Saturday, November 28, 2009

Thanksgiving - OE Style!

On Monday, instead of our regular Science class, we had a little home school Thanksgiving feast. It was so much fun.

First, one of the moms made Pilgrim Hat cookies with the children.

Then we made butter for the bread.

For some reason, it took longer than usual, and a whole lot of shaking, to turn this cream into butter.

We thought it would never turn to butter.

By the time it did, we were all sweaty and I was too worn out to take a picture. You have my word, however, that we did have fresh, homemade butter for our bread.

Then we had a yummy Thanksgiving feast together. 13 children, 6 moms, and 1 dad sharing friendship and food.

Is there anything sweeter than this?

I'm very thankful that I am able to Otherwise Educate my precious children.

And I'm thankful that I have a husband who not only supports this crazy experiment, but encourages me. He was at this party because he enjoys experiencing these special days with our children. However, I forgot to take a picture of him. This little boy looks like a miniature version of him, so use your imagination.

Not only does he look just like his daddy, he's just as sweet, too!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Inside Recess

Stair Surfing!

I just love the laughter I get to hear all day!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Traveling School ...

One really cool thing about Otherwise Educating is that we can do it today when we took a field trip to the salon so the teacher could get a pedicure.

Last week, we took our little home school on the road and headed to Indianapolis for the Bands of America Grand Nationals Competition where we watched Thing 2 and the High School Marching Band compete.

That's my kiddo there, second from the right. He's so good he plays two French Horns at the same time. Or maybe he was carrying someone else's horn. I can't remember. Either way, he is a very talented horn player. But I digress...

It's great to have the flexibility to travel with our family during the school year without having to worry about make-up work. We worked ahead a little before we left so we didn't have to take any work on the road with us. There are so many opportunities to learn when we're away from home that I don't see the point in complicating things with school work.

Reading a little while waiting to go into the stadium.

We got to see the Berlin Wall show again. It is the show that I mentioned here that caused us to study the Berlin Wall. We also heard some wonderful music and saw some incredible marching shows. I love Arts Education.

We visited the Children's Museum of Indianapolis while we were there.

This is the best Children's Museum I've ever visited. It was an awesome field trip!

We got to touch real dinosaur bones and talk to a paleontologist who was working on a field cast. So cool!

We shopped in an Egyptian Marketplace...

...and visited an Ancient Egyptian Temple.

We visited the Tree of Hope and added our promises, and I made a mental note to work more on spelling with Thing 4.

We looked at some real germs.

And we had a lot of fun.

Monday, November 9, 2009


In Science today, we learned about worms. The kids made a worm habitat.

Complete with live worms.

Then it was time to dissect an earthworm. I don't mind telling you that I refused to take part in this activity. Instead, I acted as school photographer. Someone had to capture these photos for our yearbook.

It seems that someone inherited my aversion to all things disgusting.

Getting braver.

"Ok, I'll watch while someone else does the dissecting."

Conquering the fear.


What a great class! Thanks, Ms. A!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Are You Smarter Than A Second Grader?

On Thursday, my daughter was watching "Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?" The question was, "Which of the original 13 colonies was the last to ratify the Constitution?" The adult contestant answered "Pennsylvania".

Thing 4 came running into the kitchen and said, "Oh. My. Goodness. That man thought Pennsylvania was the last colony to ratify the Constitution! Everyone knows Pennsylvania was the second to ratify it! He's not even smarter than a second grader!"

As a slightly insecure Otherwise Educating mother, I really love it when we have those moments when our decision to OE is validated. It's great when I see that my children really are learning something from me and I see that I'm not completely screwing up their lives...unless you think weird, nerdy kids who wear pajamas until noon most days and who ask to study History and read about Odysseus are screwed up. If you do, then I've totally screwed them up.I feel compelled to point out, however, that they were weird and nerdy before I started OEing them. But they didn't wear pajamas until noon. That's all my fault.

Just don't ask Thing 4 what colony was the third to ratify the Constitution. We haven't gotten that far yet. We got a little sidetracked with our study of Greek Mythology.

There's just too much to learn and not enough days in the week!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Teacher or Mom?

Otherwise Educating allows me to spend a lot time with our two youngest kiddos. A lot of time. A crazy, ridiculous amount of time. So much time that sometimes even I think I'm crazy for choosing this path. I mean, I really love my children and all, but I spend a lot of time with them.

One would think that if the children weren't sick of me by 6 p.m. every day, they would at least feel like they had received plenty of deposits into their "mommy time" account and could stand the thought of being apart from me for more than five minutes. By 6 p.m., I'm sick of me. As much as I love my children and love being with them, I admit that by 6 p.m. on most days, my "kid time" account is practically maxed out and I'm ready to make a withdrawal or two.

My daughter does not share my sentiments. The girl simply can't get enough time with me. She wants to be with me every waking moment. (And when I stop and think about that, I think, "Who could blame her?" I'm no Pioneer Woman, but I am pretty cool. )

So today on the way home from a four hour errand outing (preceded by over four hours of school with me as her teacher), she said, "Mommy, will you play a game with me when we get home?" Exhausted at this point, the thought of playing Sleeping Queens made me want to drive a stake through my kneecap. I took a deep breath and said, "No. I just can't tonight." I could see in the rearview mirror that she was teary. There was a pause and she said, "You never do anything with me." I almost ran off the road. "I never do anything with you?!? I am with you all day long. I spend hours with you every day teaching you history, math, spelling, geography, reading with you. I even played Scrambled States with you this morning. That's a game! How can you say I never do anything with you?" Then she passed teary and launched right into the ugly cry and said, "You don't understand. During the day you're just my teacher, not my mom."

Oh... Darn.

I was counting all that time as quality time together. She was just counting it as school.

I saw that time as us having mommy/daughter (and son) time. She saw that time as teacher/student time.


I thought about it for a minute and it made sense to me. Since I have taken responsibility for educating our children, I try to use every moment I can to squeeze in some kind of learning. The problem is, the children don't want every moment we spend together to be turned into a teachable moment. Sometimes they just want to have fun with their mom. I had combined the roles, but they don't like it that way. They love having me as their teacher, but they miss having me as their mom.

I said, "You know what? I understand what you're saying and it makes sense to me. Let's play Sleeping Queens tonight." She let out a big sigh of relief and said, "You really understand? I love you, Mommy."

For the record, I won the game.


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