In the Margins

It takes place in the margins: car rides, mornings snuggled in my bed, bedtime, talks on the couch with my eldest. This is the overarching beauty of homeschool, undone from the confines of the 8-3 time frame, we learn together organically with the rhythm of our days. Katy reads her history book voraciously, and we talk about how much courage it took for Christopher Columbus to ask a third king and queen for funding after he'd been turned down by two European governments already. Rosy and I play a word game of antonyms and synonyms on car rides, a constant verbal back and forth that both builds vocabulary and grammar skills. Amy learns her letters and phonics on the iPhone, curled up next to me, describing the letters in her unique right-brained way ("B" is a snowman on a stick, "G" a kitten curled up, "A" an Indian teepee). Caleb astounds us all by rocketing through the alphabet to early reading skills at 3 1/2, and doing Rosy's addition exercises. He tells me all about trapezoids, in between little boy antics painting his skin brown with cocoa and pestering his sisters at naptime.

Pantry fall-out from Caleb's exploits in cocoa powder yesterday

How do your homeschool days look? I have a 3rd grader, a 1st grader, and two in preschool. We spend only about an hour of structured school time each day, and the rest falls into place around that. Most of our official school hours are spent on math and science. The rest, so far, is done via computer or verbal exchange. I expect this to change as our homeschool matures, but for now, it is what works in the busyness of family life.

Linked up to Lisa-Jo's 5 Minute Friday writing exercise
And, for fun, 25 Ways to Encourage Young Homeschooling Moms:
1. Ask her what her children are learning...and listen to her answers
2. What are her fears about homeschooling her children?
3. Share an experience you've recently had with a homeschooled child
4. Get her talking about her curriculum choices!
5. Ask her what her biggest dream for homeschooling is.
6. Offer to watch her little ones for an hour so she can dig in with the older kids.
7. Fold her laundry...especially all the socks!
8. Notice one thing each of her children is especially good at, and write her a note telling her their strengths.
9. If you see something homegrown & educational on Pinterest or elsewhere on the web, share the idea with her.
10. Draw her children out socially, and compliment them when they interact well.
11. Support community programs for homeschoolers in your area, and tell her you did so.
12. Share a favorite verse, blog post, or devotional on perseverance. Print it out and mail it to her.
13. Offer your services in something you're very good at...pottery, art, music, science? Help share her burden!
14. Drive her kids to an event once a month to give her a morning to herself.
15. Offer to go with her to the library...and pay her fines for her!
16. Ask her if she's saving any household items for homeschool projects (toilet paper rolls? Kleenex boxes?) and give her your extras.
17. Give the children a gift subscription to National Geographic Kids, God's World News, Ranger Rick, or Highlights.
18. Offer childcare so she and her husband can have a date night.
19. Accompany the family to a homeschool fair, book sale, or conference and watch the children during workshops or shopping times so she can focus.
20. Pay the entrance fee for the children to take a gym class or participate in a sport.
21. Listen to her concerns about time management and homeschooling.
22. Give the family an unused bookshelf or organizational system you have around the house.
23. Surprise her with a visit and make coffee for her...then sit down and chat!
24. Give her a gift card to a local salon or spa for a manicure or facial.
25. Do the dishes and mop the kitchen floor!