We have 25 days left of the 180 required for this school year. Since I don't follow a whole lot of packaged curriculum I never really have the feeling of 'we have to finish ___ before the end of the year'. We just sort of stop doing any planned school and start up a month later with a new grade level attached to my planner. So now I have 25 days left....and in MBTP we are supposed to be studying plants as the final section of the communities unit. But I am not into it. I have never been one for much book botany. I mean seriously....tomorrow we are supposed to be studying life cycles. Which would you prefer: a page in a book with some external activities or this:
We are supposed to learn about the parts of a plant and the needs of a plant. While there are some fun activities....I would prefer learning about the needs of a plant by transplanting 80 raspberry plants, taking care to give them enough roots to survive and watering them daily until they recover from the shock.

Or learn about how the seeds come from the flower on a flowering plant by watching them grow...

Or simply planting a seed and watching it grow (and then eating it- which makes it even better!)

My problem is that logically I know this is all educational. I know they are learning. I know they are not just gaining knowledge but learning a skill for life. I know they are learning other things as they go about their day. But somewhere inside me finds it extremely hard to check that day off on the ridiculous attendance sheet unless we do more....even if it is just math or them reading aloud. I think I am in need of the de-schooling process I read about all the time....


  1. It sounds like you are doing a wonderful job! You have core idea that you want them to learn and instead of dryly reading about it you are *doing* it. As you say, they are gaining much more than knowledge about plants and seeds, they are learning about how we care and tend to the things we need to survive. What could be better?

    Time to check that one off the list, lady! :-)

  2. Your type of learning is mine sister. We did the same thing in that phase of MBTP... now we can go back and actually talk about life along with our book projects. It made it so much easier to get into their brains.


  3. I've said a few times that "school imitates life".
    What I mean is - it's impractical for 35 children to learn about plants (in a classroom setting) and to learn naturally, so those that write curricula must break the natural processes into "sections" and fancy words and ideas.
    You're right... learning the way you guys are learning is totally effective and consistent with our own curiosity and explorations.

    Much better that way, I say.

  4. I know exactly how you feel. I think it's easy to go overboard one way or the other - bookwork or real life experiences. Of course you can't have too many real life experiences, but I have to remind myself that the kids also need to learn to read and add and that takes consistent not-always-fun work. It sounds like you are doing a great job of balancing. And your plants look wonderful. I need some of your green thumb!