By Denny Mather
Vincent was so happy not to be going to school! His stomach no longer bothered him and he started to put the weight back on that he had lost. We still got up early, had breakfast and got dressed. Then we started our day. Our classroom was the kitchen table from which we had a great view of the kids trudging their way up the hill to "regular" school. And we also watched the college students who lived up the hill walking down on their way to classes... They seemed happier than the little ones.
We covered all the classes that Vincent had been doing for sixth grade. Instead of making noisemakers for music, we listened to albums and tapes. And our computer study went way beyond turning it off and on and opening folders. We did have text books that we used on a daily basis but if we found something we were really interested in we could spend the rest of the day (or week!) on it. At one point we had seven different books on the table about the same subject. It's amazing how many viewpoints there are on some things!
Someone sent me a bumper sticker that read: The Whole World is Our Classroom. How true! A visit to the grocery store became a lesson in planning and economics. A walk with the dogs was not only physical education but a study in nature. We were able to travel with Dale on some of his trips and see the towns and forsaken homesteads we were reading about in Montana History. Vincent wasn't the only one learning; I really enjoyed most of what we were doing as well.
Records did have to be kept and the superintendent was allowed to check them. (Which is one reason I am able to write these articles – I have a folder for every year that we home schooled!) I did count the hours reading Hunter's Education, required by the state if you want to hunt, as classroom hours. Any lecture given by the college that we were interested in and that was pen to the public, was also counted. Sumtown Symphony gave a concert every year for schools and we home schoolers were also invited. We counted that. Anything that could be turned into a lesson was counted. We were never audited but I figured any extra hours I could get on our calendar was a good thing.