Okay, on the the subject at hand: November Homeschooling!
We homeschool year-round, with a lighter load in the summer and then we COMPLETELY switch gears in November and December.
This last week was a really good reminder... sit back and let me tell you about it...
Usually I start our holiday homeschooling in October. (I give Halloween a few weeks.) It starts mid-October and basically I start small and grow from there. When I say we do holiday things, here is what I mean:
- I put little Halloween stickers or graphics on just about everything...
- I choose reading material that has to do with Halloween, silly spooks, or trick or treating...
- I do language arts activities that are themed for Halloween...
- We increase our crafts and art by about 500%, and all of them are around fall or Halloween themes...
- Pretty much ANYTHING we do, say, write, or make has to do with the season or Halloween...
Did I do that this year?
We were in SUCH a great groove I just kept truckin'...
But the kids had NONE of it.
By the end of the month- just a few days before Halloween- my kids were bonkers. They tried hard but just could NOT sit still, could NOT focus, could NOT pay attention- it was a homeschool headache! I reached out to my dear friend, Brandi (a very zen homeschooling guru), and she summed up my issue in just one sentence, "It's all the excitement of Halloween!!!"
She was right.
So- we are going back to the original plan. Honestly I thought my kids had "grown out" of holiday madness, but apparently not!!!
It it would have saved me a lot of stress to just go back to doing what I used to do... why fix something that isn't broken!? (Remember that next year, Self!)
November and December are a different story. I
have thought and prayed about this over the years, and even though my content has differed each year- the theme has always been the same. November was about American history, and December was focused on Advent.
I have decided to change November.
Why? Because November WAS broken.
The anthropologist in me has a lot of problems with the traditional stories that go along with the First Thanksgiving (and much of American history... but I digress). My children are eager learners, and I do not want to teach them something "historical" that is actually historically inaccurate. Without going deeply into it- a lot of the current representation of early American history is grossly distorted, and I refuse to teach it to my offspring. When they are older, we will dive into America's history- the good, the bad, and the ugly- with accuracy. But for now I will spare my children the horror of what actually happened when various waves of settlers arrived. I am not doing this to be unAmerican- I am as American as apple pie (if it is gluten free...) and I adore our great nation! I just do not want my kids to be disillusioned. (I sure was! "What do you mean they weren't friends!?!?!?!?!")
November will now be built upon the theme of gratitude. We will be teaching the kids about Thanksgiving- as a holiday celebrating things for which we are grateful- and we will discuss the settling of America as it comes. I will gently correct misinformation we come across, and we will be researching topics together- so they can see the differences between scholarly research versus adorably-illustrated-yet-completely-inaccurate-children's books. Yes, I understand this might seem strange- but I figure it is better to teach them the truth the first time, than make them recite, write, review, repeat, and regurgitate complete nonsense. (All that said, they will probably watch the Charlie Brown special on the Mayflower... but that is as close to foofoo as we will get.)
Here are a few of the things we will be doing in November: *I will not be using ALL things from each site, but here is a quick guide of the direction I am heading.
- The Thanks Giving Tree- a beautiful printable with scriptures we will read daily.
- Thanksgiving Interactive Sites, including:
- Plimoth Plantation Website- games, activities, and more
- Thanksgiving Games for Kids- random games for fun
- The First Thanksgiving- Scholastic website for kids with videos, timeline, and teacher/student resources
- EnchantedLearning- fun worksheets and crafts
- Thanksgiving Activities and Printables- more worksheets (the kids get at least 1 per day)
- Reading Library books- we will be continuing to visit the library for story hour, and we will be checking out books on the subjects of Thanksgiving, gratitude, autumn, and if I am feeling up to it- Christmas ones here and there too... =)
- Gratitude Journals- the boys usually journal in their notebooks, but these are a neat chance to add scripture and a spirit of gratitude as well. There is some tracing work in here too, so we will be using that instead of our usual Getty-Dubay Handwriting books.
- Spelling You See
- Independent Reading- the children get to choose their own books and read during this time each day.
**Photo from SouthPark