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Just another day at home/school

February 25th, 2011 · 3 Comments

When people find out I homeschool, one of the first questions they usually ask is, “What curriculum do you use?” I’m getting used to answering the question, just like I had to learn how to answer the question that inevitably came after “Are they twins?”: “Are they identical?”

No, they’re not identical.

Without getting too complicated or deep, the answer to the curriculum question is that for the moment C&D’s curriculum comes from the School of Joyce and Matt. We consider various lessons, and decide on an approach usually Montessorian in nature. We consider what C&D might need help understanding as they experience friends, nature, society, self. We consider how C&D can find resilience and community, creativity and curiosity. And that’s it, really.

This can sound a little weak; after all, if C&D were in kingergarten they’d be bringing home stacks of homework, completed worksheets from the day’s work, and a report card every six weeks. If C&D don’t have any of those things to show they are learning something over the course of a day, what good could we possibly be doing for them?

Maybe we should look at it this way:

Today for Home Ec C&D took turns grinding, by hand, hard winter wheat for pancakes which they helped cook at the stove.

After breakfast we got ready for our next class, Civics. We attended a transportation budget meeting at the Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC). The H-GAC is the assembly of local governments in and around Harris County, thirteen counties in total. This was our first transportation meeting to attend at H-GAC (I attended a trailways meeting there in the days B.C., Before Children). We could only stay an hour and a half, but it was long enough to say hello to some friends, get interviewed by KUHF, listen to some insightful comments, and leave one of our own. (You can read the radio story at KUHF’s website.)

After sitting and listening for so long, C&D were ready for P.E. They went to a class with our favorite coach. He kept everybody busy stretching, hopping, rolling, and flipping for a full hour.

After gymnastics C&D practiced Music as Matt drove us south. Carmen sang songs like Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star while David sang out accompanying beats and special effects.

We ate lunch with gusto, then it was time for Oceanography at the beach David calls “ours”. We studied crabs, seaweed, the buoyancy of objects in salt water, drag, optics, and, when a dense fog rolled in, meteorology.

We changed into clean clothes and drove up the coast for Social Studies over hot Vietnamese pho, tofu, and vegetables. In between bites David planned a culinary trip of Asia and requested we learn to make pho of our own, with less ginger (another Home Ec class!). At home C&D rinsed away the sand and salt and climbed into bed, exhausted.

They don’t have the worksheets to prove it, but I’m guessing C&D learned some pretty powerful lessons today, don’t you think?

. . . . .

Keeps on Giving

In early January we picked up some clearanced amaryllis bulbs. After the bulbs sat all winter in a cardboard box in the garden center, neglected by staff and rummaged over by picky customers, leaves and stalks had begun to emerge, and the weak roots bent and twisted like they were reaching for soil. We rescued two bulbs and planted them in a pot that we kept on the dining table. Soon the amaryllis were offering show after show of dark red flowers.

Standing proudly as we eat or work at the table, the flowers quietly tell a story about growth and cycles, hedging our bets, community support, and hope for the future. Using the amaryllis, as well as tulips and daffodils purchased in a moment of weakness at the grocery, C&D have begun studying the flowers and exploring the flowers’ story themselves.

Yesterday, C&D fertilized their last batch of amaryllis flowers. A few of the flowers seemed have have self-fertilized already, but by dabbing their paint brushes over the anthers and onto the stigmas, C&D are working to ensure a supply of developing seeds for studying, and maybe even planting next year.

Later that day we received about 600 earthworms in the mail. The earthworms will live in the kitchen and eat at least some of our compostables. C&D are thrilled to have so many pets, and are eager to find earthworm eggs and babies soon. We haven’t named all the worms yet; hope that’s okay with you.

. . . . .


The other day Carmen was looking for something to do. David was busy building a barn in miniature, and I was in the kitchen getting ready for lunch. She sighed loudly. “Mommy,” she started, “Why didn’t you have triple-ets?”

Tags: Bigger Pictures · Dynamic Duo · Go Joyce Go · Learn Something

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Ilya // Feb 26, 2011 at 9:58 am

    Go worms go!!!!

    Please keep me posted on how the new pets go.

  • 2 Dana // Nov 4, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    I was reading about homemade worm bins online and you commented that you were planning to keep your worm bin in your kitchen. How is that going? I need someone to confirm that it doesn’t stink before I’m allowed to have a bin in my own kitchen.

  • 3 J. // Nov 4, 2012 at 9:44 pm

    Hi, Dana!

    The experiment didn’t work very well. The temps in my house fluctuate quite a lot–toward being too warm–and the wormies did not appreciate that at all. I only noticed odors after overloading the bins. I’ve been wondering about using black soldier flies on our balcony–maybe they won’t mind the heat there?–but am still on my research phase.

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