One of my favorite things about homeschooling, aside from sharing great books with my children, are the programs or extracurricular activities I get to take my kids to during the day. Now that we're in British Columbia, and enrolled in a distance learning school, HCOS, I don't even have to pay a cent for them! Each child gets an allotment of funding and we choose to spend most of those funds on fun things to do for the kids (or necessary things, like swimming lessons) that we wouldn't always find in the budget otherwise.
Ani just started her first official ballet class that is for older kids (5-7 year olds) and her teacher is wonderful. This full front pose is her trying to reign in her excitement before the first class, new leggings on and sparkly! (Thanks, Oma!)
I remember a lot of workbooks over my school career, and although my kids do fill in workbooks four times a week for phonics practice and math, the rest of our time looks mostly like reading aloud, going on errands, fulfilling science requirements with experiments (grumble), doing art, preparing food, cleaning the house and just living life. Training my kids in chores from the time they were little (hint: yes it takes double if not triple the time, for a small amount of time, then years of reaping the benefits) has really brought forth fruit this year. Here is Ani helping in the kitchen with some food prep, something she loves to do, and that I love to pass on to her.
Just today we started another really fun program that the kids called Circus Lab. This is a stand-in for the beloved gymnastics they did last semester. I've never seen something like this for kids, or even adults, besides buying tickets to Cirque de Soleil, so I thought this would be a really neat opportunity. Even if they hated it, it was only for 6 weeks, and was free to us, so no harm no foul. Up above you can see Anikka on the trapeze about to practice a box. The kids all rotated from trapeze, hanging hoops, ceiling silks, and trampoline. They had a blast!
Moving to Canada puts us right in hockey and ice-skating culture, and our city has a homeschool ice-skating session that will go through the rest of the winter. The kids have not had much confidence ice-skating without walkers, until they got to their skate lessons. The instructors encouraged them to try without, and they both went without for their individual 30 minute lessons. The other hour spent on the ice was for them to skate freely, and even parents, I learned, can pay a drop-in fee and skate. I definitely plan on doing that!
Here is another Circus Lab picture of Lukka on the silks, doing a box pose. Where else would they have the opportunity to experience and try out this kind of movement class? My first thought when I saw the hoops, silks, and trapeze was, "I want to do this with a bunch of girlfriends!" How fun would that be for a night out?
Here is another activity our kids participate in that is monthly, local, and free: The Home Depot Kids Workshops! Check your local HD for times. The kids get a cute apron to keep and every time they finish a project they get a pin to put on their apron as a reward. Sometimes there are even cookies involved! Often, though, they are just happy to build a small wood-working project by themselves that includes nails, a hammer, glue, and paint. Here they've constructed an old-fashioned sled, and are painting it for a wall-hanging.
This is a small glimpse into what day-to-day looks like with homeschooling young elementary kids. Of course there is a bit of workbook work, there's always reading, and quite often, there is a fun outing to be had on any given day. And of course, there's plenty of outside time when the weather permits! People often say to homeschoolers, "I could never do that" but honestly, the lifestyle hasn't changed much since they were young toddlers. We have a mix of play, learning (only add to books some scholarly endeavors), quiet time, food prep and general cleanup, fun activities, and just...life. There are power struggles, family tensions, compromise, and time outs, but if you're successfully raising kids--and I mean that they are alive, healthy, and have some sort of a hobby--you can successfully homeschool. It's really not complicated.
I will leave you with this final thought about homeschooling: I get to see my kids everyday, and I have to see my kids everyday. I think all parents would agree with those sentiments!