Thursday November 9, 2006

Extras.  Homeschooling Extras.  You know, the stuff you really, really want to do with your kids, but there’s never quite enough time to fit it all in.  And if you do find the time to fit it all in, how do you develop a system for including it regularly?  Every family is different, of course, and I’m sure my ideas here won’t completely solve any similar dilemmas in your home.  However, maybe my ideas might help you find just the inspiration you need to find your own solutions.

There are oodles of things I want to include in my boys’ education.  As I’ve said before, homeschooling is not just how we educate our children, it’s how we live our lives.  They are “in school” from the time their eyes open in the morning, until they close in sleep at the end of the day.  Their days are very full of not only academics, but training in life skills, spiritual training, discipleship, etc.  I have a lot of goals for my sons in all of those areas; but there are other things I want them to know, or to have experience in.  There are also those things that they mention with great interest that they’d like to know, too.  It’s these “extra – extra” things that I’ve struggled to include into our already very full schedule with any degree of regularity.

In a past post or two, I’ve mentioned tweaking our six day school schedule a bit.  Now, on Saturdays, we are having fun with some computer math drills, our weekly art lessons (we love the Barry Stebbing art curriculum), educational computer programs/games, and a hand craft.  These, the art lesson, handcraft and computer time, are things I’ve previously tried to work into our school schedule, but I was never very good on the follow through.  It was more miss than hit.  Now one school day each week is devoted just to these things!  But I am also including time on Saturdays afternoons, about an hour each week, for the “extra – extras” I want to have my sons learn.  For example, our current “extras” are Archery for the thirteen year old and Bicycling for the seven year old.

My 13 year old son has his own bow and practice arrows, but I want him to have the opportunity to work on his skills more.  He will need to rebuild his target area as last year’s straw bales have toppled and disintegrated a bit.  I will have him challenge himself to improve his accuracy and distance.  I also expect him to demonstrate to me proper and safe handling of his archery equipment.

Bicycling is a perfect fit for the younger one just now.  He is just old enough to accompany Dani for bike rides along our rural roads. If you’ve read here long, you know that our roads are frequently traversed by large pieces of farm equipment, not to mention YGIP‘s (Young Guys in Pickups) driving much too fast.  This is a great opportunity for my son to learn bicycle safety, the rules of the road, and to strengthen his legs and build his endurance.

Upcoming extras are: Woodburning, Pocketknife, First Aid and Photography for the 13 year old; and Pets, Models, Library Skills and Tools for the seven year old.  I would imagine that some skills will be mastered in a month, while others may take a bit longer.

One thing that I think will make these “extra – extras” even more fun, is that most everything I want to do with my sons is covered, to some extent, in the Contenders for the Faith handbook. Do you know this program?  I know there are clubs for boys and girls using the handbooks, etc, from these folks; but I have more of an unfettered freewheeling independent nature and want to work on these things just within my own family.  I will make each of the boys a banner for the badges and pins they will earn as they meet the goals I set for them for each new skill.  The developers of the Contenders program have lots of awards available for a wide variety of skills.  For those skills that aren’t covered in the Contenders handbook, I can use their basic guidelines for similar skills to develop my own checklists.  I should also be able to come up with something to show their achievement on their banners for these uncovered skills.

One example of a skill Copper and I want our boys to learn that is not covered in the Contenders for the Faith program is firearms safety and proper use of firearms.  Copper and I will write up our own checklist when we want to cover this skill with our sons.  Copper will, of course, teach the proper handling, loading, operation, cleaning, etc. (though Mom can plunk a tin can as well as the rest of ‘em!), and I will be the nitpicker stickler hard taskmaster for safety!  I’m  sure that I can find a nice pin for this skill at one of our local gun shops.

There you have it!  I am thrilled to have finally found a way to incorporate these “extra – extras” into our weekly schedule.  What are the extra-extras you want to include?  Have you found some clever ways of making it a reality in your home? Let me know what’s working for you.

God bless you as you look well to the ways of your household.
Proverbs 31:27

Remember to pray for Karen!


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5 comments to Thursday November 9, 2006

  • <GASP>  You want your children to be able to shoot guns!!! 😮 Can I tag along to the gun range too? 🙂

  • Long live the homeschoolin’ pistol packin’ Mama’s!

    I wonder why that’s skipped in the Contenders program?

  • You two!!!!!:mad:    :nono:    :lookaround:    :love:

  • Uh-oh, someone’s in trouble..hehe.

    I never thought to do “extra” stuff on the weekend, what a great idea! I was just looking at the Keepers of the Faith for girls the other day. I was thinking about using their list of skills my girls. I love your idea of making your own banner. I’ll have to make another trip to the curriculum store and look more closely at the books.

  • My dd and I have just joined our church’s Keepers club. I am still trying to get dh to take Ds1 to the Contenders club.

    I hope your kiddos enjoy their Saturday studies.