Saturday, July 2, 2011

Wrapping it up

As July comes around, we will be spending the rest of this month wrapping up the first-ever-Joyner-homeschool-year.
Aslan's Kindergarten year, that is.
That will give us a month's break in August and then in September, we will start back up with Aslan's 1st grade year and Haddon will begin Kindergarten.
With that said, I wanted to spend a little time reflecting on what school has looked like this year.
and side note: No one takes pictures of the hours spent battling a single math page and a lazy heart...on both sides.
No one takes pictures of the many days we didn't do any school.
Because A) There would be too many to take pictures of and
B)who wants to see that on film?!

So here are some of our better moments of the school year...
As I shared HERE , we began our year with a trip to the beach. We did some tours in the city, and some visits to the beach, museums, and aquariums, but most importantly, we just tried to make a big deal out of school starting.

So the year of "homeschooling" began.
I say it like that because I have to be honest, We're not a fan of the term.
"Homeschool" seems to imply that the goal is to keep my children at home.
Though I like having my kids at home...most of the time.
It's not.
In fact if I were honest, I think about the magic I felt when I began school.
Oh, yes, the public kind.
And I wish my kids could experience that.
You know the excitement over shopping for your new clothes for school. Getting to go all the way to the metropolis of Anchorage, Alaska to shop, instead of the Cottonwood Creek Mall in hopes that every other girl wouldn't have the exact same outfit.
Ok, so if you didn't grow up in Alaska, or you weren't in love with fashion from a young age, this is all becoming very confusing.
But there's also that sense of wonder and strength gained from new, independent experiences.
New friends, new relationships, and hopefully much learning.
I truly hope to reproduce many of these things in our learning as a family,
and I look forward to having more quality experiences and relationships inside and outside of our home, because of our education choices.
But our main priority doesn't revolve around keeping our children at home.
Instead, we chose this form of education at this time, for the sake of providing our children with more diverse learning experiences.
Our hope is that through whatever form of education we choose, which may change through different seasons and different children, our children's world will get bigger not smaller.
World getting bigger, God getting bigger.
That's the plan.
And so we started school in the Fall...

We didn't get far into our school year before I had the opportunity to take my first trip to Haiti.
And to be honest, from that point on, it seems our family was flung into spiraling tornado of movement revolving around the work God has asked us to do in Haiti.
This has been beautiful, but quite distracting from the focused first year of school I had hoped to have.
Upon returning from this trip, not only did we begin the adoption process of 2 Haitian children with special medical needs, but also began to work on the development of HaitiLove.
It has been a whirlwind of activity around here for oh, say about 9 months. You know a school year or so.
But when life wasn't totally consumed with these things, and even often when it was, we learned together...

Studting rocks,
that are candy,
known as "rock candy"

Studying rocks,
by collecting them,
in the yard, not a beautiful nature walk,
cause that was too much work.
Even if this does mean that some of the "rocks" may have been part of an old foundation of a shed in the yard of our 1940's built house.

We did school outside on a blanket

Inside on a rug

We made wind socks with cousins

We read lots of great books
"The Apple and the arrow"
in which the story climaxes at a scene where a father is asked by a cruel ruler to prove his marksmanship by shooting an apple off of his young sons head with his cross bow.
Seeing as we happen to have one of these actual weapons just chillin in our children's closet...
for what purpose I am a little unsure about,
thought I think we got it at an auction for cheap.
But when we're livin' off the grid and need to kill our dinner, and there aren't any bullets or guns to be found...
we still won't know how to use it.
But we will look dangerous.

The only rational thing to do was to let the kids re enact the scene.
And even thought the bow was loaded, Aslan was very brave.
Just like the boy in the book.
He fully trusted his 3 year old brother's abilities as a marksman.

Ok, not quite.
But it was fun.
And when was the last time your kid came home to tell you that he almost got shot with a crossbow at school?
Who says "homeschool" is boring?!

And even though I like the outdoors in theory a bit more than in reality,
we did go on a few nature walks.
Cause what kind of mother who homeschools doesn't take her kids on nature walks?!
Almost this mom.
Except there were those couple I did take them on.
And took pictures of.
So I can pass for an actual homeschooler.
We explored barnacles, or fungus, or whatever those things are called.
Ok, so we focused more on the observation elements of learning that the informational.
You know, touch it,feel it, observe it, tell me what you see...
I even had the boys bring bags to collect "naturey" objects in.
This way we could collect leaves and make prints with them
or get pine cones to make bird feeders,
or let them sit in my car for a month before trashing them.
The only problem was...
it turns out any nature loving homeschool mom should know that
1. Plastic bags are not allowed on the trails. I guess bad things happen when nature and plastic interact. I guess I should have brought the reusable grocery bags that I never use for groceries. Cause I love plastic bags and if I don't get them at the grocery store, what am I supposed to use for my trash cans?
What, buy small trash bags?!
The only other problem was that
2. Even if I had looked like an earth-conscious mom by bringing my green- colored- bag -with leaf- prints- making -a -heart- design -around- the- earth- on it,
I still would have failed, because,
turns out...
The park would rather you didn't take any of earth's possessions from it's premises. Stealing from Mother earth is frowned upon at our local nature parks...
turns out.
So we just tried to be subtle about it

Cause we love our beautiful state
and it's generous parks and recreation department
That's why we studied this map of our states different regions...
And took pictures of striking butterflies.
But before we left the park, we thought we'd head inside to the educational displays inside.
Because I am technically a teacher folks, puhlease.
Of more than just the many uses of the plastic bag.

Turns out the display was right up my alley.
There was even a life sized man, made up solely of man made products that hurt our environment.
There were a lot of plastic bags making up his members.
I just tried to stuff our plastic bags further into my North Face back pack, and find comfort in the fact I was wearing Chaco sandals and I grew up in Alaska.
Perhaps they would notice these things first.

But upon further observation, it became clear that even my worn chacos weren't gonna help me.
I was one of the worst kind of Earth-haters.

This dispaly below shows a description posted at one of our local nature parks.
It describes a BIG problem we people and our earth have.
And it's not just plastic bottles, recycling, and turning off lights.
Oh no, it's worse that that.
Much worse.
Read on.

And in case you're wondering if you are part of the problem or the solution, you can take a test.
Just press a button next to the items listed below to see how "sustainable" your life is.
Are you part of the popultation living recklessly with no thought to future generations? Essentially killing off your future grandkids?
Let's find out.
hmmmm. Let's see,
I carpool whenever I can, thumbs up.
I like meat, I'm guessing not so good.
Don't work in an office building!!
Cause I'm a stay at..
Have four children.
Well, I only have three, so maybe that icy stare coming from behind the desk isn't for me?
Unless somehow she knows!
Maybe there is something about me that screams, "I want more children!!!" or perhaps someone told her that we were tryin to adopt two more children and that we drive a Suburban!!!!
I'm freaking out.
Just calm down, Stephanie.
Maybe it's not that big of a deal.
I mean you're just here to have a little FAMILY fun at the park.
They make their living off of families.

I hit the button...
wahhhhhh!!! My life doesn't sustain the earth!!!
We gotta get out of here kids before they catch us and start passing out condoms!!!!
Let's go!!!!

So yeah, we studied lot's of stuff.
Nature, sociology, the environment.
We so got this thing.
And boy isn't the less sustainable life a blessed one.
We also studied local marine life.
And went to Fort Macon, an old military fort on the coast of NC.

While there, we explored tunnels
And dungeons
and long stairways going down into cold, wet, spider infested holes.

And we almost always bring baby Shep-Shep along on our educational adventures.
But of course we always take into account his fragile medical state, having a trach and all.
It's of the utmost importance that he not be put into compromising situations.
But what can I say? This is just the kind of parents we are.
Safety is of the utmost importance.
I mean were homeschoolers,folks.
Yeah, those are knives.
At the museum.

And on that note.
For those of you who say that homeschoolers are too sheltered.
Try explaining the name of this fish at the aquarium.
I did not make this up.
But whoever did.
Has a lot of explaining to do.
No one sitting around the Aquarium society of whatever that names fishes saw a problem with this?
I can only be grateful that I wasn't taking 35 junior higher's on this field trip.
Yup, when you're homeschooling,
you encounter all kinds of indecency.


Leah said...

I love you. I was laughing my head off through this whole post. And now I'm sad that I just can't be there. Thanks for sharing. That was sooooo fun to read!

the croslands said...

Hey there Joiners! its been a while...your boys are beautiful :) i happened upon your blog from a link on another WF mom's blog and thought- i know them! Love from PNG xo tiffany c