Homeschooling and Rotating Shift Work

Homeschooling and Rotating Shift Work | @SweetPhenomena | #Homeschooling #HomeschoolScheduling

Last year I wrote a post about homeschooling while also dealing with a rotating shift work schedule.  It contained links to other posts that touched on this unique situation as well.

You see, if you have a family member that works this type of schedule, you have a unique set of circumstances.  Your week isn’t divided into weekdays and weekends.

I outlined Vince’s schedule in that post, but I’ll explain it again here:

4 days of 12 hour nights
3 days off
3 days of 12 hour days
1 day off
3 days of 12 hour nights
3 days off
4 days of 12 hour days
7 days off

After the 7 days off, you repeat from the top.

This type of schedule can be good for several things, like Daddy being home during the week at times.  If there’s a field trip, appointment, or some other event that necessitates Daddy, we’ve got him.

It also means that if we want to have family time, we can’t do school Monday through Friday, taking off Saturday and Sunday.

I tried to fight it for the longest time; I felt school had to be done Monday through Friday.  Once I let go, things really started falling into place.

I’m a visual learner, so I wanted to revisit how I work this type of schedule into our homeschool.

Once you consider field trips, baking projects, reading, and plenty of other learning opportunities, we’re well over 165 school days for the year.

I’d like to take a moment to touch on something:  we decided to school year-round so that our school days were able to match up nicely to my husband’s work days.  If we tried to do fewer months, we’d need to do more school days per month, meaning we wouldn’t be “off” when my husband was off.

That’s a sacrifice we chose to make.  We also like to take the month of December off.

The month above is a bit different than normal because they have an adjustment for work that needed to be done.

You might need to do more documentable school days?  Is the number of school days each month more than what your family member will be working?

That’s OK!  The focus of this type of homeschool scheduling is not fitting it all together perfectly, but striving to do as much of your schoolwork during their work times as possible.

This way, the family doesn’t feel like they’re giving up family time.  The family member working those hours feels like they can actually be a part of the family during their time off.

I find that by outlining school days in this manner, I know what days are non-negotiable.  I build everything else from this foundation:  field trips, errands, extracurriculars, etc.

It’s not easy, and it takes a bit of playing around with a schedule, but it can be done.  And I promise you, once you’ve made it work for your family, things will start to feel a bit more natural.

How do you deal with “strange” schedules in your homeschool?

 

9 Tips for Teaching Archaeology in Your Homeschool

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9 Tips for Teaching Archaeology in Your Homeschool

Archaeology {or archeology, if you prefer; they’re both acceptable} isn’t a common profession.  As such, it can be difficult to run into materials you can use to help you with teaching archaeology in your homeschool.

Babydoll wants to be an archaeologist {and has for as long as I can remember}, so it’s important to me to somehow foster that desire in her schoolwork somehow.

Here is a compilation of ways you can include this in your homeschool, whether you have a child working toward the profession or one that just thinks it’s cool!

  1. Books and magazines:  This is probably the most obvious choice.  On the surface it might seem difficult to find age-appropriate materials, but you might be surprised by what’s out there.  Babydoll is a fan of dig™, an archaeology magazine for kids.  And just take a look at all the results on Amazon when you search for archaeology books for kids.
  2. Put together your own archaeologist kit:  I’m not talking about cheap plastic junk you can buy as a kit.  I’m talking a what-the-pros-use kit.  All you really need is a trowel and you’re good to go, but you’d be surprised at how inexpensively you can put together a base kit.  We got Babydoll started with a couple of different types of trowels {Marshalltown are the best, supposedly}, measuring tape, a folding ruler, a pencil, and a blue glittery notepad, just for some color.  Store it all in a tackle box or those stacking organization bins they sell at Walmart.
  3. Games:  Babydoll loved Roman Town!  It’s a computer game that takes the user through an interactive dig.  She finished it that day, I believe, but continues to play it.  It looks like they have a new game coming out next month.
  4. Join archaeology organizations:  There are international, national, and regional archaeology societies.  You can find a great listing of them on this site.  Many offer low rates for students and send newsletters, invitations to special events, and even information about participating in local digs.
  5. Visit archaeology museums:  Many colleges and universities that have an archaeology program also have museums that the public can visit.  It might even be possible to contact the museum before a visit and arrange for a professor to give your family a tour.  Many also have special events happening throughout the year.
  6. Look for camps:  Several states have resident camps designed to allow older kids the opportunity to help out with a dig, but these are pricey and not located conveniently for many of us.  Search for camps in your area, or in neighboring states.  At one time there was an archaeology camp offered for younger kids here in AL.  I know GA and FL have also offered family-oriented camps.
  7. Find archaeology celebrations:  Believe it or not, there are special days and months set aside for archaeology.  National Archaeology Day is October 20th this year, and the National Park Service offers National Archaeology Month.  Many states also have statewide celebrations, complete with festive events and many learning opportunities.  Having trouble finding them? Start with your local college or university.
  8. Volunteer at field schools:  If you have an older student, they can always ask to volunteer at a local field school.  They just might get the chance to haul dirt all summer while observing the workings of a real dig.  ShovelBums always maintains a great list of worldwide field schools.
  9. Create a full-year curriculum:  This can be downright terrifying, especially if you’re not a history or science buff, but it’s one of the most amazing things you can ever do for your child.  This is what we’re embarking on this year:  an entire year devoted to a real archaeological dig.  I highly recommend picking up Hands-On Archaeology: Real-Life Activities for Kids by John White {affiliate link}.  Professor White was a big proponent of teaching proper archaeology to young children.  His guide is hands-down the best I have seen for teaching real archaeology.  I didn’t want a kit that we just hacked away at, finding the stuff hidden inside.  This book has actual forms, terminology, everything you need to really teach your child about actual archaeology.

Even if your child isn’t a die-hard archaeology fan, these activities can definitely liven up a history curriculum or many other aspects of school.

Have you found any great archaeology resources you use in your homeschool?

Photo credit: gordontour via photo pin cc

 

2011/12 Homeschool Field Trip Bucket List

Homeschool Field Trip Bucket List | @SweetPhenomena | #Homeschool

There are always so many places I’d like to take Babydoll for field trips throughout the year, but I never write them down and inevitably forget them…

I figured I’d make a list of field trips we’d like to go on for the year in the hopes that it’ll help me remember them.  While these are relevant to our area, they might give you ideas of things to look for in your own area!

Also, you can Google your state or area and “field trips” or “homeschool field trips” for things in your area.  You can also check out this list at Hip Homeschool Moms.

Anniston Museum of Natural History

Berman Museum of World History

Tannehill Ironworks Historical State Park

Birmingham Civil Rights Institute

Sixteenth Street Baptist Church

Southern Museum of Flight

Vulcan

McWane Science Center

Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Meyer Planetarium

Blue Bell

The Southern Environmental Center

Ave Maria Grotto

Dauphin Island Sea Lab

Gaineswood

Alabama Mining Museum

The George Washington Carver Museum

Children’s Museum of the Shoals

The Rosenbaum House

Pope’s Tavern Museum

Mary G. Hardin Center for Cultural Arts

Gadsden Museum of Art

Magnolia Grove

Buck’s Pocket State Park

US Space and Rocket Center

Earlyworks Museums

Sci-Quest

Huntsville Museum of Art

Burritt on the Mountain

Huntsville Botanical Garden

SIFAT Cares

Gulf Coast Exploreum

Mobile Museum of Art

Bragg-Mitchell Mansion

Center for Archaeological Studies

Conde-Charlotte Museum House

American Village

Rosa Parks Museum

Old Alabama Town

Trail of Tears National Historic Trail

Bellingrath Gardens and Home

Pioneer Museum of Alabama

Children’s Hands-On Museum of Alabama

Mercedes-Benz Visitor’s Center

Moundville Archaeological Park

The Old Tavern

Birmingham Zoo

Athens Storytelling Festival

Bill’s Honey Farm

Jerry Brown Pottery

The Historic Weeden House Museum

Harrison Brothers Hardware

Aldridge Gardens

The Peanut Depot

Wild Natives Safari

Railroad Park

Sweet Plans: Homeschool Planning – Where to Start?

Sweet Plans: Homeschool Planning | @SweetPhenomena | #Homeschooling

This is the first post in a new series about homeschool planning.  I’m by no means an expert, and I definitely copy and tweak the work of others often, but I think that it is absolutely OK to do that!  As I plan our next school year, I thought I’d share with you what I do.  You can find the second post in the series here.  Here are posts three, four, and five.

It’s homeschool planning time for many of us!  Tons of posts, tweets, and status updates revolve around this task right now.

This series will take a look at some of my favorite homeschool planning posts, some of the tools available to tackle the planning, digging in and getting started, staying the course, and putting the final touches on your system.

If you’re anything like me, you love looking through the posts of others, eagerly looking for anything useful for your own situation.  Below are some of the posts I’ve found as I’ve searched for ways to plan our homeschool year.

These are just a small portion of what’s out there!  Hopefully you’ll find something that will get your creative planning juices flowing and give you an idea of what you want to do so you know where to start.

Do you have any posts about homeschool planning you’d like to share?  Leave them in the comments, I’d love to check them out!

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7 Reasons You Should Raise Risk Takers

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Children are born with an innate curiosity that leads them to take risks.

Then, we as parents, spend the better part of 18 years stomping that curiosity right out of them.

While this is a good idea to a point {who really wants their kid to stick their head inside an oven to see what all the fuss is about?}, there are compelling reasons to raise risk takers:

  1. It teaches them to love learning – When you’re curious, you dig for answers and information.  Curiosity breeds a natural love of learning.  Risk taking teaches kids to always question things, always want to know more, always love learning.
  2. It teaches them to  become leaders – Leaders are risk takers.  They know when to push the envelope, and when to just hold on.
  3. It teaches them to think of others – A risk taker learns to consider others when making decisions.  While this may be a learned behavior, it is one that is learned rather quickly when one is faced with how his or her decision affected others.
  4. It teaches them to deal with disappointment – Every risk we take and every decision we make will not turn out the way we want.  Teaching our children to become risk takers allows them to learn how to handle disappointment with style and grace.
  5. It teaches them to go after what they want – Nothing in this world is handed to you, you have to work for it.  Risk takers know this, and go after whatever it is they want.  They might not always get it, but they know they tried.
  6. It teaches them appreciation - Risk takers quickly learn that the world doesn’t revolve around them.  They have what they have, they are who they are, and they can do what they do because of every person they have interacted with.
  7. It teaches them to become decision makers – Risk takers learn to make decisions.  They don’t sit around waiting for others to make decisions for them.