Side Dishes, March 13th
Manga Giveaway Over Yonder

School Days

As the mom of a public-school second grader, I enjoy reading a number of the homeschooling blogs. I admire the nature carnivals at By Sun and Candlelight, the science studies at Lapaz Farm, the poetry and history suggestions at Farm School, the beautiful Mississippi farm and the good books at Twice Bloomed Wisteria, the spiritual generosity of Homeschool Diary, and the humorous realism at Poppins Classical Academy.

While I have never homeschooled, I get great ideas from all of these blogs, and when I met some unschoolers at the park last fall, I could talk enough Charlotte Mason that I didn't need a translator, thanks to Here in the Bonny Glen and the Lilting House. One day I hope to meet the hilarious and very political Redneck Mother and her husband, because between the three of us, I'm sure we could share some awesome tall tales.

What I see in those blogs is similar to what I see in my favorite teacher blogs. All of these teachers, including the homeschoolers above, obviously  enjoy being with children, and all are eager to share the learning-filled days that their vocations afford them.  Educating Alice, Ms. ABC Mom, The Miss Rumphius Effect, and A Year of Reading are some excellent teacher blogs that come to mind. Over and over I can tell that they understand children in a way that gifted educators do.

My son is a bit of a non-traditional learner, and I have jokingly said that I am going to start a totally hands-on school at the beach, where my family has spent so many good days. I spot students for my school everywhere, from the local skating pond to the urban public school where I volunteer to our town's nature center. The young fisherman at the river, the kids on the high dive at the Y, the boy who figured out how to drain a flooded street, the girl who loves running into the wind. At Beach School, we'll count wharf crabs, measure sand-castle towers, and study plankton under the microscope. After we fly kites for gym class, we'll multiply seagulls as we shoo them off our picnic lunches. And of course we'll read fun and interesting books, write in the sand, and change aged worksheets (is there any other kind?) into papyrus instead.

The seaside academy is a fantasy, but in the days ahead I'm hoping to live my life more like Beach School. Many, many thanks for the inspiration to all of you online teachers. You make an excellent faculty.


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I too am the mom of a non-traditional second grade learner and often struggle with inspiring her to Love Learning. She more wants to be the teacher instead of the student. These links will be helpful. Thanks...

Thanks Susan! It is SO refreshing to read a post about all the good things homeschoolers and public school teachers have in common, rather than harping on our differences. We certainly can all learn from one another as we strive to teach our children in the best ways we know how.
And your beach school sounds mighty fine to me!

Susan, We'd join you in your beach school too. My second grader is an untraditional learner too, which certainly keeps me looking for creative ways for her to learn. I've often admired people who homeschool their children. Just going over the 50 words for Friday's spelling test is exhausting...Thanks for sharing these links.

Wow, lots of Beach Schoolers! Awesome.

Amy, I hear ya. If school were only half a day, I think Junior would be thrilled.

Theresa, you're so right; it's all about what we learn from one another.

Viv, 50 words! Holy cannoli. That is a lot.

Oooh, we wanna come to your Beach School. :-)

Thank you, Susan. Beach school sounds wonderful! :)

Karen E., yay! I'll sign y'all up. I want to sit next to Ramona so I can hear all the funny things she says. This week Junior sewed what I thought was a sleeping bag for a toy beaver, but he corrected me, saying very patiently, "No, Mom. It's a tail warmer."

Dawn, you're welcome. I am always pilfering ideas from By Sun and Candlelight. Often when you and Crackerjack read a book, I think, ooh, I need to get that one for Junior.

Hi Susan,
I'm absolutely glowing from being mentioned in the same sentence with Monica Edinger (I so don't measure up) and the terrific Franki and Mary Lee. They inspire me to work even harder to mold teachers just like them.
Thanks for the shout out.

If you need a library media specialist at your school, I'm your gal!

I also want to send my 5th grader - he is my untraditional learner and to say I am worried about middle school next year is an understatement!

Thanks for the great post!

you're welcome, Tricia.

All right, Kathy! You don't mind sand in the books, right?

What a delightful surprise to find us in such good company, and such good timing after our own return from Beach School!

I just got through (on a Charlotte Mason list, no less...) recommending The Burgess Seashore Book for Children, which is a wonderful addition to the beach/book bag. I have to keep snatching it back out of the kids' rooms!

Now there's a book for the Beach School library. Perfect, Becky!

We just returned from the beach and had so many learning moments. The beach is a perfect place to have school. Have fun!!

Second grader did well on her spelling test! The teacher took 5 weeks of spelling words (15 each week) for a cumulative test so I totally freaked. Second grader got 90% right! I am so thrilled! They'll continue to do this for the remainder of the school year...with the number of spelling words increasing at some point. So I'd appreciate any good advice from the Beach School!

Hurrah for your second grader! It sounds like y'all are on the right track. Junior only gets 8 words a week, and the class does not have cumulative spelling tests.

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