Homeschooling: It's not what we do, it's how we live.

“What’d you do in school today?”

I don’t know about you, but here’s what we did:

Got off to a late start! WE didn’t start school until almost 10AM. It’s cold and wet outside and that does not make for early mornings. We let the house heat up and then got crackin’ on school work. The boys started out with math and the we dove into our history lesson.

Since this is our “year 1”, we’re studying ancient civilizations for history/geography. Normally, LittleBoyBlue would be studying … I forget what 2nd grade is, but it’s not ancients – anyway, I don’t want to have to do 2 history lesson plans, so we’re just doing one, and year 1=Ancients. So there :P. His former school did not cover history in the same logical way that we plan to (i.e.: chronologically), so he’s getting entirely new material as it is, which is good.

In an effort to keep “history” from being super dry and boring, I found some lesson plans and books with activities that bring history to life. We tried one such activity today. In the book Stone Age People by Keith Branigan (a “Make it Work” book), we found “Make a mammoth bone hut”… and so we did. Sorta.

We didn’t follow the lesson plan exactly; I didn’t have some of the books it called for and we’re not in a class big enough to simulate “hunters” and “gatherers” called for in lesson 1, but I think our activity was true to the spirit of the lesson. We talked about the Bering strait and former land bridge, Pangaea, tectonic plates and how they move(d) and made shifts in the earth’s surface and other such geographically related topics, then got into a discussion about the people and how they lived. We made the bones of the structure from sentence strips and found they were too flimsy,so we reinforced them with cardboard, latched together with a combination of duct tape, staples and desk tape, then added construction and brown craft paper “hides” that we decorated and crumpled to give them some texture and attached to the bones of the building. The hut actually stood for a while, then fell while we were at lunch – I think this room has too much moisture in the air and it wilted the cardboard – but even so, the boys learned that it was hard work and a lot of it to make such a “home”.

After we finished our hut,  we made lunch and the boys helped make Amish Friendship bread for Tuesday Tea, which went into the oven while we worked on spelling and phonics. I finished my day’s training (1.47 miles plus step and hula-hooping on Wii) while the bread finished cooking. It made the house smell so good, and turned out fabulous.

While the boys played, I read aloud. We began The Rime of the Ancient Mariner today. I found this performance by David Olney (part 1) on YouTube that we enjoyed quite a bit. There are also a couple of other links (one read by Orson Welles) that we looked at too, but this was the best “performance” in my opinion. We’ll read (and watch and discuss) more tomorrow and again until we get done with that, then begin on something new.

We didn’t get finished with school until 4:30, but the hut took a while to build, so it was a long day. Tomorrow is playgroup and our weekly library trip, so we’ll have less time for sit-down lessons. Anyway, that’s our re-cap!




2 responses

  1. I love that lodge! It’s very similar to the structures we make (from bamboo or willow branches) for sweat lodges, which my boys have also helped assemble. Those materials produce a pretty darn stable structure, so if you’ve got a willow tree (not weeping, the sturdier kind) or a bamboo grove, you should try making an outdoor play lodge!

    August 20, 2010 at 8:45 am

  2. That’s a fantastic idea…. when I was little, we had several places on our property that had bamboo. We’re out of town right now, but when we get back, I think we’ll go on a hike and see if they’re still there. Thanks for the suggestion!

    August 20, 2010 at 10:42 am

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