Most days we spend about 4 hours total doing school-ish stuff. Each kid has a notebook of core subjects (math, reading, writing, language arts, science, geography) and we read Story of the World with cookies at bed time for our history. We also watch all kinds of documentary's and shows like Cupcake Wars and Good Eats. School days start around 10 (because mornings suck) and there is usually not too much kvetching.
Until there is. Griping, that is. It starts small, building over the weeks until I hate calling them all to the table for school because I know bad attitudes are coming along.
It usually takes a week or two of this before I remember that one of the reasons we homeschool our kids and so we can enjoy learning together. When that stops happening it is usually because I have managed to suck ALL the fun out of learning and made home school look way to much like "real school". I can be a little slow on the uptake.
We were in the grumpy phase of school last week and it was time for a change. This week we did a unit study on the book Mr Poppers Penguins. It was awesome. We had fun together, we learned, we enjoyed a great story, and it was everything I started homeschooling for in the first place!
We read how the Popper family was short on money for groceries and used the adds to make menus, adding up the cost for a day, week and year of food. We practiced writing letters to people like Mr. Popper did to Admiral Drake. We each chose a different type of penguin to become experts on and figured out what kind of penguin was in the book. We used maps to find out where penguins live, what they eat and how they nest. We wrote newspaper articles about the Popper family, asking who, what, when, where and why questions. We used venn diagrams to see how all they types of penguins were alike. We took a field trip to the museum to see the penguin dioramas. We read countless penguin books and did a ton of penguin crafts!
This week reminded me why I love to homeschool my kids. Its fun! It also reminded me that a big part of parenting is figuring out when something STOPS working and being flexible enough to make a change. Maybe I will remember quicker next time learning has stopped being fun.