We get asked a lot if we take normal breaks at Christmas time. The longer we've been educating our kids, the more difficult I find that question. The question seems to assume that school for us is always sitting and reading books, or doing worksheets with me at some writing board and all. Visions of school desks found at garage sales run through my mind as my students "work hard" at their learning.
Our school just isn't like that. We do some sitting work at the dining room table, but not every day. Most days, but not every day. We read everyday whether or not we are on vacation. I would imagine that many families are like that. We read school books on vacation. Does that mean we're "doing school?"
There was an afternoon a few days ago when Silje and David were just silly and (frankly annoying) as they were overwhelmed with new fun things down here every single day. They needed a little forced "down time" so we brought out the math workbooks and had them each do a math sheet. It was a bit of "normal" for them in the overstimulating environment of vacation and it did the trick. They were much more themselves after that.
Our chosen curricula is sometimes multiple grade levels ahead of their peers so if we're "behind" of the set schedule it doesn't bother me. Sometimes we're ahead, sometimes we're behind of the prescribed schedule. It's been really hard for me to realize that if we're learning every day, then we're doing what we're supposed to be doing.
So if you ask me if we're learning everyday while on vacation, I'd say YES! So on our learning adventure this week the big highlight was our "school" field trip to the Grand Canyon. Our principal (Knut) declared the field trip and so our little class along with 2 added chaperones (Grammy and Papa) headed out. It was our family's first time there. Knut and I had last visited it when we were Silje and David's age. (Although we didn't visit it together. We had no idea who each other were at that time.)
It was fun to hear the variety of languages there, and see license plates from as far away as Alaska. I think anyone who has ever been there would agree that there are no pictures that can capture this sight. We just saw a little tip of it on the South rim, but it was still a sight to behold.
The weather was ideal (60 degrees or so) and Silje and David did so well. David was a little nervous that he would fall in, so he was pretty cautious the whole time. Silje was adventurous and really wanted to hike down to the bottom. Unfortunately we didn't have time for that.
The tough part of the day was that Elias did not enjoy a single second. His grating whine was in full force and he was just having a tough time handling himself the whole way.
So Knut took the older 2 and saw a bit more of the canyon as my mom and I took the little ones to more indoor places.
I ended up getting a school book for next year. Next year we'll begin studying early American history, and I found a book put out by the council for Indian Education talking about the nation's move to their designated reservation and adapting to their new environment and new way of life. It's called Navajo Long Walk and is from the perspective of a little boy. I'm hoping it will be a good supplement for next year.
On a side note, I find it so interesting that down here, Indians call themselves Indians. You see it all over signs for their shops and different places. In the midwest where we live, saying "Indian" is wrong and you're supposed to say "Native American." I have yet to see any term of that sort down here and wonder if the tolerance and need for political correctness varies from Indian/Native American nation to nation. Sorry...just some random observations.
On another side note, on our trip down here to Arizona we stopped at a little Indian shop because one of the kids thought they were going to throw up from car sickness and we all needed to stretch our legs. We stopped and Silje found a map poster in the shop of Indian nations and their original location all across the United States. It's a fascinating map, so for $4 we got that also to supplement our school year coming up.
Now back to our field trip.
Resource: Often there are online promo codes available for educational supplies or travel, to save on home schooling experiences.