Rebecca's Ponderings

May 11, 2011

“Whatcha dooooin’?”

Filed under: Home Education — Rebecca @ 10:59 am
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About a month ago we discovered that Netflix now has several seasons of Disney’s “Phineas & Ferb” available for streaming. As a result, our family has developed an affinity for these seemingly ordinary kids who accomplish incredible things over their summer vacation. Then, I received an email from entitled “101 Things To Do This Summer.” The list was filled with classic summer activities, reading suggestions, and resources to combat summer boredom. The seeds were planted; I was inspired.

I shared the idea with the kids one morning at breakfast. They loved the idea. We liked the list but decided to tweak it and personalize it with some goals we had already discussed, like the Rube Goldberg contraption and learning Russian. Besides, I never follow a recipe or curriculum to the letter. Why would this be any different? Haha! A few friends asked me to share our family’s list. So, here is:

“The Freedom Academy Summer Boredom-inator!”

-Hike up a mountain
-Camp out for at least two nights
-Read five books about Russia
-Make finger jello
-Read five books about cheetahs
-Make a croquet set and play croquet
-Build a bird house
-Read “The Summer of My German Soldier”
-Build a bat house
-Have a water gun fight
-Bake a cake and decorate it
-Build a pirate ship
-Hand-write one letter per week
-Build a Rube Goldberg contraption, one section per week (like mousetrap or domino rally)
-Play frisbee
-Visit the local botanical gardens at least three times
-Grow tomatoes
-Learn five Russian words per week
-Have an unplugged day
-Build a frame to hang my hammock chair
-Create driveway masterpieces in chalk
-Learn three jump rope tricks
-Go to a museum
-Read five books about gardening
-Create three origami pieces
-Read five books about ancient China
-Have a board-game day
-Watch at least three fireworks displays
-Go to the zoo
-Memorize one Bible verse per week
-Make ice cream
-Play hopscotch
-Participate in our local library’s summer reading program
-Build a teepee
-Make three pieces of jewelry
-Make three figures out of clay
-Eat watermelon and have a seed-spitting contest
-Put cards in the spokes of bicycle wheels
-Make Popsicles
-Complete one drawing lesson per week
-Learn three old-fashioned outdoor games
-Read “The Light In the Forest”
-Paint a picture
-Go canoeing
-Go to a Memorial Day Parade
-Make bubble mix and blow giant bubbles

“As you can see, there’s a whole lot of stuff to do before school starts this fall…” To keep us on target, I created a spreadsheet where we can list the scheduled date, accomplished date, and notes for each activity. I also created a weekly agenda so the kids can schedule the activities. The more they take ownership of it, the less like school it will be. (Shhhhh….. Don’t tell the kids that I will be counting much of it as school work.) You can download my forms here.

Feel free to use our list and to check as inspiration for your own Summer Boredom-inator. You are also welcome to share this post with your friends via Facebook or email (see the buttons below). If you do create a list, please post a comment with some of your ideas or share a link to your blog. I know there are a lot of families looking for frugal, creative fun this summer. I look forward to making this the best summer ever!


February 17, 2011


Filed under: Growing in Christ,Home Education — Rebecca @ 8:53 pm
Tags: , ,

We were at our local library yesterday for a book-club meeting. My daughter brought a lady to me who had questions about our homeschool co-op.

The woman was a very kind grandmother whose eleven-year-old granddaughter was a first year homeschool student. The lady explained that while she was most definitely an extrovert, her daughter (the girl’s mother) was an introvert. She was extremely concerned that since they began homeschooling this year, the granddaughter seemed to have very few friends. In addition, her daughter seemed uninterested in joining any groups. The only friends the girl had were some neighbors who were members of our co-op.

We talked about the co-op and what we do. We talked about how some people prefer to have many friends, while others only want one close friend. She understood that. I also explained my own hesitations about joining any groups when we first began homeschooling: I needed to focus on learning to teach. It seemed to allay her fears a little.

As we talked, she revealed that the granddaughter was in a dance class. I mentioned that the girl would have opportunities to make friends there. That was when she said, “But she doesn’t see them every day!”

My response took her by surprise. I said, “That is a good thing.” As she took a step backward, I quickly explained that I had to learn friendship skills after I graduated. Seeing people every day made me lazy. I was totally unprepared for maintaining relationships outside of school or a job. True friendships take effort. That is a valuable lesson to learn at eleven.

I think I may have scared the woman. Had I thought about it, I would have worded things differently, asking more questions. I might have asked about using her extrovert skills to coach her granddaughter on developing strong friendships. Hindsight is 20/20. Still, I pray that maybe she will view things a little differently.

I know that I do. As we recently started attending a different church, I was reminded how much we take for granted when we see our friends every week. It has made me more determined to work at all of my relationships. I still have a lot to learn. Thankfully, God has placed some very patient people in my life who inspire and instruct me toward true friendship every day.

October 12, 2010

Sketch Tuesday

Filed under: Home Education — Rebecca @ 7:44 am
Tags: , , ,


Sketch Tuesday Project

A Glass of Milk and a Pumpkin


We recently discovered Sketch Tuesday at Harmony Art Mom. Each week, students are given a topic for sketching. They work on the project and then email it by Monday. Then, Barb (homeschooling mother, blogger extraordinaire, fine art teacher, and more) uploads the submissions to the blog in a slide show. I love that this is a very simple, informal exercise and a great weekly reminder to include more art in our curriculum. It is also a fun way for the kids to share their work while appreciating the creativity of other families.

Since my daughter is an artist at heart, this was right up her alley.  I noticed that just browsing through the entries actually helped her to observe more carefully and sketch more accurately. The topic this week was “Something You Drink.” She chose to draw a glass of milk with the jug. There happened to be a pumpkin on our kitchen table which made it into her drawing, too.

If you would like a full explanation of the Sketch Tuesday Program, click here. To see all the entries for this week (including Peanut’s) click here. Next week’s theme is something you find in an art museum. Hmmm…. Maybe I will sketch a little something, too.

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