“What do you DO?” is a question I get a lot. My son is 4 (and a half) and he doesn’t go to a school. He isn’t in a program. He doesn’t have daycare. This is how most people live, and for lots of them, I suppose it’s difficult to imagine life any other way.
There are homeschooling families who purchase and follow specific curricula, but we don’t do that. I don’t see anything wrong with it, nor do I have a problem with schools. We just like the way we do things.
So what DO we do?
Well, that depends on the day. Today is Tuesday, and Tuesday is library day. There’s a story time at our local branch, and we’ve been going for over 2 years. At first, Little Boy clung to my lap the whole time. Last year he sat on the rug with the other kids, singing the songs and participating in the games. This year, he’s over story time and is all about doing everything himself. He waits in line and asks the librarians to put all sorts of things on hold for him: books on castles and dragons, DVDs of Ben 10, arts and crafts books — it’s something different every week. He’s got his own library card, and each week we check out a stack of books and DVDs. We get some storybooks with amazing illustrations, some early reader books so Little Boy can practice reading and memorizing, and some school books. Our DVD selections range from family movies, to TV shows, to documentaries and Eyewitness videos (Little Boy’s favorite).
Library time isn’t just about books and DVDs though. Little Boy has friends who show up every week (brothers “R” and “E”, and redheaded girlfriend “A”), and for about an hour or so, they’ll be combing the stacks together, pretending to read to each other, turning into various ferocious animals, and coloring endless pages printed out by the librarians. The children’s section of the Thunderbolt Library is school, playground, and sanctuary.
The best part for me is that the entire Chatham County library is online. I can search for anything in the collection, put things on hold, and re-check items all while in my jammies on my couch. I can even get things from other library systems on loan. Then, when my stuff comes in, they call me to come pick it up. For free. Well, paid for by US taxpayers like you and me.
Our most recent school books we found at the library are: Play and Find Out About Math by Janice VanCleave, Garden Crafts for Kids by Diane Rhoades, St. Patrick’s Day Crafts by Carol Gnojewski, and Junior Scientists Experiment with Solar Energy by Christine Taylor-Butler.
Little Boy’s favorite is the math book. We’ve re-checked it the maximum amount of times and will soon have to part with it. We’ve done most of it anyway. The games in the book teach mathematical concepts by involving toys, candy, and art projects. Not a hard sell, really.
The book we worked on this morning is the solar energy one. The first experiment is to see if light colors absorb more solar energy than dark colors. We collected the supplies, and this morning, the Boy got (washable) white paint all over a plastic bottle, as well as the table, chairs, floor and nearby cabinets. Yay science! Of course, now I can’t find the black paint for the other plastic bottle, so we’ve temporarily ground to a halt. We then moved on to creating aliens from paper plates with scissors, tape, markers and googly eyes.
Our library is a little over a mile away, and since we’ll be getting a ride home later, today we’ll walk. We have our best talks when we walk.