Monday, February 07, 2011

going with the flow: homeschool style

i love having a curriculum. i love that it's ready-made for me. i love that i have an easy way to see what's coming up and to check off what we've done. i love that things are organized without a ton of time and planning on my part. i love that most of our "school" time is spent snuggled on the couch, snacks and juice in hand (coffee in mine), just reading.

my 5 year old and i are currently on week 26 of this, accompanied by this. and we're truly having a blast. we've learned so many fun and interesting facts (yes, i said "we." i now know the difference between stalactites and stalagmites, thank you very much.), and i've noticed an obvious increase in her vocabulary and creativity.

i also love the flexibility that homeschool allows. even though my day is planned for me in my handy dandy teacher's guide, it's so easy to switch things around or just plain skip things if we want. today turned out to be a flexible day.

in our current stage of life our main "school time" is in the afternoon when my son is taking a nap (if there are simple activities i know he would enjoy, we fit them in after lunch before he lays down). today we were having lunch and listening to some music. i picked some classical music today for their benefit and because i'm a big geek and just plain like it. (it was dvorak's 7th symphony, by the way.) now we've listened to classical music before in the background, but today it really caught rachel's attention. we started to talk about the different instruments we could hear and when i was having trouble describing to her just how tall a double bass is, i decided a google search with pictures was in order.

i stumbled upon this site, which has sound clips of all the instruments found in a symphony orchestra and even some games. we definitely listened to every single clip and rachel still wanted more. (lucas was into it, too, so his nap got pushed back a bit so we could keep exploring together.) then she wanted to see a whole orchestra in action. over to youtube we went.

i found this clip which turned out to be the perfect way to follow up our instrument search. the piece has lots of different solos and the camera work jumps around to show the different instruments (including those strange double basses rachel was so curious about).* rachel recognized a lot of instruments from little einsteins and she thought that was just the bee's knees.

even after this, my 5 year old still wasn't bored. we then branched out to watching some ballet dances from the nutcracker. (we're planning on taking rachel to see that live next christmas.)

at this point, lucas was an hour late for his nap. i had to pull the plug. and we did have other things on the agenda for today. but it was such an enjoyable time with my kids, to go with the flow and let them explore in the moment the thing that interested them today. tomorrow they may be completely uninterested, but hey, at least they had a blast pretending to play the timpani.

*this is another great example of the different sections and instruments courtesy of my dad. also, the hairstyles are unbelievable.

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