So What DO You Do All Day?
As some of you know, I've been working on a unit study. It was easier to pull together using the principles I wanted to cover than I at first thought. It helps that this is the way I think. I actually have a harder time separating details out than I do integrating subjects. Putting it into a format anybody but me can understand has been challenging, but it will get done, and I will be offering it to anyome interested. It encompasses my newfound vision for my homeschool and I'm enjoying it more all the time. Here is a sampling:

Our day begins with our more formal "school" time. We do not have a school room. We don't even have a kitchen table. What we have is a comfy couch good for snuggling on. Here, I read to the children, listen to my daughter read and go over new concepts...always starting with nice, biblical principles, of course. Right now, we are beginning with the principle of Christian self-government (hence the recurrent theme in recent postings). We are working on the parable of the sower and how to prepare our hearts for the Word of the Lord.

Copy work, writing and drawing are done at our little coffee table. Not the best for posture, I suppose, but the world did without desks for millenia.

Then it is time for real life. What I do in the morning varies, but it encompasses those things taught best through direct instruction. Afternoons are for discovery and application. My daughter helps a lot in the kitchen and it is amazing the amount of math and science which can be incorporated into normal cooking tasks once you get into that frame of mind. But right now we are talking about gardens. Here is the herb garden she and her brother planted. The point of the lesson was mostly reading and following instructions. We examined the seed packet, deduced its text structure and followed its instructions.

The kids love the sage. I hope there is some wonderful healthy benefit to picking the leaves to suck on every day.

As part of our study, we are preparing soil for a garden. Up until now, this has all been very practical and concrete. We have been examining soil, talking about nutrients and digging in the dirt. Mouse and Bear followed the instructions carefully to prepare the soil properly for our little Jiffy greenhouse. They must have done a good job, because we have a surplus of tomatoes, banana peppers and pumpkins. Later, we will make the leap to the abstract and begin talking about how to prepare our hearts to receive instruction.

Any garden requires planning. We learned about measurement earlier. We talked about how we aren't to have divers measures, but to treat all men fairly. We focused a lot on non-standard measures the first time around, along with the history of measurement. Now, we've joined the modern world and are using feet and inches. ( metric at this point.). They had to measure the boards, the lawn mower and sections of the yard to see where it our garden would fit and still be able to mow around it. They also needed to make some observations about how much sun the garden would get at different times of the day.

A little involvement from dad for some simple carpentry work is always a plus. While they put this together, we talked about boundaries. These wooden boundaries will help keep the grass and weeds from pushing into the garden. They will also protect the young seedlings from being trampled while we are playing outside. We applied this to the spiritual by noting who sets the boundaries for our lives. God set boundaries in Eden. He sets boundaries for us now. And they are there, in part, to help keep our hearts from being overgrown by "weeds."

Here are the finished boxes, waiting to be filled with fresh, nutritious soil for our earthly garden. Throughout the summer, as we tend this garden, we will be learning practical biology, math and anything else I can dream up to apply. But I will also take care to guide my daughter to think in a spiritual sense as well. Jesus taught by analogy...he took the everyday experiences of His listeners to demonstrate spiritual truths. Many of the metaphors are nearly lost in our culture of "instant gratification," but we can take special care to give our children some of these experiences which will help to deepen their knowledge of and appreciation for the truths of scripture.

Except that we might be moving. We talked to a realtor today and if she thinks we can get get what we want for the house....well, let's just say there's five acres out in the country that is in our price range. Needs a bit of work. Hmmm....maybe a unit on building a house on a firm foundation? Would a garden of luscious tomatoes, pumpkins and peppers be a selling point in your book?

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