I’m taking a break from the Gold Rushing series to write a bit about our homeschool. Moving to California afforded us the opportunity to try a whole new life. With the girls still so young, it was not so risky to pull them out of their traditional school experience and see how home education would serve us.
Now that we’re a whole month in and some of the first hiccups are past, I’d say that we’re doing quite well. Just like with every kind of lifestyle choices, I’m never squarely into one philosophy or another. So our school techniques are reflective of that eclectic dynamic. We’re using a montessori-based math curriculum called Shiller Math. We’re reading aloud as a family every afternoon. And using the Common Core to keep track of what skills/concepts they’re expected to know in Science for their grades and doing the work with books from the library and websites. For Spanish we’re going to work through Rosetta Stone together, and for History we’re using The Story of the World.
Is this the best plan? I have no clue. But it’s the plan for now. It took me this long to get our weekly routine in order. But the daily ebb and flow was worked out very quickly. Daily we start before 9 and school-at-home our way through the morning seat work. Then in the afternoons we do a more un-school, screen-free education method. By 2pm we’re pretty much done with “school” and head out for errands or to the park. We enjoy hiking, biking around town as a family, or watching a show to two together.
We have park days two or three days a week with other families who are either homeschooling, or live in our town and have preschoolers Cressida’s age. On Thursday we have swim lesson. And I plan to add a couple more activities for the girls as our schedule settles in a bit more.
So that’s the quick and to-the-point update on what’s going on with The Brazier Academy. Stay tuned for more as we get some photos of our work, and have some fun projects to share… like the sun model we’re making out of paper machè.
Those of you who follow me on Facebook know that we’ve recently moved from Ohio to California. Recently, as in, we moved this past week. I’ve been posting photos on facebook because I just wanted to share them as we went. But now I’m going to put them in context.
When Rob took the job at Twilio and we came to San Francisco together to search for a home, we came with open minds about where to live. We considered looking in the city proper but I couldn’t figure out where we’d put our canoe, and how the school system works. So East Bay it was. Searching for a home was both stressful and exciting, and we narrowed the towns down to Orinda and Pleasanton. Some of the people Rob works with were joking that we moved from Ohio to Ohio in California, but there are big differences. The weather for one thing! But also there are tons of thriving local businesses, smaller yards, and much higher home costs.
We applied to rent a small home near downtown Pleasanton and a larger but older home in Orinda. We didn’t get the house in Orinda, someone else got it over us, and the small home in Pleasanton just wasn’t sitting well with Rob. We had no more time to look at houses, and we were literally on the plane home when Rob emailed our realtor asking her to look at a larger house we hadn’t had the chance to see in town. Long story short, we applied to rent it sight-unseen and got it.
Thus began the frantic transition to California. Rob left Ohio on August 15th, and the girls and I planned to take a cross country drive beginning September 9th. My mom volunteered to come along as we made the trek, stopping in South Dakota, and Wyoming on the way.
The voyage was amazing, and I really feel like we’re striking it rich here in the Golden State. I’ll tell the story of our trip in at least two more installments coming up in the next week or so. Hope you’ll come back as check in to see all the amazingness we discovered.
We’re getting used to being bored again. The first week out of school we all cried and begged to sit in front of the TV. I let them watch more than I’d like, and I argued with them more than I’d like. But school has a way of getting everyone used to being told what to do next. So when faced with 12 hours of free time, it’s intimidating.
After we returned from camping I determined that we would not just sit in front of a screen all day. What a lame way to spend the summer. But, the weather decided to rain all over us so we couldn’t really go outside either.
Well, Olivia had the wonderful idea of making a cardboard maze for our pet hermit crabs. So we cut and taped and glued for about an hour. Then we dropped Rapunzel and Turquoise into the maze and rewarded them with glittery stickers and raisins.
Today we worked on our chicken coop together. The girls held wood in place while I worked the screw driver. I have been using scrap wood from the garage and the basement to build it. I’m trying to keep my costs down. I found two old pantry cabinets in the basement crawl space and they work perfectly for the front of the coop. One of them even had smoothly turning hinges! It was meant to be!
The little jobs have been good for reminding us how to balance our boredom and busyness. And so today when the rain rolled in I didn’t feel bad putting My Neighbor Totoro on for the girls to wait out the storm.