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Journal of a Homeschooling Mom

By Anne Salazar-Dunbar, a Homeschool Mom

If anyone truly believes that learning only occurs during school hours, school months, in a classroom, I would find it easy to disagree! With the lovely summer weather here in Southern California, learning just seems to accelerate with the longer summer days. The children play hard and though I believe a great deal of learning occurs during play, there also has not been a dearth of energy when it comes to the actual hard core academics, either.

Early on this summer we took a trip to Tucson, Arizona. It was such a lovely journey. We drove through the gorgeous deserts and were inspired by the vastness and beauty of it. We were able to see up close the stunning scenery of the area and learn about its fascinating history. We can’t wait to go back.

In addition, we recently returned from a two-week trek driving up the entire West Coast of the United States. We saw it all! From the congested, crowded freeways of Los Angeles to the awe-inspiring beauty of Orcas Island in the San Juans of northern Washington. We spent about 60 hours driving, altogether, on this trip. What an adventure. The kids did great and I found tapes and books-on-tape to be very helpful in keeping their spirits up. It turned out their very favorite tapes to listen to were the good, old Boomerang tapes.

Boomerang! covers it all and it’s all done by kids. Every one of my children were riveted, even my 13 year old who had heard them all before! Believe me, I will be subscribing again for my younger children.

Road trips are an excellent way for all of us to learn about history, science and geography (the concepts of cities, states and country become very clear). It also teaches us about math as we calculate mileage and gas usage. When we drive or walk through the redwood forests, we really absorb the power and beauty of this world. No book can really convey that. And my children have a love of travel and a learned sense of patience about the getting there.

Another wonderful bonus this summer was the returning home of my son Ben. He had (by his choice) been attending a charter school for the past four years. But it seemed that the value vs. the downsides became more obvious and it was time for him to come home to focus on his learning. He is working independently with Oak Meadow‘s online high school. He seems to enjoy it and because he is driven to go to UC San Diego, he is strongly motivated to work hard. It’s a great example being set for his younger siblings. He is also attending a Shakespeare club with some of his peers, enjoys fencing classes and participating in our local youth theater.

Betsy (6) and Alex (9) have really gotten excited about their math studies this summer. Yes, you heard me right. They ask to do it everyday and enjoy the various ways that math works and the way they can easily see themselves making progress. Although I honestly believe math can and should be learned in the real world by doing real world things, I can’t argue with their desire to work with this wonderful program, too.

We can already feel autumn in the air. We intend to take nature walks (recording in our nature journals), continue our Spanishmathreading (of course!) attending local children’s theater and just have a general grand time in this process we call learning!

Anne Salazar-Dunbar has been homeschooling her three children for over ten years. This homeschool mom also has been studying and working with whole food nutrition for over twenty. For more information on both topics you can access her website at www.thenaturalife.com


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