Saturday, August 25, 2012

A good day for homeschooling

Boys being boys.
I am slightly terrified that my kids will not learn enough under my watch.  But, even so, I have decided that we are going to have 4 day book weeks, because boys need time to be boys, and have more time to learn through constructive playtime and hands-on activities.  So, every other Friday, we are taking the day off, and one Friday a month, we'll take a field trip, and one Friday, we'll have an art, music, and extra projects day.

So, while I am slightly afraid of falling down a slippery slope of sending my kids off to play in the backyard and calling it a "field trip" (please imagine air quotes), we took our first field trip this past Friday.

Since we are studying pioneers in History, and our current read-aloud series is Little House on the Prairie, we decided to go to Living History Farms, which, for people not from around here, is a place with  historical, semi-working farms from 3 different periods, as well as a town.

The kids loved it.

I figured we actually managed to hit on most of the subjects.  For starters, we spent time working on the difference in time periods, and how many years were between the different time periods represented (Math).

Clockwise, from the top: Oxen, A pig pen similar to ones from 1850, and a pig from the pigpen.
The kids learned about the difference between cattle and oxen, and the different kinds of pigs (Animal Science).

We read a lot of signs - Isaac was very excited to find out when the Railroad first came to Iowa (Reading).

The boys really enjoyed the farm that was from 1850, which was the closest to what we've been reading about in Little House in the Big Woods.

the 1850's farm
The boys got to go up into the haymow of the 1900's farm, and jump in the hay.  Between that, and all the running around on the trails between farms, we got lots of exercise (PE).

When we got back to the town, we visited the school house, and they practiced writing on the slates (Writing).

The boys wanted me to pretend to be a teacher! :)
In the school house, we saw some old maps, and were able to see what Iowa used to look like, as well as a map of the United States (Geography).

We had a good time at the blacksmith shop.  I don't know that it fell under a specific subject, but Andy had a good time working on problem solving skills trying to solve an iron puzzle.  It reminded me of ones my Grandpa used to have.

We went through more of the town, but were running out of time, and ended the day at the print shop, where the boys got to help run a couple of the presses, and work on setting letters in the press (Spelling).

Finding the letters one by one

The newspaper and the press

All in all, it was a pretty educational day.  And, while I'm not suggesting that we had comprehensive education on any particular subject, we at least managed to touch on math, science, reading, PE, writing, geography spelling, and, of course, history.

Days spent learning with books are a necessary delight, but it was a lot of fun to see the boys connect things that they'd been learning with things that they could see, touch, and even smell.  It brought stories to life and renewed their interest.  

It was a fun day to be homeschoolers!


  1. I love this! These are the kinds of things that I most remember from homeschooling - the things where my mind and body were both engaged! Where curiosity and exploring make things come to life. Nicely done! I love your friday plans! - Amber Allan:)

  2. Thanks for the kind comment, Amber - good to hear from you!!