Today, we tried out the curriculum that we plan to use with the boys while on the road. We thought we should have a trial run at this before things get real.
I’ve already forgotten what they’ve learned, but here’s what I learned:
- I am clearly not qualified to be a teacher nor do I have the ability to fathom what it would be like to have AN ENTIRE ROOM full of these crazy little people. I only have two and my mind is blown.
- There were constant snack requests or dramatic outbursts about ‘being starving’ throughout the day, usually when we had literally just finished breakfast or lunch or an actual snack itself. Clearly an effective delay tactic used by these little tricksters.
- I learned that I’ve forgotten the most basic math and that math you teach little kids is so simple that it’s actually hard. For example: What number is 6 less than 9? This question was asked in a variety of ways with different blanks to fill in each time and after the third one I lost the ability to solve for it. It’s just like when you look at a word over and over and it starts to look incorrect or just silly. Basic math took me straight into silly.
- This road schooling will be just as much of an adventure as the adventure is.
We did have a few awesome moments, and I these alone are enough for me to keep trying.
We had planed to have a session on ‘health’ but none of us had any idea of what we should learn. Thankfully we found what we wanted on Khan Academy, which has a Health and Medicine section. We watched an introductory discussion on how the heart works. (Pulmonary and Systemic Systems, anyone? These are words that tickle my memory from middle school, but honestly I’ve forgotten most of it. Use it or lose it, I guess.) Early into the module, my 10-year-old said, “That’s what the heart looks like? I’ve never see anyone use that in a Valentine!” (See picture above.)
Other highlights included a session where we tried to create our own puns and jokes. We had many failed attempts, but sometimes those were just as funny. The best one was from my six-year-old: What vegetable is in jail? Cell-ery… get it?
After learning about the heart, we decided to learn how to do CPR (which we learned stands for cardiopulmonary resuscitation.) This was fun and the boys enjoyed that it was literally hands on; they even created a ‘dummy’ to use to practice their chest compression. This was also an extremely useful session as it is highly likely that I will have an actual heart attack while trying to handle this road schooling.
In addition to many, many other things that I’m going to have to figure out, there are a few that I will add throughout the school days:
- Pop up ideas: sometimes while we’re working on something, a new idea for something pops up. This happened when we were reading a science magazine and there were some science puns. Breaking to create our own puns and jokes was a nice pop-up pause.
- Quick runs to go outside and look for something. One journal assignment was about things you like about going outside, so they could run out for some quick inspiration.
- When I get frustrated that no one is doing what we agreed to do—which is like every 2.5 minutes—I’ll need to create some kind of mindful breathing or high intensity workout moves for all of us to do. In most of the teaching and parenting blogs I’ve read, very few actually note that the real difficulty in home schooling isn’t with the kids learning or what to learn, it’s keeping your patience as the parent. Even though I’m an expert in keeping my patience with well-paid corporate executive types, I’ll need to figure out how to make this a skill that is transferable to children.
Of course, the biggest part of the our learning is supposed to happen through the travel itself. Experiencing cultural differences first hand, feeling, smelling and truly living in different places, and understanding that ‘normal’ is completely biased based on your life’s experiences.