I'd like to offer them some more learning based opportunities. For instance, for "science", we're going to plant a vegetable and flower garden.
They arent interested in sitting down and listening to stories but I'd like to incorporate that into the day because dd7's reading is very poor. I'd also like to encourage more writing.
Can you suggest some things or even a type of routine that would encompass some structured time where they practice some sitting and listening skills and also some independant learning time where they are able to learn on their own and one more.....some learning together time with me where we can explore things together and learn?
I just sat down and talked with them about what I'd like to do and asked them what they thought about that and dd7 keeps comparing us to a public school setting and how we are falling short. Ds6 just wants to do what he wants, when he wants...meaning playing his ps2 and watching tv whenever.....help?
What about videos that match their interests? Our public library has tons of NOVA videos, Netflix also has some great documentaries. I am remembering a great video about building a trebuchet (that was quite inspiring at our house ;-) )
Offer to color (with the younger) while we listen to books on tape, also bring out the legos, playdough etc....
What about a trip to the zoo for an animal observation? Bring a sketchbook to draw and make notes.
What about family journal time? Set the timer for 15 min, everyone works in their journal (drawing and writing, whatever), and then afterwards have tea and cookies. Often times, my kids want to continue to work in their journals.
Write group stories. Each person adds a part. Roll a dice, add that many words to the story.
Create treasure hunts, write simple notes for clues. Draw maps, etc...
Give them a "Spy Notebook".
Play games. My kids (7 and 4) LOVE, LOVE, LOVE "Sleeping Queens" card game right now. But, othello, stratego, chess, checkers, "Fowl Play", "Pig Out", "Uno", "monopoly, jr" are all favorites around here.
Choose fun books to practice reading...comic books!
Build things. My kids love sawing and hammering etc to build things in the backyard.
What about other games on the computer that may tie into what you are working on? My son loved the "Oregon Trail" game while we studied cowboys, and Lewis and Clark. "Carmen Sandiego" is awesome for geography. "Civilization" is just plain awesome for history.
My other advice for scheduling is to simply pay attention to the rhythm of the day. I noticed a lull before my husband came home, so I usually read to the kids while we wait for dh to come home.
Do you have a museum near you that might be hosting an interesting exhibit that you could do a unit study around and cap it off with a trip to the exhibit?
What about a Flat Stanley exchange or joining a postcard club and exchange postcards with all the States? Research each state as you send your postcard there.
Can you plan a few cool things - a take apart day where you disassemble old appliances? Build a computer together? Depending on your weather and location could you try a sports week where you do as many versions of sports as you can? snow mini golf, table hockey or tennis, go swimming, play basketball etc - and take lots of pictures then write a newsletter or scrapbook.
Plan a day or week where you pretend to be artists all day. Start with a visit to the local gallery. Then take landscape photos like Ansel Adams, do string art a la Jackson Pollock, sculpture like Henry Moore and research each of them before you do it. Then host your own art show on Friday with special hors d'oeuvres (sp?), invite your friends or family . Have the kids name their creations and write a story behind it to post near the piece for the "art gallery."
What about doing a birthday month - for one month (February?) find a famous person whose birthday it is and celebrate it with an activity- read, do a project, create art, watch a video, do a science experiment. Each day you add their picture to a birthday poster/book along with a mini biography etc - and then at the end of the month have a big birthday party.
Do you belong to a h/s group? Do they have any activities that you can piggy back on - a science fair, group lessons etc?
There are a few things that we are doing right now that might spark some ideas for you.
~ Journey North We're doing the Mystery Class but there is lots on the site that you could do
~ eiditarod (although the registration may be closed for this for this year you could do your own or put it on the calendar for next year)
~ Country study following a trip that a favourite Aunt and Uncle are taking to New Zealand and some pacific Islands. We're learning about the culture, history, Maori, art and music, etc. We did this with Italy last year and the kids had a blast.
HTH - Good luck
Blessed partner to a great guy, and mama to 4 amazing kids. Unfortunate target of an irrationally angry IRL stalker.
Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned. ~ Buddha