A day of homeschooling is like a box of chocolates- you never know what you’re gonna get. Not only do our activities vary from day to day and week to week, but the children offer more surprises than the schedule. As their personalities develop and knowledge broadens, we engage in on-going discussions of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. I kept track of a recent Monday, marveling at the variety of moments that made up a “typical” day.
After a busy weekend, my sleepyheads slept later than usual. My younger daughter woke up around 8, grabbed the laptop, and began her math. (Math done willingly and independently, you ask? Follow the link, you’ll understand). My older daughter woke up an hour later, which meant she needed to get straight to work since we had a class in the afternoon. Even though my kids are no longer little, I still maintain “never wake a sleeping baby.” My older daughter began her math test, and the morning was underway.
The Sewing Box
I’m not sure how working on vocabulary in the dining room led to my little one finding herself in the closet downstairs, but suddenly, there she was. She came upstairs with my grandmother’s sewing case, and sat on the floor to comb through it. My grandma passed away a few months ago at age 94, and embodied values and skills that are no longer the norm. Her sewing box was a perfect example of this- full of zippers, claps, snaps, antique buttons, and all kinds of sundries used for making one’s own clothing. Even though the sewing box distracted us from school, what a neat historical lesson on then vs. now resulted. We all agreed that Great-Grandma lived in the “Olden Days,” and I was relieved when my kids generously decided that my age qualified me as “from now.”
Meal prep frequently serves as an educational activity. Today’s lunch was brown rice wraps filled with rice, beans, and cheese, steamed mixed vegetables, and clementines. As a quick interlude to seat work, my kids took turns heating their wraps on the stove, shredding cheese, and spooning the rice and beans onto their plates. We discussed nutrition and the importance of including protein, fruits, and vegetables in our meal. Then they cleaned up after themselves and emptied the dishwasher. Life skills, hooray!
We’re in the middle of a lesson on plant reproduction and life cycle. Did you know that on a rainy day, the sperm cells of a fern plant swim down the stem to the egg? I didn’t either, and frankly, would not have believed this if I had not read it with my own two eyes. A few days ago a cable guy was repairing wires at our house while we were discussing how the sperm and egg of plants work similarly to humans. I can only imagine what this poor guy must’ve been thinking as he overheard my kids asking questions about this process.
Stereotypes and the Portrayal of Women in the Media
What? Yes, this came up today. Over the weekend, my girls and their friend watched Clueless, the 1995 coming-of-age film about California-bred Cher and her gal pals. After watching the movie, the girls had a realization- girls and boys are often portrayed in stereotypical ways. In a nutshell, they wondered why girls are shown with messy hair and sweatpants, sadly eating ice cream out of the carton just because “a boy broke up with them.” They couldn’t figure out– why don’t girls in media utilize social support? Why should a girl feel devastated just because a boy broke up with her, and why can’t the girl be the one who ends things? Why wouldn’t girls derive their worth from other aspects of their life? They also noticed the girl trifecta- the smart girl, the pretty-but-dumb friend, and the follower. They wondered why the athletic boys always coveted the “popular” girl, but that in the end, the shy, geeky guy often won her over. Every time we watch a movie, I capitalize on the themes present, jumping on teachable moments. Imagine my surprise when this time it was my kids initiating the discussion.
After lunch, we attended a STEAM class at a local library. In the car on the way there, my girls read geography lessons aloud, then we listened to a book on CD. At the library, they built marble runs and interacted with other kids. Back at home, they finished up school (practicing piano, working on a project due for a homeschool class on Wednesday, reviewed spelling words) then did their chores and helped me start dinner. All in all, a successful day.