What We Did When We Didn’t Do School

25 Jan

School started this week for most of the nation.

Hubby returned to work and his class had their first day of school today.

It’s such an odd week to start as there is a public holiday in the middle of the week.  (Australia Day is the 26th in case you were wondering).

So I decided that we’d start school next week and use this as our “warming up” week.

Yesterday we met with several dear homeschooling families for that all important “socialisation”.

Today we just let the day unfold to see where it would take us.

So while classroom kids were meeting their new teachers, packing their supplies into their desk, colouring title pages in their notebooks, establishing class rules and homework procedures, this is what we did…when we weren’t doing school.

Firstly we read several chapters in a novel about Native Americans.  Later, over tea (that’s our main evening meal), the boys narrated the story so far to their Daddy and shared what they’d learned about the Indian culture portrayed in this novel.  I was really impressed with the details they remembered.  (Narrating is a VERY powerful device.)

IMG_2152 (Small)

We read this delightful book, “The Library Gingerbread Man” and incidentally discussed the Dewey Call system which we’d learned about last year.

IMG_2150 (Small)

Ethan came up with the idea of  making a list of the call numbers from the book and checking in our library to see if we’ll find the same sorts of books in our library.  He had to use the book titles from the illustrations to generalise a name for each category.  He put this in his “Grocery Shopping” app so when we go to the library this week we can check them off as we locate them.

IMG_2151 (Small)

We read “Superhero Swamp” which was about a group of friends who start treating each other unkindly and the Superheros that turn things around.  This was a great discussion starter and prompt through the day.

IMG_2153 (Small)

After some time on the Wii playing various sports (I only buy the active games…hehehe) we sat down and played the “Blunders” boardgame which has been sitting in our cupboard since last year.

IMG_2156 (Small)

This was a great little game about manners and etiquette and the boys loved it as there were role playing questions.  This isn’t something they do often so it was lots of fun to play alongside them.

This game has two play options.  One dice for a longer game which we started with, and two dice for fast play (and adding some number facts to our “no school yet day”).

IMG_2160 (Small)

Ethan insisted on reading aloud all of the questions.  This surprised me as he usually doesn’t offer to read aloud and today he was quite insistent about the job.

IMG_2155 (Small)

As well as role playing questions, there were true and false questions and setting the table activities.   I was impressed with what my boys already knew about etiquette.

Ethan was amused by the expression “UFO – unidentified food object” in his question to Brayden about picking eating.

IMG_2157 (Small)

While tea was being made, the boys sat down and watched a youtube video on the tv about how a computer works.  This is one of Ethan’s favourites.  I’m sure he knows it word for word by now.

After tea and showers we settled down for a movie night.  We watched “Brother Bear” together before bed.

All in all a pretty good non-school day I thought.

OH I almost forget.  Ethan helped me put together the file folder games I’ve been cutting out.  We had to place all of the pieces on the games to make sure all the pieces were accounted for and then bag them up.  So without realising it Ethan practised compound words, fractions, skip counting, phonics, magnetism, animal coverings, dental health and several other things under the pretense of ‘helping me’.  Heheheh….sneaky mum that I am.  Some might say ‘sly’ but I prefer the term ‘clever’ or ‘creative’.  Hehehehe.

Brayden didn’t miss out.  He was off building one of Ethan’s Lego kits at the time.  Ethan prefers playing with the finished product and Brayden prefers building them so Ethan gets Brayden to build his kits.  The perfect arrangement.

So that was our day today.  The rest of the week will be similar and by Monday next week we’ll be nice and warmed up and ready to hit the year running.

…And hopefully my new printer will have arrived.


Posted by on January 25, 2011 in Homeschooling Days


14 responses to “What We Did When We Didn’t Do School

  1. April

    January 26, 2011 at 8:41 am

    Hello Tracey. Where did you buy the Blunders board game? We are working on “manners” this year and I think the game would be a perfect for the kids. Thanks, April.

  2. Tracey

    January 26, 2011 at 9:32 am

    I found it at Toys R Us.

  3. Bernadette

    January 26, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    Hi tracey,

    When/ how do you use your file folder games, I know you don’t use workboxes after your trial run. Are they there for whenever, or do you you use them during the day. This seems to be an obvious question as i type it, but the answer for me is like standing at a canyon, i can see the other side, i just can’t figure out how to get there *d’uh face* 🙂


  4. Tracey

    January 26, 2011 at 5:00 pm

    Here in lies the problem of file folder games and all the nifty things we make….they rarely get used.

    I’ve actually moved away from a lot of that stuff. It’s still in my shelves as my boys occasionally pull it out and play with it in their own time.

    But…and now brace yourself for something that could get me shot down in flames…I think a lot of the game type stuff is nothing more than edutainment and time wasting. I didn’t used to think so but now that I’ve seen some old fashioned educational techniques (like memorisation) in practise in my own home, I can see that we can learn the same stuff in a fraction of the time and then have time to go and play real games that actually are fun.

    Yes we’ll still play games occasionally (like we did when we were studying fractions etc) but not just to make school “fun” and “interesting”.

    I think the word “work” gets a really bad wrap. Work isn’t always fun or easy…in fact it’s not often either of these but work has to be done so I think in a way we are jipping our children by trying to make everything they learn exciting.

    That doesn’t mean school will be boring, it means that kids might actually enjoy the thrill of working hard for the mere fact of achieving something worthwhile. Okay, hoping down off my soap box before I trip and break my neck…or someone does it for me…hehehe

    So why was I making file folder games if I’m not really going to use them? Well these games were printed and cut up ages ago and I found them in my cleaning. I was going to throw them all out but decided that I might as well make them up, enjoy them for a short while and then send them onto my sister’s school who LOVE this sort of thing. By the very nature of school there is a lot of wasted time while kids wait for other kids to finish, so file folder games are a not such a bad thing to fill a vacant time slot when your only other option is to clean your desk or put your head down. Hehehe.

    How could you use file folders in your homeschool if you wanted to use them?…Well workboxing was perfect for them…but that comes back to the whole reason we abandoned the system – time wasting.

    Hmmm…You could set aside a games afternoon. I have used them for days when the boys aren’t well but nowdays they prefer to be read to when they are ill.

    Oh another idea – if you have several children they could use them while they were waiting for your help rather than going off to play and making it hard to fetch them back. That would be a valid and worthwhile use.

    My prep teacher sister uses them a lot with the little guys during their one on one teacher time. I did find them quite useful during the preschool stages.

    Hope this helps without totally confusing you.

  5. Monique

    January 26, 2011 at 9:50 pm

    I think the games and other edutainment has a place with the right type of learner. My son is not good with memorization and book work, he needs to see and do it, have it shown on terms he can understand.

    That is why we all home-school though, to work with our individual children’s learning styles 🙂

    I love the books, I have noted them down, I think the Superhero one will be a great book to use as a social story for my son.

    Very creative use of the app! I love the way he customized it for his library list.

  6. Tracey

    January 26, 2011 at 10:09 pm

    I didn’t think my boys would be good at memorising either. But they surprised me. I underestimated them and the power of the old fashioned ways.

  7. Bernadette

    January 26, 2011 at 10:37 pm

    I think that’s been my problem with the few we have made. I’ve gone to all this trouble printing/cutting/laminating/gluing and to have them fly through them in 5 seconds flat! never to want to touch them again! i remember my first FF game i made, it was a fractions one also, we’d never covered fractions and they got it 1st go without any help! yeah that’s good, but awww mannn! that took SOOO much time to make!! lol 🙂
    Nope, what you say about hard work is so true, you’ve mentioned this before and it struck a chord – i think i’ll have to find and re-read that post again to get me out of my ‘rut’
    Thanks as always 🙂
    Bernadette and crew

  8. Tracey

    January 26, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    Oh I totally Bernadette. It is time consuming making all this stuff and then the kids sit down and complete it in minutes. Just goes to show that they don’t need all the frills we think they need.

    It frees us up to do the good stuff with our kids – playing real board games, taking a bush walk, reading aloud to each other….

    Yet another layer of brainwashing that I’m slowly removing. The teaching techniques I’m currently employing are soooo taboo in the school world. Hehehehe. I feel like a bit of a rebel. Heheeheh.

  9. Monique

    January 26, 2011 at 11:20 pm

    With the little man we don’t have that problem, which is probably in part because of his developmental delay. He loves to do the few ff games we have so far over and over. Although he can entertain himself for over an hour just spinning in circles lol

  10. Tracey

    January 26, 2011 at 11:48 pm

    Oh your little man would love this toy thing my boys had at one point. You sit on the base and hold the wheel at the top and pull yourself into a spin. My boys loved it but it made me dizzy watching them. I’m swaying just thinking about it. Hehehehe. My boys still love to twist the swing up and then let go into a wild erratic twirl. Must admit I like that as a kid too.

    Monique if you are looking for good file folder games Carson Dellosa (publishing company) has some great ones. They are the ones I’ve used. They’ve got coloured ones now. Phooey I had to colour my own!

  11. Monique

    January 27, 2011 at 12:38 am

    Thank you, I’ll look them up.

    Some blog love for you

  12. Jen in NSW

    January 28, 2011 at 7:10 pm

    Thank you Tracey for allowing me to let go of my mummy guilt over not using the 5 or so file folder games I have partly made up.

    You have saved me a lot of guilt. I think I will finish them off, use them the once or twice my little guys will think they are fun and then gift them to my local preschool.

    Best wishes
    Jen in NSW

  13. Tracey

    January 28, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    Your local preschool will love them. 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: