Monday, January 12, 2015

January Learning

We're smack in the middle of our winter break from school.  After working steadily at the book work since the beginning of August, we look forward to this time of resting and recharging every year.  It's a good balance to our longer break in the summer.

I use our 6-week winter break to sneak in a bit of learning, taking care not to label it "school."  It's a mental thing for both the kids and me.  It is more leisurely and exciting when we sneak in a few things optionally without regards to a schedule.  It's also a way to fit in things we don't take time for during the school year.

Here's a peek at what's piquing our curiosity this January:

I'm a person who loves a good list or plan so on December 31st, I asked my kids if they had any goals for the new year.  Most of them shrugged and said, "Nope," or, "I don't know."  However, Owen, my 8-year-old mini-me who also thrives on organization,  immediately piped up and said, "Yes!  I want to learn to play the piano!" So we began. I teach him a lesson every couple of days, he practices (and usually memorizes) his songs, and then we move on to the next lesson.

Right before we closed the history book in December, we read a few sentences about Henry VIII, but we want to fill in a few details so I borrowed Wicked Rulers: You Wouldn't Want to Know!  from the library and ordered a used copy of Brilliant Brits: Henry VIII by Richard Brassey from Amazon.  Both books are conversational and fun.

One of the kids picked up a book of Shel Silverstein poetryon our last library visit so we're reading a few silly poems a day. Sometimes we get lucky at the library and find a gem like this, too.

During lunch every day (or dinner if we're not all together in the afternoon), Brian has been leading us through Our 24 Family Ways: A Family Devotional Guide by Clay Clarkson, picking up where we left off last spring when he went back to work.


Too much free time can lead to grumpy, whiny kids so we've been placing an importance on creativity this month. We're working on a set of 5 Art Appreciation Lessons, using supplies we already have around our home. 

summer learning color mixing

School or not, I spend a large part of my days in the kitchen, but the kids want to be more involved. Maddie has asked to make a banana layer cake together and Owen wants to make pumpkin bread since we never got around to it in the fall.  We're going to put our new KitchenAid to the test.

What are your learning in January?  You don't have to homeschool (or even have kids) to learn!


  1. We took a longer than expected break at the beginning of the month since Tim had some extra time off. We've now eased back into school full-time.

    The four older kids are all learning how to make (whipped banana) oatmeal on their breakfast job rotation and we're training in new jobs around the house.

    By the way, I love your new mixer, and it's your favorite color! I inherited an extra from our restaurant and I love it. (I don't know if you've tried this yet, but besides all the normal mixing it works great for shredding cooked boneless chicken.)

  2. We are back to school after our Christmas break. I do like the look of those art lessons. How fun that Owen has started piano. Sarah does piano and Rachel plays the cello. We are doing tons of reading, as well.

    On a completely different note, I used my KitchenAid for shredding chicken! It's does it quickly!

    Enjoy your break!


    1. I've always wanted my kids to learn to play piano, but until November we didn't own a piano. Now that we have one, Owen is very interested.

      And I'm glad to hear of someone else using their KitchenAid to shred chicken. I'm definitely trying that next time.

  3. Love that mixer and the COLOR ! :-)

    1. Me, too. It's my favorite color! :-)


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