Thursday, April 5, 2012

to school or not to school

Camille needed a day at home yesterday.  We started the day by making homemade custard to be frozen into ice cream.  She separated 16 egg yolks and only broke one.  
The eggs from our hens are widely varied, but they all have bright orange yolks from their diet of foraged foods.

 Which led to making stone eggs.  We happened to have on hand some soapstone, sandstone, a jewelers saw, and various files and sandpapers.
  Which, of course, led to building huge nests from sticks, mud, and dried grasses with Sylvia and Ayla.

 After a quick rinse from the well pump followed by a bubble bath, we checked on our ice cream and added vanilla and peaches to half of the batch and mint and chocolate chips to the other.  We used this tutorial and basic recipe for making ice cream without an ice cream machine.

 We watched Birds, Birds, Birds!: An Indoor Birdwatching Field Trip that I happened to have from Netflix, and read Singing Birds and Flashing Fireflies: How Animals Talk to Each Other that I happened to have from the library.  Don't you love it when it works out like that?

Camille has been seriously considering returning to homeschooling.  In her teacher's own words, she is not being challenged academically.  Unfortunately, she is being quite challenged to deal with bullies and 3rd grade social politics, such as what girl will be friends with what other girl and why.

After contacting the principal about serious and physical bullying on the school bus earlier this year, things had hit a low point and were improving, but the toll of all day every day  is wearing her down.  She will likely finish out the school year either way since there is less than two months to go.
Camille has started to think that learning = worksheets, memorization, and tests, but look at all that she learned from one day off.  She learned about food science, ice crystal formation, and math (doubled recipe: 3/4 c. raw sugar x 2 = 1 1/2 c.) from making ice cream.  And it was amazingly delicious! 

From pretending to be a bird for half of the day, she learned how to work with different kinds of stones and their properties, bird call identification, animal communication, cooperation and nest building techniques.

Plus we watched How Stuff Works: Food and Beverage while eating popcorn, which definitely contained science, agriculture, and social studies.  Plus, of course phys ed and quiet time, and much more...

Beyond helping children gain skills and knowledge, any mode of education would ideally facilitate children to be happy, healthy, interested, creative, and surrounded by love and friendship.  If Camille can find that at school, then that is where she should be, but it's increasingly looking like a return to homeschooling / unschooling is in her future.


  1. I love days that flow like that :) I hope Camille enjoys the rest of her time at school and she is so blessed to have a mama who trusts in her to choose what feels right for her. I love the photos with this post too, so much activity and fun x x

  2. What a lovely day you all had!! Thank you for sharing it and the thought process going on for Camille. It's a beautiful thing being a truly free child...

  3. What a wonderful day! I am so often amazed at the learning the occurs during the natural flow of the day.

  4. What a nice day! When we had decided to pull my son out of school, but hadn't yet because I hadn't finished working, we would often let him have "mental health days" - I think he had a dozen of these over the last term of school! They really helped him cope and I knew he wasn't missing much at school. His last school report said "Too many days absent from school can affect a child's learning" - yep! I certainly hope so!

    I hope Camille can find what works for her :-)

  5. Such a wise family! One day at a time.


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