I decided to do a school/break hybrid, and "teach" the kids without letting them know what I was actually doing. Living life, and learning through everyday activities. It's pretty much my goal, my philosophy, and one of the big reasons that we chose to homeschool in the first place, is that learning should be organic and natural because they want to do it. So I "let" myself have spring break to try a different kind of learning.
Monday we did a lesson on the papal conclave, since it was the first day of the conclave. We had a friend come over and Beth, her friend, and I all worked on a lapbook from the Shower of Roses blog. It was fun, they (and I!) learned a lot, and I realized then that Beth does REALLY well with a little bit of friendly competition. She and her sweet friend took turns reading to me and it really motivated Beth to read a lot more, when previously she had been resisting and totally holding out on me!
On Tuesday I took the kids to a local dairy farm. We arrived early in the morning when no one else was there, and the owner was nice enough to let the kids watch and participate as she was milking her cows. Someone else offered to let us help feed the baby goats and the baby cows. So cute!!! We bought some delicious raw milk and came home, and Beth worked on a booklet for me. She illustrated some pictures (of course!) and wrote down one thing she learned, what her favorite part of the trip was, and what the weather was like (EXTREMELY windy!). She wrote down that she learned that cows have four teats and goats have only two!
Wednesday, Ryan took a half day off work. I dropped Beth off at her friend's house and took Luke and Jack to an ENT specialist. Luke, over a year later, is still having earwax buildup in his ears, and Ryan and I finally decided to bring him to a different doctor. (Over a year ago, we brought him to the pediatrician and a nurse irrigated his ear. It was awful traumatic for Luke, the nurse threatened us, and there was no way in you-know-what I was taking him back there for another ear problem!) The doctor used a little tiny vacuum this time to clean out his ears- still not the most pleasant experience for Luke but it went WAY better than the previous year. The best part about the whole thing was when we were leaving, Luke said, "Mommy, I can hear out of my ear again!" ***tears*** My poor love... I don't know why his body insists on making so much ear wax... It's already building up again. And no I don't use q-tips! Anyways... On the way home we stopped and I let him pick out a special treat for being so awesome. He picked kombucha. :-)
We had lunch at our friend's house then hopped in the car to meet Ryan at the nursery to pick out plants for our new backyard vegetable gardens. Not too long after we got there, I got a text from a friend- "HABEMUS PAPEM!" We have a pope! I parked our wagon full of plants and pulled up EWTN on my phone. Once I realized his name wasn't going to be announced right away I finished shopping while the kids were watching our phones, with instructions to let me know if anything exciting happened! We finished the shopping and loaded up the car, Beth was watching my phone intently the whole time. About halfway home I realized they were going to announce the new pope's name so I pulled over so Beth and I could watch it on my iPhone- the boys were asleep! She watched everything else as we drove the rest of the way home. We were so joyful!
I don't think we planted anything that evening. We were all so worn out from the long day!
Thursday and Friday were days spent doing "real" school work (like her math workbook) but guess what- Beth initiated it. She told me she wanted to do a little bit of math... Then she told me she wanted to write a letter to someone, and would I spell everything for her? (That counts as handwriting in our house!) I think we also went to the library on one of these days- I can't find a picture in my phone that documented the occasion!
Our "break" was great for all of us. I got a reprieve from the typical daily grind and the kids made some memories but also learned a few new things! I would love to be able to include more of these types of activities for us, but planning usually takes so much work for me. I think I'll make a list of all of the potential places where we could go, and then when I'm feeling spontaneous we'll take a look at the list and just pick a place to go. We did that a couple of weeks ago, on the day my miscarriage began. I knew I didn't want to just sit at home all day, stare at a mess, and listen to the kids whine about the usual stuff, so we just packed it up and hauled out of here, without a plan. We wound up watching airplanes take off at the airport and then went to the zoo. It was the BEST day- we all had so much fun! It's all been a big reminder to me that I want their education to be fun and exciting, but meaningful.
I think we're going to have more days like these.