Tuesday, September 18, 2012

My "Week Off"

Well, we made it through our first 5 weeks of school and then we took a week off.  I know this isn't a traditional schedule, but that's one of the best parts about homeschooling!

We took a family vacation to Florida and in my mind that meant taking a mental break.  My kids asked if we could bring "school" with us and I reluctantly told them no because I didn't want to haul a bunch of books down with us.  We did pack a few books to read and their Leap Pads for the plane and that was about it. 

A few days went by of pure fun in the sun, but you could tell the girls were looking for something more.  We had talked about all sorts of shells, birds and fish, but they were ready to see them.  This is where our morning "ritual" started.  At 7:00 (before the sun came up) we would grab a breakfast bar and walk down to the beach.  This was the best time to look for shells and it was also the best time to look for live shells which was a hit with the kids.  They would turn over many shells and the excitement on their faces when they found a live one was priceless!

To continue our morning, we would stop by Starbucks on the way home so the adults could get some caffeine and head home for breakfast.  We would eat and then go straight back to the beach to see what we could find. 

One day I could tell the kids were getting a little bored of the beach so I asked if they wanted to do some school and they were all for it.  I took a shovel and made a smooth, flat space and called it a sand board.  This is where they could work on writing their letters.  I starting by giving them letters and words to write, then they just enjoyed writing by themselves.

This continued for a while, then I heard the dreaded question, "What are we doing next for school?"  I was hoping we had moved past it, but I was wrong.  In a desperate attempt to keep everyone happy, I reminded them of the story The Crow and the Pitcher. which we have read many times.  I had the girls fill up their buckets with water and we talked about water displacement.  We saw how much sand, shells and even body parts it took to make the water overflow.  It may not have been planned, but it worked.

In the house we were staying, they had posters of all the fish, birds, and shells of Captiva Island.  I don't think a day went by when we weren't looking at those posters talking about what we saw.  It is amazing the things kids can remember when they want.  It would always be a great conversation starter because they were always so curious.  These moments make me feel truly blessed that homeschooling is an option for our family.

For as much as I thought were weren't going to "do school" this week, teachable moments kept popping up, so I had to take advantage.  It reminds me how fun it is to teach when they are so interested in what you have to say.  It also reminds me to keep things fresh.  Even though we can't go on vacation every couple of months, there are a thousand different things we can do at home to keep learning fun for them.

Oh, and I don't want to forget to mention, we had our normal reading time every day =)

So, did I take the week off? No! Would I change my week?  Absolutely not!!

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