I thought I would post some of our activities over the past couple of weeks in an attempt to assuage the guilt I feel that comes from knowing that my children lead such isolated; uneducated lives. I have listened to the naysayers out there that believe homeschoolers are not only thinking outside of the box…a dangerous perspective, to be sure…but that we are also dooming our children to a life of isolation, keeping them from those valuable experiences that school brings.

Oh, I hear you great mob of society.  I type this here, now, in a fit of anxiety, with a fair dose of hand-wringing, knowing that you must be correct. How in the world can I teach my children anything of value if I am not a certified teacher? I only went through the entire educational system myself, but that clearly can’t account for any learning or knowledge to pass on, though I completely understand how it is an adequate, nay…superior educational foundation for my children over anything I could possibly teach them.  Naturally a sterile environment that shows a picture of, say, the life cycle of a butterfly is by far a better method to reach understanding of the process than actually watching a butterfly go from egg, to larva, to pupa and ultimately bursting out in all it’s glory into full-grown flight.

How will my children ever LEARN?!

And lets not forget about the socialization!  Oh…the socialization. I hang my head in shame. My children are terribly alone, with no way to learn how to interact in an environment with children of their own age all doing the same thing at the same time. Alas, I have only been able to provide them with a strong family bond, friends of all ages that they must learn to cooperate with, and a gamut of real-life instructors that not only do, but teach, as well.

Sigh.

I truly lament how sheltered they have become and it is high time I take some responsibility for this fact.  I now admit to you all that my children have learned to take life into their own hands and mold it and shape it to be what works best for them, rarely resembling anything mainstream. I plead forgiveness and understanding from the mainstream not to judge too harshly that my children have not learned to blindly follow the pack like so many other automatons have done.

How could I raise free-thinkers like these? Have I no shame?!! Surely, we must be doing it all wrong. After all, the masses usually know what’s best, right?  It can’t possibly be education if kids are, gasp…enjoying it, right?  Right?

Hmmm….maybe the proverbial “they” are correct, after all.  Oh, how could I have let this happen?

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Apple picking at the orchard.  I’m sure there is no educational value in this whatsoever.  What a waste of our time!

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Just look at those poor, sad, unsocialized faces.

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All in at Devil’s Lake.  No suits needed, apparently.  I now see how “weird” my kids are.  That is totally unacceptable and I’m sure this sort of free-spirited attitude will have long-standing repercussions well into adulthood.

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Learning how to row…not as easy as it looks, but I’m sure they could have figured that out from watching someone else do it instead…in a picture…in a textbook.

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Apple orchard bounty.  This can only lead to no good.

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Better start making some apple things!  Sigh…see what I mean about “no good”?  Just more time-consuming stuff getting in the way of “education”.

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Putting the final touches on the card they made together (to give to a non-existent friend for his birthday party, since, you know, homeschoolers don’t have friends.)

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Trip to a llama farm where we received instruction from a veterinarian on all manner of farm life and llama care.  (It’s certainly too bad we only had the experience of the veterinarian; farm owner to teach the kids at the site, rather than a textbook.  That would have been so much better.)

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Oops.  Missing those opportunities to make friends again.  My poor awkward children.

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Field trip to Norskadelen, a Norwegian settlement site, as part of our hands-on learning of pioneer life.  I know.  I know.  What could they possibly gain from this?  Is she frolicking?!!

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Look closely.  We’ll see this again later…in miniature.

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Oh, and one mustn’t forget about all that free time my kids get to do things that are fun, creative and just plain interesting to them.  Goodness knows there isn’t a lick of research to show that kids need that!  Ugh.  Those should be workbooks.

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Avatar 4 elements

And because my kids got into a spurt watching Avatar: The Last Airbender…terrible parent that I am…I took the opportunity to impart a little fantasy-to-reality by letting them draw, talk about elements, write, spell and read…all while skipping that stuffy indoor classroom.  What will become of these kids?  I think the damage I’ve done must surely be irreparable.

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Ah, and here we go with that creativity run amok again!  Oh, and violence.  I’ve allowed the promotion of violence as my daughter studiously gathered “ingredients” and wrapped them up in homemade leaf-bombs to prepare for a war with those imaginary friends of hers that were visiting later.

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And another sad attempt at haphazard “learning”:  making nature inspired owls, after we tried our hand at baking up some yummy cinnamon-sugar owls that morning.  We even read a few books on owls and had some writing practice…”O is for owl”.  Alas, this didn’t come as part of a full unit of directed study, so I’m sure it doesn’t count.

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In a timely fashion, going along with our pioneer theme, we were lucky enough to get genuine buggy rides from a friend’s family.  The kids got to run on the farm with a variety of animals and even saddle up and ride a horse, but I’m sure none of that compares with riding on a school bus every day.

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Horseback Riding
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Horseback Riding (2)
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And with all that pesky free-time I allow them…

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A pioneer covered wagon,

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some lovely llama pictures,

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Homemade ice cream

enjoying pioneer-style homemade ice-cream that they vigorously made (shook) themselves,

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Look familiar?

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and creation of a pioneer village.

How dull and uneducational.  There must be better ways to gauge whether or not my girls have gleaned anything from all these trips and things they’ve been taking.  I know…standardized testing!

Yes, my poor, unsocialized, uneducated, friendless kids taught by their ignorant, free-spirited mother and an even more layman group of educators in their fields.  I can clearly see now that I must really be doing them severe harm by choosing this homeschooling lifestyle.   😉