Homeschool: Out of the Box

Dear Friends,
We are suffering. The weather is miserable. The children, okay, and the mom, are stir-crazy. Unless you live somewhere unaffected by winter, you are probably nodding your head right about now. If you are somewhere warm, with waves splashing and children playing in the sand, go soak your head. [giggle]

Sorry, that was the jealously talking.

Excuse me while I yell at my son for running in the house,


Okay, got that taken care of.
How often does that have to happen?
Oh, only once... or twice... a minute... all winter.

So how are you surviving? As much as I sometimes wish for my children's homeschool education solution to appear on my doorstep in a box, it's not that easy. We have to think out of the box around here.

Well, sometimes.

Sometimes being in the box is fun.

Bee asked for a number on the side and flames out the back like a race-car. Mr. Loggerhead looked at me and said,

"She's five! How does she know anything about race-cars?"

I answered him in a word,


Homeschooling with Bee is pretty easy. She would be happy spending hours with scissors, paper, writing tools and glue. And frankly, I'm happy when my children are happily [read: quietly] occupied doing constructive vs. destructive things.

So she cuts and pastes to her heart's content and then we sweep it all into this basket when we get unexpected company or it's time to use the table for things like eating. That doesn't happen that often. I mean, who needs to eat, really? Eating is for wimps.

Oh, Oh!
I'm just kidding. I feed my children on a fairly regular basis.

So, about this basket. When I have time, I weed out the less-than-fabulous pieces of 'artwork' and put tools and supplies away as they become less interesting. It works really well for us. I guess you could say we thought out of the box and into a basket. Most importantly, I always have something right there when we need a sudden distraction from things like strangling her brother.

As for that brother.  He is harder to occupy. Sometimes he is puzzling. 

No, really, he's puzzling.

He loves this one.

It came with cards that ask you to find things in the puzzle and circle them with a dry-erase pen.

It claims to teach letter sounds, numbers and colors.

T-boy has learned:

1. The letter "A"  makes a sound a lot like the one mom makes when she finds peanut butter smeared all over the cupboard doors in the kitchen when she thought he was busy with the puzzle. Aaaaaaaaa!

2.  4 is the number of puzzle pieces he can throw before Mom catches him.

3. The color blue of the dry-erase pen does not match the wood floor.

Wow, it works!

So what is the missing piece to our homeschool puzzle?

Patience, my dear, patience.

He'll get it someday. It'll fall into place and the only boxes you'll be thinking about are the one filled with tissues you'll need as you see him wave goodbye and the one filled with cookies you are going to send to his college dorm room.

But for now, if patience is thin and your view into the future clouded, go for the box. Occupy the kindergartener with a new box of crayons, convince your preschooler to hide in his toy box with a flashlight, dump half a box of crackers on the toddler's high-chair tray and go eat a box of bon-bons in the bathtub.

That works too.



  1. Dear Rae,
    I am another mom, who'se already gone stir crazy and winter's only begun and one that homeschools. I was taught in public school.. so i have to 'unschool' myself and think outside the box.
    love, homeschooling heather

    *this was lame attempt to leave a cool comment like you do :)

  2. Ha! Your box was from a snow blower, how funny is that. Oh this winter thing! My middle son knew all the drivers of the cars before he knew his colors, I knew we had a problem! LOL

  3. Hee Hee Hee, it isn't quite that bad around here, or else I've already lost my mind and can't remember, Zane is starting to play with things which explains why I was stepping on cars in the middle of the night. More funny coming up in today's blog. :)

  4. Dear long-suffering mom
    hang in there. It's a huge advantage to homeschool from the BEGINNING instead of trying to change things later and having to convince them that "This IS learning".
    I knew I should have never quit!
    I wonder if I could convince them that building a elebrate airtight snow-fort with snow furniture is schoolwork?
    That should keep them occupied for a while, right?
    Slightly brain-crazed fellow homeshool mom.

    (ditto Heather's bottom sentence) :P

  5. I know what the rest of the sign says...but in your picture it only shows "Home is whe.."
    I would finish that with our own we learned SO many years ago in a far away place:


    Even tho we too have had brief so-journs in the 'other' places....We still love this the best.

    Winter can be the most challenging time, especially at the ages of your kiddleywinks. It has actually been good for ours to have some catching up of reading and doing lots of games, puzzles, and those sorts of things that they don't do so much of in warm weather. Thankfully it doesn't stay cold in Nebraska EVERY single day of Winter. Remember every now and then there is a respite.
    According to Webster it is:
    n. 1. A temporary cessation or postponement, usually of something disagreeable; an interval of rest or relief.
    2. law. The temporary suspension of a death sentence; a reprieve.

    So, there you go. Something to look forward to.
    Be brave we could be on the brink of a bright-breezy day or even an hour or two would do for me.

  6. (Auntie) Lil' SisDecember 22, 2009 at 11:52 AM

    That craft project looks fun Yissy! (Bee)Invite me over sometime!Heehee 8)Sorry.I wasn't trying to make you invite me to your house or anything...no but Rae-lly.I WASN'T!

    Love ya! Auntie Kit-Kat


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