Thursday, January 29, 2009

18 sites in 18 weeks

"The only school I want to get into is a school of crappie*." TJ

18 sites in 18 weeks

We are about to embark on our first (and probably only) homeschooling adventure. We have moved yet again, and yet again during the middle of the school year. This makes 4 (count them, 4) elementary schools in 4 different states for TJ, my 4th grader; 3 for Nathan, and really, 3 for Emma too - counting the 6 months of pre-K at the elementary school in KY.

We are also planning on moving this summer - finding a home to buy in the area, which would involve a change of schools again for fall. The kids really hate changing schools. They have been so positive and proactive during this move, but school really gets them down. It takes so long for the teachers to figure them out - what they need, what they don't need, etc. It's very frustrating. So, it seems like the perfect time to try this little experiment.

But really, the most convincing reason for me is that we are living on the East coast, in an area rich with colonial/early American history. Why not learn that by actually visiting these historical sites in person? Wouldn't that be so cool? So, that's our semester theme - 18 sites in 18 weeks. We'll do some pre-reading beforehand, so that we have a frame of reference for the information we'll learn on site. Take vocabulary and spelling words that are topic specific, and lift as much curriculum or educational development from the historical site websites for before and after discussion/projects. I've ordered some math and grammar workbooks so the kids can work at individually appropriate levels. I'm thinking about Spanish, too. Anyone with any recommendations for me? The kids had some exposure to Spanish at their school in KY. They loved it. We'll probably also do some music at home. Emma and Nathan will start piano, TJ can do recorder (he already spent 3 painful years studying piano). Science and fine art sites will be included in our list of 18. I really want to minimize busy work, though. Maybe the kids will figure out that learning isn't about drudgery, it can be fun.

If we can have some good family bonding time as well, I won't complain:)

Wish us luck!

*(for non-anglers, crappie is a fish)