August 2014 - momgineer

Not Back To School 2014

This is the time of year when most parents breathe a sigh of relief. It's back to school time, and that means the kids are being cared for and taught by a wonderful teacher (most of the time!). This is the time of year when a million and one doubts creep into my mind.

Are we really going to do this another year? 

Is this the year I need to really buckle down and pack more schooling in?

What am I *doing*? 

Most of the time, I am happy we homeschool. Those moments of doubt make me longingly look at my Facebook feed of friends sending their kids off to school. I know that won't ever be us. Maybe someday we will find a school that is a good fit for my kids' needs and doesn't break the bank, but for now this is where we are. I know my kids. I know it would be a disservice to them, their potential classmates, and school teacher to send them to school. This is our best option for now, so we'll keep doing it.

I have posted before about what a day in our homeschooling life looks like. Our days don't change too much during the summer or school year, though summer in the past has been less structured, this most recent summer was not. The boys had a week of swim classes, a week of chess camp, a week at the beach, several nights away with their grandparents, and BK (big kid) had two weeks of video game camp. The summer went by FAST! Fall is looming and I am worried I overbooked us. The kids will have chess class, soccer (practice and games), music class, farm school, online classes, a new co-op, and perhaps one or two other activities. For a family of extreme introverts, that's a lot going on. We will likely have a much quieter winter and I hope that is when we can tackle most of our book work. 

Our homeschooling rhythm is not like a traditional classroom. I have tried that but it never sticks with us. I went to Catholic school through high school and it was very structured, overwhelming, and anxiety-inducing. I think that has influenced how I do things differently. What we've been doing lately:

A lot of gardening. It's peak harvest time. My kids know when various vegetables and fruits are ready for harvest. They gather them, and often count and weigh them.

A lot of geeking out. I don't think there is a way around this one. My husband and I both have advanced degrees in engineering. This often makes me wonder if I will fail my kids in their liberal arts education, but I hope my awareness or our tendency towards geekiness is enough that I don't fail them. BK showed LK how to make his own video games. The created a new game, in addition to the one BK made at camp, that had various levels, obstacles, and characters. There is some coding involved, though it's much more GUI based than the primitive languages I first learned!

Why yes, that is a C3P0 Angry Bird flying through space, collecting coins, avoiding Jabba the Hutt.
In addition to the video game design, they are building a new machine for creating even more games and for online schoolwork. 

A lot of playing! For BK's first 5-6 years, he didn't really play. He played board games, yes, a LOT. He worked on puzzles (from < 12 months). He never played. LK sparked an imaginative play streak, though, and for the last almost 2 years, there is a lot of playing going on. I think playing is probably the most important thing they can be doing right now, so I never interrupt it for something else. One of the best things about homeschooling is prolonging this sweet childhood time. Kids grow up way too fast, and I will not stand in the way of their world filled with such wild imagination. 

So, while I have my doubts I know this is where we need to be. I do have a few things I know I want to tackle this year so I have some goals in mind:
  • Read more with my kids. Of course I read with them already, but I want to read more! I need to find some books that they are both interested in, and hopefully encourage LK to read with more confidence. He has the skills to read but is often hesitant because he doesn't want to make mistakes.
  • Explore nature more. They attend farm school but we slacked off on other nature walks last year when my husband injured his leg and wasn't walking well for awhile.
  • Be more present with them. I need to work on this one. There is often so much to do (making food, figuring out homeschooling work, cleaning, driving, working on my TpT store and all that entails) that sometimes I forget to slow down and just BE with them. I have been taking more and more tech breaks and I really like what that does for this goal. Sometimes it's just a Facebook break, and that helps a ton.

That's all for now. I just wanted to share some of my recent feelings about homeschooling. I'd love to read about your homeschooling thoughts. If you have a blog post about them, please share it in the comments!

momgineer Meredith Anderson

STEM education is my passion!

Sight Word Maze FREEBIE!

Are you bored of the same old sight word activities? Here is a page for the sight word "was." I hope you try out this new spin on sight word fun:


If you like this sample, please visit my store for more pages just like it:

Graphics for the freebie courtesy of EduClips, Creative Clips by Krista Wallden, and Ink N Little Things.
momgineer Meredith Anderson

STEM education is my passion!

Wordless Wednesday: Chess Camp This Week!

momgineer Meredith Anderson

STEM education is my passion!

Solar prints for the home!

I recently posted about our solar print art project with LEGOs and craft sticks. I loved how they looked so much that I added them to some frames in our living room! Back story: I bought these frames on clearance at Crate & Barrel...7 years ago? They had been in the box ever since (oops). When I had a photo printed on canvas from our spring trip to CA, I knew it needed something on either side. The photo frames made perfect sense, so I asked dh to hang them on the wall for me. Of course, I haven't had photos printed in far too long, and instead of the frames sitting in the box, now they were hanging on the wall, sans photos. I decided that since the solar prints came out well, and since I am a slacker about getting actual photos printed up, that at least for now the solar prints will live in the frames! Here's what it looks like:

 and a close-up view of the frame on the left:
These frames are really fun and can flip around to the opposite site. We will have to make more solar prints and add them to the back, just in case I get the urge to flip them to the back side. 
momgineer Meredith Anderson

STEM education is my passion!

Solar Print Art!

I have had solar print paper for awhile, but kept forgetting to get it out. This morning was such a beautiful and sunny one, and I finally remembered to get out our solar print paper! I love nature and of course my first thought was to collect leaves and flowers for the project. However, my kids are less enthused about that kind of thing so I told them to find some LEGOs instead! I recommended getting some with holes, and some figures. I also grabbed the craft sticks, because they were there.  =)

What a cool and simple project to do! All you really need is the solar print paper, a shady spot, a sunny spot, some objects, and a pan of water. Here is the first batch just after putting it in the sun:

This is what it looked like about 5 or 6 minutes later:
 The package said it would take 1 to 3 minutes, but ours definitely took longer. We used a rock to hold the plastic window down, but that probably wouldn't be necessary if you used flat objects. Here is the layout we used for the second batch:
I love the 3D look of the finished project! We will be doing these again soon for sure. Here is a larger view of the four completed prints:

Have you tried solar print art with your kids? I would love to try this again with some lace or strings. I like them so much I think I might put them on display in my living room! I will upload the picture if and when that happens.

momgineer Meredith Anderson

STEM education is my passion!

Wordless Wednesday: Waiting for a Wave!

momgineer Meredith Anderson

STEM education is my passion!

Big sale starting tomorrow!

What's on your wish list?
momgineer Meredith Anderson

STEM education is my passion!