Have School, Will Travel

According to Georgia law, a home study program (i.e. homeschool) must have at least one hundred eighty days of instruction within a twelve month period. This year we started school on Labor Day, which is a little late for Georgia schools. The longer it takes us to fill our quota of 180 days, the farther our school year will stretch into summer, regardless of how much material we cover.

None of us want to be having school in July, so we look for ways to be creative in what counts as "school", while still remaining within the law (of course!). We are not bound by a school building, so trips that might normally be classified as strictly vacation can be partly counted as "field trips". I try not to stretch this too much. For example, I'm not going to call our Thanksgiving Day get-together with my family a social studies class on intergenerational relations. However, with a little intentional planning and instruction we can check a few days off the school calendar that might otherwise be "lost" to vacation.

This Thanksgiving we spent a week in Wisconsin and Minnesota visiting my family. However, were able to dedicate some time toward educational endeavors.

There was stargazing with Uncle Rod and his telescope. We saw a double star, the open star cluster Pleiades, the Andromeda Galaxy, and we were able to get an amazing view of Jupiter and its moons.

My dad (aka "Pop") dissected an abandoned paper wasps' nest for the kids.

Thankfully, no one was home.


He also performed a dissection of a reptile specimen. Some found this fascinating...


Others found the blood a little disconcerting, at least initially...


And others just thought it felt suspiciously like school interrupting his vacation.


I have fond childhood memories of picking milkweed pods and tearing them open to reveal their silky white fluff. The boys had never seen any before, so King drove us in the Gator to find some along the side of the road.

I allowed Mike to drive us back, after he promised not to drive too fast.

I'll take it easy, Mom.

It takes great effort and concentration to drive slowly.


Our whole family was able to spend a day at my brother's school. The boys attended classes with their cousins and Curtis and I observed the school's very talented teachers in action. The boys reported that "it wasn't that different than homeschool". (Apart from having more than one classmate and the teachers not being their mother, I suppose). I took their assessment as a compliment.