Wednesday, February 21, 2007


We have a play area in our finished basement. It's where the kids can play and where most of our toys are housed. We try to get our children to keep the area straightened up simply because, I have to walk throught their play area to get to my computer. When I came to the basement yesterday, I couldn't see the floor. For a split second, I was going to give them the straighten up when you're done lecture.

Then I saw what they were doing. They had taken all of their stuffed animal dogs (all shapes and sizes), had ropes tied around them and had a box they could sit on right behind the dogs. They were mushing! I am thrilled. They have made a connection and they are choosing to "play" what they are learning about.

This is yet another reason I love homeschooling. We aren't using a one-size-fits-all curriculum, and they are walking away with something. My husband suggested they take a picture and send it to the musher they are following for this year's Iditarod. They were thrilled with the idea.
I feel that, for today, I can breathe easy because they are learning something.

Monday, February 19, 2007


We are so excited to be studying the Iditarod this year. My 9yo loves animals and is fascinated with the sled dogs used for the race. Each child has chosen a musher to follow. We will be able to plot where the mushers are during the race that begins on March 3.

I love unit studies and am able (thanks to the internet) to piece them together rather inexpensively. All subjects can come into play when doing a unit study. That's life. When you wake up in the morning, you don't say "Okay, at 8am I am going to do 'nutrition', then at 8:30 I am going to do 'science' . " Subjects are integrated throughout your day. Something as simple as going to the grocery store incorporates math, reading, health & nutrition, etc. I feel unit studies are a much more natural way of learning.

So anyway, the Iditarod. We can cover these subjects: history (the first "serum race" happened in 1925), reading (there are a few living books available at our library), geography (mapping Alaska and the race routes), writing (write letters to the mushers to say that we are following their progress and praying for them), biology (study the sled dogs and why they are ideal for this race), climate/weather (check for daily weather reports online; discover why Alaska is "blizzard prone"), art (create a picture of aurora borealis and/or made a diorama of a sledding team), math (keep charts of mushers' progress), and health (define diphtheria). I'm sure other subjects will come up along the way.

As other unit studies we do, a lot centers on how excited I get about it. When we are finished, my kids will love to show family members their latest notebooks and lapbooks for many months to come.

I leave with a quote from Charlotte Mason today: "Give your child a single valuable idea and you have done more for his education than if you had laid upon his mind the burden of bushels of information"