just for fun, subjects photographed : science, p.e., home ec, art & english/reading
When I started this little blog we were half way though our second year of homeschooling. This fall we'll be entering our seventh. I'm still trying to wrap my brain around this truth. Seven years. My oh my.
I have some secrets for you.
I used to think homeschoolers were weird. (We're all kind of weird, right?)
I had no intention of ever homeschooling (or finding out I loved it).
I do not homeschool because I want the smartest kids, or because I'm afraid of public school, I do it because I like to see my kids enjoy an incredible amount of freedom.
I found out that last statement on accident.
Lastly, and most importantly, I have sat for the last five years second guessing my every move. Wondering if I was really messing up my kids. Trying and failing many different types of homeschooling. Thinking we needed to fit inside a box. Silly me, I should have known better. S-l-o-w-l-y finding my way to what works for our family. I should have talked to you more about this journey. But the truth is, I was scared. Who wants to stand on a soapbox and yell, "hey guys, look! I have no idea what I'm doing". See, scary. Now I'm okay with it though, and I can tell you what everyone said to me when we started was pretty much the perfect truth. Love them, read to them. Read. Read. Read. Everything will be okay. Actually this truth might work for parenting in general….
We aren't unschoolers. We don't follow a strict schedule or do school at home. We land somewhere in the middle where Joe and I both feel comfortable with the amount of freedom and structured learning that happens. I admire people who let the whole process of learning organically unfold. It's just not for us. On the other hand, neither is keeping to a rigorous schedule that looks like a regular school day.
We do follow a math program and practice spelling for those that need the extra help. We'll be loosely following inspired by a science curriculum this fall. We'll keep nature journals. Read books. Visit museums. Visit the library. Spend hours building legos. Learn life skills such as taking care of animals, cleaning, managing money, and making food. Visit our Farm. Read more books. Practice handwriting and creative writing. Hike. Kayak. Imagine. Travel to visit family and friends. Play Music. Invent. Build forts. Daydream. Create art. Explore the forest and sea. Read more books.
And that's how it goes.
For the first six years of this journey I've done little more than send in a slip of paper to "the officials" each fall. This year however, I'll be required to submit an Education Plan. While some of these life learning activities fit neatly into subjects. Others don't. And there is one subject that seems to be the least covered. History. To be honest, I'm not much of a curriculum girl. I would much rather compile a list of amazing historical books to read. I imagine having a list of books for us to read for the school year, recording the titles on a giant timeline, visiting local historical museums that would enrich the whole experience. Cooking food that is period related. Drawing comics or writing stories of who you would be in the time period we're reading about. Watching a few movies. And of course finding some folk art to do…. real art. Making baskets or pottery. This is what I want to do with my kids.
I'm guessing none of you are jumping in to tell me this already exists? A nice little guide full of ideas and books and movies and such? No? That's what I figured. But I have an idea. What if all of you shared a book title your kids loved. Or that you loved. Historical non-fiction or fiction. Any book or movie resource that teaches History. We can get a whole list going. Let's go with ages 5-11.
So far, we've loved the Little House on the Prairie series. Sophie read the first 8 books in the last year. Her interest waned in book number nine…. but with Laura all grown up I could see why. We also love Appleseeds and Ask (and for literature: Spider and Cricket too!)
How about you? C'mon and share, this mama needs some inspiration!