April 28, 2010

Secular Thursday: Homeschool Days 4/29/10

"Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is." 
-Isaac Asimov

We spent the week making some changes around the house, decluttering, and cleaning.  After last week, I was feeling overwhelmed, and really just needed to be at home to decompress.  Unfortunately, before I threw myself into the house project, I had a little panic attack concerning homeschooling.  I still sometimes struggle with reconciling the reality of my life with how I imagine it.  Did you see that movie 500 Days of Summer?  There is this scene where Tom goes to a party, and the screen splits into Expections and Reality.  That happens to me all the time.  I get stuck in how I thought things would be and then get really frustrated when it doesn't work out.  After that, I threw myself into work and felt much better.  I'm back on track with the reality of my life and everything is much more pleasant.  I must remember what my real values are:  peace, love, passion, and happiness.  Very cliche, but what I really hope for in our short time here.

In a short health update, I have now lost 26 pounds.

The only "secular" stuff going on this week is the AIR meeting on Sunday.  We did have a couple of boys come to our door on Tuesday, trying to get us to check out their church.  We don't normally answer the door when we aren't expecting anyone, but I thought it was B and the girls coming back from Moe's.  I was sort of taken aback when I saw it wasn't my family, so I just stared at them while they did their spiel.  When they asked if we went to church I said, "No, we don't believe in any gods.  Thank you."  Then it was their turn to stare.  I don't think anyone has ever said that to them before, especially not in this area.  I half expected to find a burning cross on our front lawn the next morning.  I wonder if we'll get even more visitors now that they know we need to be "saved."

Interesting Things This Week

When I first started homeschooling Robotson, I had all these workbooks and things.  I specifically remember in one of them there were activities for sequencing.   The first problem was getting him to sit still long enough to even look at the scenes, but even then he routinely got them in the wrong order.  I might have thought there was a cause for concern if I didn't know him so well.  Robotson has never been one to "perform."  He may very well know the answer, but you aren't going to have it unless it was his idea to tell you.  I didn't really know whether he knew first, second, and last, but it didn't seem worth fighting over.  As time passed, it became obvious that he did understand sequences; he just hated workbooks.  Funny Girl is completely different.  She enjoys figuring things out and basking in the glow of her accomplishments.  She likes to please.  I don't mean that I require anything of her, just that she likes it when I am proud of her.  Several months ago, a friend gave us some wooden puzzles and one of them was Before & After.  Dimples has been having great fun these past couple of days taking out as many things as she can, dispersing them around, and then refusing to pick them up.  I was cleaning up the pile of pieces from five separate puzzles when Funny Girl offered to help.  After a quick explanation of sequences, she was able to do them all on her own.  I was surprised by the contrast with Robotson who wouldn't even try, at six, to do the same thing.  Obviously these weren't workbooks, and the situation was different, but I don't think it matters.   The challenge for me now is to make sure that I meet Funny Girl's needs.  The laissez-faire approach I have with Robotson probably won't appeal to her.

In other Funny Girl news, she is beginning to recognize words in our reading.  Today I was reading The Book of Beasts, and she pointed out the word "what" to me.  It's the first time she's pointed out a word that wasn't isolated or repeated several times.  This time it was on a different page, at the beginning of a sentence, and she was trying to read ahead of me.  Maybe that's not a big deal, but since I only have Robotson to compare with, this is a new experience.

Robotson continues to impress me with his musical creations.  Here's his latest, loosely based on Daft Punk's Harder Better Faster Stronger.


If I'd Known Then What I Know Now (Picture Puffins)If I'd Known Then What I Know Now by Reeve Lindbergh - I like the message in this story.  Dad is always learning how to do something, and he always bungles it.  Despite that, he never gives up. Even better, no one wishes he would give up.  They appreciate his growth mindset.  Robotson seemed to absorb the story.  I hope he asks for it again.

Onions and Garlic: An Old TaleOnions and Garlic:  An Old Tale by Eric A. Kimmel - Just another version of the story that what goes around comes around.  If you are patient and kind, good things will come to you.  If you are greedy, you will end up with onions.  I'm not convinced this is true, but it makes for a nice story.

Science VerseScience Verse by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith - This book is awesome!  They take science and write it up so that it follows the form of familiar poems like The Raven or Jabberwocky.  They are very clever!  The kids love Math Curse, so this was a big hit as well.

A Drop of Blood by Paul Showers - This was a neat little introduction to blood.  The kids broke into song, singing The Bloodmobile by TMBG.  Learning about platelets put a whole new perspective on scabs.  Perhaps they will leave them alone now.

Cool Links

Would a lava lamp work on Jupiter? (via kottke.org)

(via kottke.org)

Iceland's volcano on The Big Picture.  Another set!

Pollen has been driving us nuts this year.  No better time to learn all about it than when it's everywhere.  Science Friday also had a pretty good segment on pollen.

Read more Secular Thursday posts here!


  1. I think I will look for a Drop of Blood - human body interests Anna very much. I was amused to read about your interaction with church boys - expect parents to show up and "save" you very soon now :) I am curious with how you will adjust your homeschooling to accomodate FG needs.

  2. I just bought Science Verse at a library booksale yesterday, sans the CD that comes with it ;(

  3. Wait...It comes with a cd? Dang! That wasn't in mine either. Bummer!