It’s that time of year again! Schools across the globe have either already returned to school, or will be shortly. In the homeschool world, the “return” dates are a bit more varied – some never stop, choosing to school year round. We attempted to start back on August 15th, but Daddy was still home for his summer vacation, so there was not much motivation to do school, on anyone’s part.
Then we tried to start back this week, but we only managed to get three days in before the rest of our week was interrupted with an impromptu day trip to a beautiful historical settlement village, and a visit from relatives.
And so, neither discouraged nor defeated, I now declare our new official “Back to School” date to be September 6th! Such is the beauty of homeschooling – our start and end dates are never written in stone.
As I was on Facebook perusing one of the homeschool curriculum groups I’m on (true story – I’m still not even 100% sure on all the bits and pieces of curriculum we’re going to be using), I came across this post from blog site Sweeping Up Joy. It was a link up, challenging people to answer three questions about “Back to School”. I loved the idea of linking up various blogs for the purpose of sharing information, and so I decided to participate.
So, without further ado, the three questions:
- What is your best school memory from your childhood?
I went to public school as a child. In fact, I never even heard of homeschooling until our son was a few years old! I will admit, I absolutely adored elementary school. I loved learning, I loved seeing my friends, and I loved how much fun we had. You see, back when I attended elementary school – fun, engaging learning was still the ultimate goal, not test scores and national outcomes.
Two memories however, really stick out in my mind: I remember the sand and water table that we had in our grade one classroom, and all the fun we had playing with that. I can still remember the smell of the sand, and the feel of the sand as I grabbed handfuls and let it run through my fingers.
My next memory is of the musical that our school put on, in grade 3 (again, back in the days when music and creative/expressive arts were still largely encouraged as part of the core curriculum). The musical was Alice in Wonderland, and I was chosen to be the Caterpillar. I had a singing solo with my own dance routine. The whole experience was so wonderful, and it really sparked a love of music and drama in my life, and ultimately led to me spending the next 25+ years singing in choirs, and in solo situations such as at church and in weddings etc…
- Do you have any back-to-school family traditions?
I would love to say yes to this. I would love to be that crafty, Pinterest obsessed Mom who creates adorably creative back to school photos, special snacks, crafts, or plans a fun-filled first day, but I’m just not. The most that I do is take the children to the back yard and snap a photo. Admittedly, we have never made a big deal of switching from one grade to another. In fact, if you asked my children what grade they’re in, I’m guessing they wouldn’t be able to tell you!
I think the reason for all of this is because in our house, there tends to be no rhyme or reason to our school year; in fact, in the past, we have never had a stop/start date, instead schooling year round. However, when my husband started his position teaching at the local college, we wanted to try and follow his teaching schedule, so that we could be off together. And so, we did take some time off this summer, but planned on starting back a couple weeks early so that we gave ourselves some leeway for appointments (of which we already have 6 scheduled for this month, alone). See above for how well that worked out!
- Markers or colored pencils?
Ooooh, that’s an easy one here. Our daughter (who has high-functioning Autism), seems to have an obsession with marking on our walls. When I say there is not a wall in our house she has not marked on – I truly mean it, and as you can tell, sometimes she expands her repertoire to include stickers. And so, needless to say, we are not big fans of markers in our house. For our coloring and drawing needs we prefer the following:
– Crayola Twistable Colored Pencils (no sharpening!)
– Faber Castell Beeswax Crayons (these beat Crayola all to shame)
– Stockmar Beeswax Block Crayons (great for coloring large areas) The beeswax products are obviously more money – but they are worth it. Not only do they smell yummy, they do not have harsh petro-chemicals, and both their coverage and color are far superior to Crayola. They do not break nearly as easily. So, while it may seem expensive up front, I soon realized that I could spend $15-20 a year on Crayola crayons that would break, or wear out quickly; or, I could spend $30 on high quality products that would last us several years.
Here is a quick comparison I did. Red, blue and yellow, coloring with the same pressure on both. Crayola is on top, Faber Castell beeswax on bottom. You can especially see the difference in quality on the yellow – it is just so much more vibrant!