days--sleeping in a tent at night out at my in-laws' lake house, but having full access to the house. lol. My husband's whole immediate family was there, which makes for 8 grandkids and 8 adults--it's hard to fit that many people in the house, so we tent!

Influenced already by Charlotte Mason, I wished I had nature journals already for the kids. I remember we had started some years ago, but didn't use them long. I think it's a shame. In any case, my Charlotte Mason readings are definitely having an effect! I don't have all the Montessori botany and animal cards and all that; CM provides an alternative to connect with the world around us.

These camping days have also really left me wanting to get started now on some routines. One problem in the way of that is that we've got a couple more trips coming up, which will really get in the way. I guess I have to make do with what I have.

Being with all the kids, seeing some of what my 5yo niece was choosing to do, talking with her mom about my almost 10yo nephew (yes, 5yo's older brother) and his very serious desire to homeschool with us starting this fall (his parents aren't ready to make that leap yet, although it's been in discussion for years), led me to see that to serve them best, I really need to set up our time together this summer during at least August (they have one week with me in July, then off 2 weeks, then with me for the rest of August) to have some sort of "school" routine. Have lots of activities planned. I know I've said this in the past; I hope this is not just another passing fancy. I feel more emotionally connected to this idea this time.

One of the things that my nephew and nieces' mom said is that my nephew seems to have the idea that if he's at my place, he can just spend all his days on his bike or scooter--because when he comes, the kids tend to have a day off and don't do school work, so he doesn't see that side of it. So, my thinking is that if I'm already into a schooly routine with my kids, I need to keep going, incorporating some things specifically for nephew and nieces, and he will get a good feel for what it would be like, plus it'd keep my kids in routine AND provide some educational "benefits" (for lack of a better word) to them all. :)


Moving ahead to the fall, with the reading I've been doing in "Home Education" and Levison's "More Charlotte Mason Education", things are starting to sort themselves out in my head as to how to structure things. I'm not sure yet how much time to start the 16yo off with in his studies, but I did have the thought, "There is NO way he will get all of his science done if he only does 20 minutes a day!" Then I had the thought: "Don't think of it as a single course: it is 4 subjects in one course. He can do 20 minutes of bio, 20 minutes of physics, 20 minutes of chem and 20 minutes of environmental studies each day." Aha! That's already almost an hour and a half of work. Of course, his ELA will need to be broken up into handwriting, spelling/dictation, reading instruction then his actual ELA credit work. Which I have to still figure out. Same thing for his math--he can cover two topic areas in math per day. Math is actually a strong subject for him--he picks it up quickly when he allows himself to. A couple of the math units don't require that other units be done before, so I think it could work, especially if the units are different enough.


Back to this summer... (Sorry, I'm just typing as it comes. Tenting has meant not sleeping as well because of the darn birds waking me up ridiculously early in the morning and I'm very tired!) Ds was "helping" his Dad play cards last night. His Dad asked him to pick up two cards. He was playfully counting them, "Un.... deux..." So I playfully challenged to say it in German. He's forgotten how to count in German! Well, that got dd going, though, and I said a few things here and there and their grandparents asked a couple of things, so now dd has had her desire to learn German rekindled, so that's good. I do need to figure out a routine. I have an idea written out, but not specific enough yet. And I'm going to have to plan some specifics. That's one thing reading Levison's book reminded me of: When things were going wonderfully smoothly around here, I knew exactly the minimum work I wanted them to get done. Very specifically.


Okay, enough for now!

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