Thursday, September 18, 2008

Daily walking

For a long time I have wanted to get into the habit of taking a walk everyday. I always have some excuse, generally a lack of time. And sometimes that it is too hard to walk with the kids. When we started "school" one of the first things I implemented was a daily walk. The kids and I go out and walk "the triangle," a small area in our neighborhood where, oddly, three streets come together to make a triangle. It is a block from our house, and 3 blocks for the triangle, then a block back to our house. We are certainly not breaking any distance records, but the kids can walk it all on their own, no strollers are required, and we get out of the house each day. We have occasionally been able to make the walk a bit longer, too. The best part, though, are the spontaneous lessons that happen as we walk, and the conversations we get to have.

Tonight, Kiddo and I walked farther than the triangle. It was just the two of us, and we walked at sunset. The beauty of walking hand in hand with a child while you stop and use your five senses to explore the rock at the edge of the path, to touch it, smell it, look closely at it, listen to it, and pretend to taste it, cannot be matched by anything else. And as we walked by houses with kitchen lights on and looked in at the school age children and their parents looking distressed as they bent over the nights homework, I was filled with gratitude for the opportunity I have been given to learn beside my child.

Yes, daily walking is a time of spontaneous lessons for all of us.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Before I started officially homeschooling, I was a stay-at-home mom for nearly 2 years, worked for a bit, and came back home. In that time, I had done some school "stuff." We went to the zoo regularly. We went on a couple of preschool field trips organized by local homeschoolers. But I never committed to much. We weren't in any classes. We didn't go to many activities. We spent many days learning at home, in the backyard, or at the local park.

Fast forward to now. I have booked 3 days this week with 2 in the morning and one in the afternoon. What was I thinking! It is Tuesday and we are already tired and neglecting the things that we should be doing, like our daily walk. They are good activities, but it is so easy to become overextended. I am going to have to take a serious look at our calendar and make sure this week doesn't happen again! The good thing is that so far, everything we have done Kiddo has enjoyed and has asked if we can do it again.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Reading the classics aloud

I have it in my head to read aloud to the kids every night. Not the typical kids books that we read all day long, but something meatier, something longer, something that requires them to maintain the storyline until the next day. We have started with one of my favorites, The Little House series. I remember my mom reading them to my sisters and I when we were young. So that is a great place to start. But where do I go next? What books would my kids enjoy? What are considered the classic, must read books? Any suggestions?

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Day One

Today is the first day of school for public school kids. In my head I have been thinking that this is our first day of school, too. The reality is, however, that nothing has really changed. We are continuing the way we have been for weeks, and really, we never stopped "school." So the difference is really only in my head.

We did, however, have a good "first day of school." Kiddo, the five-year-old, and Kutey, the 2-and-a-half-year-old, did quite a bit of experimenting with different weights and "parachutes" over the edge of our railing, shaping them differently, attaching differeing numbers of clothespins, and realizing that the more clothespins you put onto a paper napkin parachute, the faster it will fall.

We also went for a walk around the triangle of streets near our house, looking for other triangles as we walked. We found many in the roof-lines of the various houses in the neighborhood. We also found semi-circles, a newer concept.

The one thing that changed today was that we started learning to read in earnest. Kiddo can read a few words and has known all his letters and their sounds for quite some time. He likes to listen to stories, but in spite of my efforts has had little interest in learning to read. That changed today, however, when we started working through the lessons in this book. He was so successful with the first lesson he wanted more. Now I know, I should stick to one lesson a day, but really, it was all review for him. And he was loving it. So we kept going. 5 lessons done today. We won't be able to keep that pace, but it was great for the first day!

Now, let's just hope we can keep our momentum up for the rest of the week!