What are We Doing?
Back when we were in preschool and kindergarten/1st grade, we used to schedule Field Trip Fridays. You see, by the end of the week, my schedules and plans and dining room had become quite a mess. I needed a scheduled day each week to be unscheduled. To take the burden off and to just cut loose and have fun.
I am a fan of the idea of unschooling, you see. However, I can't really get my control-freak self to completely give in to it. So one day of field trips, of fun, of adventure...it was prefect. It was controlled unschooling once a week.
Then this past year, the twins moved up into second grade. Our core curriculum is Introduction to World History in One Year.
Why does that seem so serious to me? It's like the rubber suddenly hit the road in our little homeschooling adventure.
And while it has been a great journey so far this year, we have had to make some adjustments. We aren't just doing topical studies each week based on children's story books and then some phonics on top. Every day we cover just about everything: history, geography, Bible, science, reading, language arts, handwriting, Spanish, art, and music.
Shorty has had the hardest time. And rightly so. After all, he's only in kindergarten. He can keep up just fine with the concepts, but he just can't make it to the end of a week with his sanity in tact. And if he has hit a brick wall of learning and turned into a tiny zombie, he manages to feast on his brothers' brains. Mine, too, if I'm honest. We were all exhausted and crazy by the end of our four days.
So our Field Trip Fridays weren't working out so well for us. By Friday we had work to catch up on. By Friday we were grumpy and burned out. By Friday all we wanted to do was sit in front of the television.
PBSkids was pretty much our sole adventure into unschooling. There was no more time or energy for exploration or for interest-led learning. No creative juices for experiments. As much as I love the zoo, how many times could I claim that it was a valid field trip during the year just because we had membership?
Something had to give.
And so, about midway through our year, I figured it out. (Yeah, I'm a quick study, I know.)
We needed to break up the days we were "on" and "off." We couldn't handle four days of sitting (mostly) still to learn.
We needed to move our Field Trip Fridays to mid week.
We needed a What are We Doing Wednesday?!
So, here we are, on a Wednesday, doing stuff. We are in the Middle Ages right now. Knights. Castles. The Black Plague. So...when you are in the middle of Kansas, what do you do on a Wednesday for a field trip related to your medieval curriculum?
You dress up in costumes and go to a castle, of course!
You keep a lookout from the highest tower, just in case there are any enemies (or ridiculously large groups of high schoolers apparently on their lunch hour) from whom you must protect the castle!
You eat your lunch in the cool of the great hall, well protected from the harsh Kansas winds.
You play a rousing game of "Rescue Princess Mommy" knight vs. woodsmen!
You learn that the castle itself dates only to 1936, but the location was probably visited by a Spanish conquistador looking for legendary cities of gold.
Now, the question is...What are We Doing (next) Wednesday?