Mid-Year doldrums

So here it is, the middle of March. The weather up until recently has been horrible, keeping most of us indoors this winter. Now that Spring is here, are your thoughts on lesson plans or getting outdoors? My breast cancer diagnosis taught me a lot of things. First, don’t push the lesson plans. There will be plenty of days where you will have time for lessons. If you and your kids are not in the mindset to sit and do math–don’t. Instead find something else to do. Almost anything can be considered educational if you put your mind to it. Here are some suggestions for those difficult days:

Math is Everywhere

Just about any activity can be turned into a math lesson. Go outdoors, plan the garden. Ask you kids to calculate the area of the garden beds and how many of each plant can be planted there. They will have to read the seed packet or planting instructions for live plants, determine how large the planting bed is and figure out how much space each plant requires. Topics covered: geometry, multiplication, reading, critical thinking skills, biology, and botany.

We plan on reinforcing our back fence so that we can bring in some chickens. If you have a similar fence project, ask your kids to measure the current fence (or space for a new fence) and calculate how much fencing is required. Then take a shopping trip for price comparisons. Topics covered: measurements, multiplication, perimeter, money skills, personal finance, life skills.


Braekel poultry. Gold variant of the breed. Photograph by Stijn Ghesquiere 2004. 


We are finally making the jump into suburban homesteading. This past summer we finally purchased a home in Arkansas although it is much smaller than anything we have lived in previously. Gardens are going in and we have decided to bring in chickens. This is a huge undertaking and it requires plenty of disciplines in order to bring this about.

For chickens, we had to determine if it was even legal to keep chickens within city limits. We checked with zoning and got the okay–hens okay, roosters not allowed. Next comes deciding on how many chicken we would need to provide a family of five with enough fresh eggs.

The egg question actually depends on the breed of chicken. Some produce a lot more than others. Production from a hen bred for commercial egg production is very different than a heritage breed. So, the kid did some math. Average yearly production from hens of a specific breed divided by 52 (number of weeks in a year.) Compare that to the number of eggs we buy or use in a week. Now add enough hens to reach the number of eggs your family requires. This requires researching chicken breeds, division, comparing numbers, addition and multiplication.

Deciding on a breed of chicken takes a lot of work. It is more than just egg production. Some chickens need the ability to free-range in order to be happy. Some fly well–others, not so much. Some tolerate cold better than others. Certain chickens are likely to scare easily while other are more mellow. Right now–we are still researching chickens. As we progress in our homesteading adventures, I will keep you posted as to how this all fits in with homeschool.

Other difficult day ideas

If your kids participate in scouts, 4-H, or similar group, take a day that is not going well to work on a merit badge or project. You can always find some school subject to tie this in with. Sometimes, taking a break from the norm is just what everyone needs to regroup and get back on track.




Posted on 21 March '14 by , under Homeschooling 101.

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