Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Our School Room

Our schoolroom. Above Pauline's head is our condensed timeline, from Adam and Eve to the present day in just one long line.
(Timeline available from Rod & Staff Publishers, 606-522-4348; they are not online).
We used to have the school room in the basement by a fireplace, but not enough light gets in down there, and, it's just cozier upstairs. Upstairs we can smell the good smells coming from the kitchen, hear the dryer buzzer, and answer the door if someone comes knocking. (Don't want to miss that UPS delivery -- big excitement for us homeschoolers!)
We purchased four old-fashioned school desks very cheaply from our old Mennonite school. They said to just give a donation -- I think it was about $10 a desk, maybe $15.

Above the picture starts our "countdown line" Pauline and I made of our days in school, starting at Day 1 and ending with graduation on Day 180. (We got this idea from the old Mennonite school the children were enrolled in one year -- it was like one of those one-room Amish schools -- very sweet). You can see we've had 10 days of school so far. We take down a sticker for each school day completed. We have books for September and autumn leaves for October.
Here it continues with pumpkins for November. The countdown helps us to stay on track in our homeschool, and doesn't let us get too far behind. Also helps us to visualize the goal, and how much work we've already done.
Here begin the gingerbread men for December and into January with snowmen (Drew snuck in a Stormtrooper in disguise amongst the snowmen that you can notice only if you look closely - he was a Star Wars geek when he was little, and, well, he always has a little science-fictioney thing going on in his grown-up head).
In the corner begins the tulips and daffodils for February (they come up early here in the south), kites for March, crosses for April (Easter, you know), with raindrops for May.
And lastly, butterflies for June, and then, Day 180 -- graduation (that's a diploma). They actually argue over who's going to be the lucky one to take the number for the day. What fun.
Here's our serious timeline. :) I designed this one to show 1,000 years a strip, ending with modern times at the top, so we could grasp the bigger scheme of history. What a sobering thought to think how small our little bit of time is compared to the great scheme of things! Not to mention eternity -- reminds me of these words to a hymn, a prayer to God taken from Psalm 90, that touch my heart deeply every time I hear, read, or pray them:

"Teach me, O Lord, to number my days,
That I may apply unto wisdom my heart;
I am but a man, my years are but a day:
Short will be my stand, and brief will be my stay,
And I will not again, e'er pass along this way.

Teach me, O Lord, to number my days,
And let me be wholly devoted to Thee,
To daily increase Thy praise.
Life is like the sand, soon trickled through the glass:
Flowers we appear, to perish as the grass;
A thousand years with Thee, as yesterday is past.

Teach me, O Lord, to number my days,
And satisfy early my deep yearning heart,
That I may rejoice always.
Three-score years and ten are all our lives may hold:
Fleeting years we spend, a tale so quickly told;
And judgment meets us then our Maker we behold."

Teach us, O Lord, to number our days.


Whenever we study a person or historical event, we put them or it up on the timeline. We have a lot that we've studied already but haven't put up on the timeline yet -- hopefully we'll get to that in the next few weeks.
Close-up of timeline (that's Ghandi there wearing blue, sitting beside India).

Another close-up. (Great Wall of China and Eratosthenes calculating the earth's circumference).

And that's the Path of Life schoolroom, complete with bug collections. Of course, our learning extends much farther than just our little schoolroom -- with maps and a globe in the living room, little libraries throughout the house, ongoing experiments and projects extending to the outdoors, and -- a lifetime of learning and adventure waiting to be discovered throughout God's whole earth! Education knows no bounds. Thanks for visiting! I'd love to hear your comments, and see what ideas you have for organizing school!

Embracing Change

Well, the time has come to begin our new school year. Each year is different. This is the first year that we have all children doing full days of school. George, above with his beloved friend Jon, is now officially in first grade. (Where'd my baby go??) On the other end of the spectrum there's Peter, who's now officially in high school. Another baby mysteriously replaced by a handsome young man. Pauline is now in junior high (or do they call that middle school now? I'm showing my age!). And then sweet Michael William full-speed ahead into third grade with his smart self.

Each year IS different. Gone are the days of finger-painting, baking, and reading stories all day by the fire, although we still love to occasionally indulge in these favorite pastimes. Now come the days of sweating over Algebra, immersing deeply in Literature studies, Biology, Bookkeeping, and meticulously recording hours and grades for credits. And Mommy doesn't seem to have quite the energy she used to have. To quote an old folksinger, "Times, they are a'changin". May we embrace the change.