“All your children will be taught of the Lord, and great will be your children’s peace,” (Isaiah 54:13).

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Why I’m loving the Social Studies Fair

by Jessica Peterman

As a homeschooler, I often find myself stuck in a dichotomy of wants. At the core, I want my kids to love learning, to dive into unknown subjects with an appetite for discovery, to conquer new challenges with pride and eagerness. I would venture to say that many of us long for our kids to have this kind of experience. Those writing the educational philosophy books would call this “delight-directed learning.” I’ve read those books too. I’ve gotten wrapped up in this utopian ideal, where visions of happy, energetic children are surrounded by heaps of library books, craft projects and journals, clamoring to be the first one to tell me about their latest finding.

Then I close that book, and wake up to the reality of my life. We’re a busy family; I’m sure yours is too. Enter that other desire—the desire for our school days to run smoothly, efficiently, neatly (well, at least for the dining room table to be visible at the end of the day). My secret, somewhat selfish hope that 2 out of 3 kids will be able to get through their language and math without needing my help and perhaps we can just do our botany vocabulary puzzle instead of that experiment. You know what I mean.

In light of my conflicting wish list, I have discovered this: All those project fairs, competitions, contests, performances—they’re worth it. So this would be my ode to the Social Studies Fair. We’ve never participated in one before. I realized shortly after signing up, that we were crazy to try to do it this year. Our calendar and to do lists are busting at the seams in the spring and a more sane person would have said, “No thank you.” Something had to give, but I didn’t want to bail out on these projects. My kids had come up with topics they were really interested in, and I realized that this might be our chance to have a piece of that philosophical pie. So I shelved every subject except math and language and we’ve spent the last several mornings side by side, books laid open, laptop in search mode, scribbling notes, coloring pictures, even watching documentaries.

I’ve not been disappointed. Yesterday, my 4th grader and I sat down and made a timeline of Daniel Boone’s life. The day before that, we got the atlas out to find the Cumberland Gap. This morning, my 6th grader sat down at the computer with notes and book in hand and happily typed (this is BIG people!) a detailed paragraph for part of his display board, and then ran to the TV after lunch, not to watch a cartoon, but to check out another NASA documentary on Netflix.

I’m not sharing this to pat myself on the back. It really has had nothing to do with my efforts. All I did was give my kids the chance to study something they were interested in and the space and time in which to do it. I had to force myself to set some things aside. (I’m very type A--deviating from all the other stuff that needs finished by the end of the school year is WAY out of my comfort zone.) This is just my thank you to the THESIS coordinators for this opportunity and thank you to the Social Studies Fair for reminding us of the great riches and enjoyment to be found on this homeschooling path.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Class Notes for this Friday

Hello THESIS Families--

It seems a long while since our last meeting; trusting your Easter celebration
was wonderful and meaningful in every way.

Just three class Fridays remain, yet there is much to do in order to finish well
in our classes! Papers, projects, and play are high on the list of the
yet-to-be-accomplished! Attendance and attention are crucial to finishing this
semester well.

1. Social Studies Project Fair April 27th. Don't forget to sign up! This
great opportunity is for any school-aged child to do in the general areas of
history, geography, civics, economics, even psychology. We will need at least 6
judges for upper grade project evaluation; if you are not currently assisting a
class, you may be asked! :)

2. The play: The prop box will be set up Friday to accept loaned props! Save
these dates on your calendar: May 11, 7 pm, and May 12, 2 pm!

3. Sign ups: Several sign-ups will be on the counter covering end-of-year
events, so be sure not to miss them.

See you Friday!
Liz, for THESIS