Friday, April 11, 2014

Relaxed Homeschooling On the Go

I have showed you two days of relaxed homeschooling when we're home.  Those are average days, though often there's an art project or science experiment thrown in for good measure!  The plan for today was to show how our relaxed school days look when we're out and about for part of the day.  The reason this is important to me is because I know moms who don't like to do extra-curricular activities during the day because it interferes with school work, and they can't afford to "lose" a day.  Now I'm not advocating the whole sign up for anything and everything mentality.  In fact, I'm pretty selective with our extras because I want to choose purposeful activities that fit our family dynamic right now.  However, I'm not going to pass up on something just because it's during "school hours" on a weekday.  Education is an all-day, lifelong process.

We usually have 6 weekdays a month where we're out of the house.  Every Wednesday is Gymnastics and AWANA and every other Friday is co-op.  This was a Wednesday, though it didn't go as planned.

In full disclosure, this Wednesday I'm sharing came a week after the first two "day in the life" posts, purely because I didn't get the Wednesday or Friday of that week recorded, so you may notice the same red shirt on one and a haircut on the other child this week.  However, I really wanted to show you an "out of the house" day and why I feel a relaxed mindset is important.  

7:11 AM
Momma, my leg . . .
My leg . . .
Momma, I'm going to lay on the couch.

That was how I woke up.  You know, they come in with something extremely important to tell/show you, but by the time your eyes are open, their mission is accomplished and they've conveniently forgotten their troubles!  Everyone was up and fed by 8:00.  After that it was regular morning free time.  The kids seemed to split up this morning, with Emory in the living room lost in his pretend play and Elliott in the bedroom with LEGO.  Eleanor toddled back and forth with her "baby" that she's never liked before now.  I really think it's because she likes to say the word Baby.

I spent the morning doing bits of chores, and then trying to write out a library list for later.  I couldn't reserve anything online because I forgot my PIN number, so I was going to have to do it the traditional way *gasp* and pull the books myself!

10:20 AM
Eleanor went down for her morning nap.  Elliott came to me to show me his brick separators looked like skis. I suggested he make a mountain for the LEGO minifigure to ski on.  This posed a problem for about 3 seconds, as he contemplated how to make a sloped mountainside.  He then decided to go with a stair-step build.

11:30 AM
Yes, my boys went that long without any direction or interference from me, just minor guidance.  I'm really learning to trust Masterly Inactivity.  Hearing Emory's imaginative stories when he plays is enough for me not to interrupt and impose anything else on his little mind!  Anyway, I served lunch to the boys, then shortly after Eleanor woke up and ate.  Then I directed my little people to start tidying up and getting ready to leave for the afternoon.

12:25 PM
We pulled out of the driveway on time!  I had a headache at this point, but didn't think much of it at the time.  On the way to gymnastics, we listened to the rest of My Name is Handel:  The Story of Water Music (upcoming review - and we're loving Maestro Classics!)  When it ended, the CD player kicked over to a Christmas CD that had apparently been left in, and the boys insisted on leaving it on.  In April. 

1:00 - 2:00 PM
The boys have Homeschool Gymnastics and I chat with other moms!

2:10 PM
We pulled out of the parking lot, and I remembered the library!  However, I forgot my list and I forgot to ask about my PIN while I was there.  Oh well.  Emory wanted Star Wars, and the librarian overheard and helped him pick out a few books.  Elliott picked out some books on different states, dinosaurs and planets.  I bet you wouldn't have guessed those last two, huh?

3:00 PM
We headed home with a bag full of books, listening to the audiobook we borrowed, Charlotte's Web!  I had to pause it a few times to answer random questions from the four year old, but we managed to listen to three chapters before arriving home.

3:30 PM
We came inside and had a quick snack.  Eleanor went straight down for a nap, and the boys took some of their library books to quiet time.

4:00 PM
My headache was so bad by this point that I plopped on the couch to close my eyes for a few minutes, and woke up after 5:00 when the phone range!

5:30 PM
The headache was worse after that nap, but I fixed a light dinner.  I knew there was no way I could drive to church, and Eleanor still hadn't woken up from her nap (remember, she's a terrible sleeper, so we take it as it comes), so we stayed home from AWANA.  The boys were understanding and compassionate, and they went back and played in their room for a long time.

(Normally we would leave for AWANA around 5:50pm and arrive back home around 8:30ish pm.)

5:50 PM
Ms. Eleanor finally woke up from her nap and had dinner.

6:30 PM
By now I was feeling a bit better.  Eleanor found my phone and manged to turn on some music, so she occupied herself by dancing around the living room!  {Sorry it's blurry, she's a head bopper when she dances, and I'm no photographer!}

7:00 PM 
Elliott asked me if I would read one of the state books he picked out, so we read about West Virginia.  We had a TON of interesting side conversations about West Virginia:  it's name, it's nickname, how it became a state, slavery, and coal mining, just to name a few.  The book also mentioned black bears, so naturally that led to a discussion about pawpaw hitting a bear with his car.

7:30 PM
Emory's book was next, and we read three chapters from a Star Wars book he brought home, before he spent time looking at pictures from another book.

7:45 PM
The boys sat down at the computer to work on some LEGO City Comic Builders.  These are great for narration, because even though they don't like to add dialogue to them yet, I ask them to simply tell me about their picture, and the stories start flowing!

The one on the left is Elliott's comic.  He explained every frame, but in short, it's about a forest fire.  On the right, Emory's is about . . . well, there is no short story to his, and nothing is really connected.  Each one is it's OWN story!  Notice the bear.  ;-)

After Emory built his comic strip, he wanted to make a magazine (probably because his LEGO Jr. magazine has comics in it) so I did a quick google and printed the simplest layout I could find (many have the comic bubbles in them though!) and he drew this.  Captivating, huh?

8:15 PM
We watched a Netflix movie about Disney World and some of the rides/attractions, but it was not nearly as good as the History Channel's Modern Marvels Disney World we all enjoyed.

9:15 PM
The boys didn't want a bedtime story tonight, so Daddy and I tucked them and said goodnight.

Looking Back at the Day
Now, many people might call this day a wash.  It was mostly free time and there were no formal lessons.  No textbooks, no worksheets, no drills.  We missed church on top of that.  The thing is, when I look back and see everything we did, we still covered so much.

LEGO - STEM activities
Maestro Classics - History and Music
Gymnastics - PE and that "socialization" word
Library - Literacy Development (if it counts for public schools it counts for homeschoolers!)
Charlotte's Web audio - Literature
West Virginia book - Geography/History
Comic Builders - Narration

The thing about Relaxed Homeschooling, is that the mindset reminds me not to stress when days don't go as planned.  It allows me to take days like this and see that no matter how unstructured, how informal the day looks, my children are still learning.  I am not opposed to textbooks and curricula, and obviously we do use them.  I just love the freedom to take a day like this and see the natural learning.

Day 1:  What is Relaxed Homeschooling?
Day 2:  Masterly Inactivity, or not Becoming a Helicopter Parent
Day 3:  Relaxed Homeschooling, A Day in the Life
Day 4:  Relaxed Homeschooling, Just Another Day
Day 5:  Relaxed Homeschooling On the Go

Before you return hop to check out all the fantastic topics my crew mates are sharing, I encourage you to check out some of these posts!

Lisa @ A Rup Life ~ Our Favorite Books
Melissa @ Life Off the Paved Road ~ Fit From Home
Michelle @ Faith, Family, and Fridays ~ Clearing Out the Clutter
Jennifer @ Chestnut Grove Academy ~ Educational Apps
Jenni @ Conversaving ~ Homeschool Cooperatives
Lisa @ Home to 4 Kiddos ~ Celebrating Lent
Tawnee @ Adventures in Homeschooling ~ Spring Schooling
Crystal @ Crystal Starr Blog ~ Christ Centered Character Training

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  1. Love the freedom you have in your school day. It is obvious the kids are joyful learners! Great series, thank you!

    1. The funny thing is, I had a fairly tight "schedule" all planned out for this year, but God changed my heart (and the Crew changed my curriculum choices) and we went a completely different direction!

  2. Sounds like a fun fun day of learning! :D

  3. This is so fun to see, Brittney! I agree 100% with what you said about being willing to do things during the day even if they "interfere" with the school day. I'm super interested in the LEGO comic builder thingy, I'm going to look that up now. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks! There are a few different LEGO comic builders and my boys really enjoy them. Have fun with them!