Torn

worry Torn… that’s how I’ve been feeling these last couple of days, as a homeschool mom and teacher. Don’t get me wrong; this is not a post about me lamenting about how I am questioning our homeschool adventure decision. We have crossed that bridge and overcome those troubles and we are homeschooling with no regrets.

As many of you know, I love ‘our’ curriculum. I shout its praises fairly often- if you haven’t seen any of this praise shouting, stick around for a few and I am sure you’ll catch it. But, here I am torn between the curriculum we love and what exactly? We are fairly fortunate to live in a state that does not require us to keep track of days or hours homeschooled, but our beloved and CHOSEN curriculum is set up to accommodate the strictest of states. This means that there are 180 days of school provided within this wonderful resource. This is great, except for it isn’t, because those numbers have a tendancy to make me feel like we are behind schedule or that we aren’t doing or haven’t done enough.

For example, according to the school tracker, we are on day 48 of school. Public schools around here were on Day 61, before they broke for Winter Break…

We’ve been schooling since mid-August. In my mind’s eye (which admittedly, sometimes forgets that I am no longer a pre-school teacher in a highly structured facility), we have not been doing enough, we are behind and I am failing my child.  Do I insist my child double down, in order to ‘catch up’? How do I combat the feelings of being insufficient? What do I do? For a moment, I was torn with indecision and didn’t do anything.

 

In the end, I had a come to Jesus talk with myself. Homeschooling is not a numbers game. It isn’t a game at all. I am not competing against anyone- and neither are you, if you’re on your own homeschool jaunt.

It’s true, we’ve been schooling since mid August, but all of those days were not spent dedicated to a planned out curriculum. All of those days, however, contributed to who Kaira is and will be and her overall growth as a human being; and yes, learning was happening.

not all about books

All learning doesn’t come from books

Anyone can have a conversation with Kaira and know that she is learning. She can tell you what the inside of a horse’s mouth feels like; how the teeth are supposed to feel; how to tell if a horse has an infection or someother foot problem- all of this will help her as she persues a career as a veterinarian. She can tell you all about Penrod and Sam; she can tell you in glorious detail about most of our bodily systems and functions. Want to know about eye surgery on a cow? She can explain it to you. We will soon be taking a trip to see the Terracota Army and you guessed it, she could be the tour guide.

public speaking     This doesn’t even begin to uncover everything Kaira has experienced since mid-August, when our official journey began… She has been exposed to public speaking (of sorts) through Home School Open Mic and singing the National Anthem; she is active in her community through 4H and the list goes on and on.

It may not be education like most of us are used to or have experienced with public school, but it is education none-the-less. It was silly of me to have been tempted to relinquish our curriculum, because of a number. It seems rather fooloish to have wasted so much time on being torn between what to do about Kaira being behind, because clearly, she is not.

Here’s my take away and a lesson for you, if you’re new to homeschooloing or whatever. It isn’t a race to the finish. It is a journey and you and your child need to finish it however works for you guys- not how the world thinks or dictates you should. Also, everyone feels insecure at some point about their homeschooling decision and especially in reguards to whether or not they are failig their children. (And unless you have your child(ren) sit in complete silence without any stimulation, no one is failing their children.)

You’ve got this and so do I!     success

We would love to hear from you all about a time you felt torn in your homeschooling journey or even about all the things you have learned through a curriculum or not! Hit the like button ( especially if you sympahize with me about being torn…) And we are always appreciative of thsoe shares and follows!+

A Quick Trip to Ancient Egypt

A few weeks into our adventure, Kaira ‘discovered’ Ancient Egypt… Prior to our trip to Ancient Egypt, I had only seen a literal change in Kaira’s learning briefly- when relearning some math skills. This adventure was different, though. It wasn’t just the dawn of understanding finally happening after struggling for so long to grasp a concept… This was actual interest and a desire to learn something she had not previously been exposed to.

I loved every minute of seeing this exploration.

You guys already know, we are following the Easy Peasy curriculum, which I highly recommend and where our journey began. If you have visited the EP site, then you know things like science, history, Bible and Art are divided into Years… Ancient Egypt can be found in Year One. As I have said before, EP does not have to be used as a whole curriculum and can be used as individual courses, so if Ancient Egypt is on your radar, you should definitely check it out.

The only thing I did not like, as we were learning about Ancient Egypt was a video, which if memeory serves me correctly, was TWO HOURS LONG. This video was not a part of the EP curricula, but it was on one of the sites we visited for EP and because Kaira was so into learning about Ancient Egypt, she wanted to watch the video. When I got bored, about halfway through, and suggested we didn’t need to finish watching, she insisted we finish it, because she needed to know what happened.

I struggled through that video and didn’t fall asleep, because when you are the teacher and you arer invested in your child and you want to foster true learning and spend time with your kid- that’s what you do.

Ancient Egyptians are credited for being one of the first civilalizations to use a written language. Kaira had lots of fun learning about hieroglyphics. She especially liked writing ‘secret’ messages to family members via email and seeing if they could decipher them. (I can’t remember if this activity was in the EP lessons or if I added it as something extra, so if I added it as extra, now I’ve shared it with you and if I didn’t, well now you know that this activity was loads of fun!) Family memebers liked being included in Kaira’s learning process and were thrilled to learn along with her- as they had to study the hieroglyphics in order to communicate with her. Added bonus, this activity gave Kaira something to talk to older members of our family about, which fostered some always welcome communication among the generations. Yay.

Along with learning the written language, Kaira learned the process the Ancient Egyptians went through to make paper. Because obviously, you can’t have a written language with nothing to write it on, right? The paper making activity took a few days to fully make, but it was definitely worth it. I suggest you break out the newspaper and old clothes for this one. (This was when I realized that even in homeschool or maybe moreso in homeschool, an art shirt is necesasry, lol.)

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Be forewarned though- this stuff STINKS when it is drying! Also, I had to keep going back and peeling the paper off of the newspaper and paper towel so it wouldn’t stick to those things… This was a tedius process because you had to be extremely careful, otherwise you would rip the paper… I can’t even fathom the patience Ancient Egyptians had, having to do this over and over again.

After Kaira had completed EP’s unit on Ancient Egypt, I had a special project awaiting her. She mummified Barbie. I was able to expand the mummification of Barbie even further by having Kaira create Barbie’s tomb room (the inside of a pyramid), based on what she had learned and by having her come up with a story about the person in the sarcophagus. Kaira really showed how much she had learned- as opposed to the standard regirgitation of facts she had demonstrated for testing purposes during her pre home school years-  during the process of these activities. Weeks after beginning the Ancient Egypt unit and she was able to tell you ALL about Ancient Egypt and the Egyptians- without testing. In fact, for this project, the only time Kaira utilized Google or other research methods was to recall very specific details about how something looked or the specific details of a fact, but not the fact itself.

Unfortunately, our mummified Barbie began to mold after about a week of laying in her final resting place, so we had to throw her and the pyramid out. I am not sure if this is because we layed her on the sarcophagus before she was completely dry or if this is what happens in general, so take lots of pictures for memory’s sake. Also, everything purchased to use in these projects was purchased at the Dollar Tree (except for the shoebox, which we already had), so kudos to Dollar Tree, who  have quickly become my go to store when it comes to our homeschool adventure and the various projects we have completed thus far. I think I spent a total of $10, and I over bought items, due to being unsure of what exactly we would need, so this is really an affordable learning experience, as well as, a fun one!

THE STORY OF QUEEN EMERALD

                                        by Kaira

Queen Emerald worked on the mummies with her parents, but she they weren’t slaves, they were just really good at doing mummy things. When Emerald was a young girl, she fell in love with the Pharoah’s son. He noticed her and decided to marry her. A littel while after that, his parents died and he became Pharoah and she was Queen. Other countries wanted to control their land, so Pharoah had to go to war with them and he died in battle. Queen Emerald was still alive, so she took over ruling the land. She lived from 533 BC until her death in 300 BC.

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We had another activity to go along with this one, but we failed miserably at it. We believe learning happens all around us- in our successes and our failures, so we will include it here and encourage you to give it a try! We would also love to see pictures of your attempts on this or any of the projects we share with you!

We attempted to make a pyramid out of rice krispy treats… This did not work for us for two reasons: Kaira was gung ho and I was not in the moment. ( I think the babies needed my attention or maybe I was over mess making for the day…) Anyway, I wasn’t supervising the making of said treats and therefore directions weren’t followed as well as they should have been and we ended up with a giant mess- dry cereal all over the counters, stove and floor and a goopy, unedible something in the bowl…

Kaira had fun creating the mess, so I guess that counts for something, right?

Any way, after the treats are made, the idea is to form them into bricks- remember they don’t have to be perfect- and then begin to stack or construct them into a pyramid- much like the slaves would have done in ancient Egyptian times.

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Here’s a picture of the beginning of the attempt (before it became disasterous).

We hope you have enjoyed hearing about our adventure in Ancient Egypt! What has been your favorite thing to learn so far in your school? We would love to hear all about it, so leave us a comment, so we can chat! Also, we would be so appreciative if you helped us get the homeschooling adventure word out! Hit the like button AND share, share, share! See you next time!