Saturday, April 15, 2006


Most homeschoolers that I know (the ones who use some structure) take one day off a week. For us that has traditionally been Fridays, and yesterday was no exception. We woke up, had a lazy early morning, then I sent the boys outside to play before the rain hit (very important to me that they get some physcial activity in before being cooped up for the rest of the day). I went to work tidying the house, as we are fortunate to have someone come in and clean for us weekly.

In my opinion, playing outside, without structure, is vital to learning and growth. I spent many long hours playing outside when I was a child, and I want the same for my boys. There are many things that they do play inside: Lego, Rokenbok, K'nex, etc., but there is no TV watching and no video games (consoles or handheld). So they like to play outside. They have a swingset "fort" that they play on for hours. They also have a basketball hoop; we bought a good one that can be set from 6.5 feet to 10 feet. They also enjoy pulling up chairs (to stand on) and watching what the neighbors are doing (they are very often outside working on the boat or RV). They dig in dirt (DH never would agree to a sand box). They check to see if any of the neighbors lemons have fallen into our yard. Yesterday I gave them some sidewalk chalk and they drew some fanciful portraits. DH and I were both impressed with the way their chalk drawings have changed.

The boys were outside for 2.5 hours, then I pulled them in to help clean their room. This would be one of the lessons they don't like. They are still very imitative, so I help them and give them small tasks to do. It seems easier for them to pick up the Hot Wheels cars and put them in a bin if mom is doing it too. This is a tough one for me; I would prefer that they clean their room on their own and do a good job of it. But I think of two things: First, I like to be helped whenever I am doing an unpleasant task. Second, as a child I did the "stash and dash" type of cleaning too, well past the age they are now. I want them to learn to do it right, which means I have to model the right way to do it.

We went to Target to kill time because it was raining. Boy #2 had a lesson in holding an umbrella, especially how to do so in a parking lot and stay aware of cars so you don't get hit! We got a few things we needed, but did not go down the toy aisles. I'd rather keep my boys out of such stores, but we had the time to use and needed a few things. I'm glad we went when we did; it absolutely poured after dinner and I didn't want to go out then. Plus I generally don't go out on Friday nights.

Friday is movie night, and we had rented The Sword in the Stone based on some good reviews on Netflix and Amazon. Uh, not. In Charlotte Mason's words, it was pure twaddle. So far the boys have only heard the tale of Arthur told on the Jim Weiss CD, King Arthur and His Knights, so they kept telling us that the movie was wrong. From now on I will refrain from renting any movies that are based on archtypal stories I want my boys to hear and read.

We're coming to a place where it is harder and harder to find good movies for the boys to watch. I'd like to turn movie night into family game night, at least every other week. I just have to get the rest of the family to agree. It's time to get creative and come up with something better than movie night.

The boys drew a lot of pictures Friday, using markers which is a new medium for them (they pulled them out of the park day craft box). Boy #1 found that he could make a picture by making many dots clustered together, which was cool.

Boy #2 wants to draw a picture for the Easter Bunny, of an Easter Bunny with jelly beans. Last night I reviewed Donna Simmons' book, Drawing With Your Four to Eleven Year Old to get some ideas. I think we'll modify the cat.

I also spent some time looking at All Year Round, Festivals Family and Food, and Festivals Together. The yearly rhythm of festivals is one that we haven't spent much time on, other than most of the major holidays and birthdays. I'm trying to figure out which festivals resonate with me, so I incorporate them into our year.

Today (Saturday) we're going to get some supplies at Office Depot or Staples, including a big calendar so the boys can keep track of what we are doing each month. I also read that blank flashcards fit perfectly into coin envelopes and are really cheap ($20 total for 1000 cards and 500 envelopes) so we are going to buy those and have the boys start corresponding, or even just have them to make small drawings when we wait places, and then send them off to the grandparents. At that price they can play post office!

I'm going to clean my bedroom today (it smells dusty) and spend some time tidying my desk. I need to find and sort all of the Stockmar crayons, and to figure out which colors we need to reorder from Paper, Scissors, Stone. I love that they sell individual crayons; we need another Umbra stick, and a Blau (blue) block, at the least. (BTW, "blau" is one of the few words my boys know in German, just from using the crayons.)

Tonight I hope to spend some time planning a spring circle for the next few weeks. If I get to it, I'll write.


  1. Aiti, you'll love the 1st grade syllabus. If you use it you won't really need Miquon unless you are trying to do more math.

    You might look at We're considering this for 2nd grade.

  2. I have a 5 and 6 year old, so it is really nice to see how you are woking with yours a year ahead of me!
    Thank you for sharing this.