Monday, October 22, 2012

Homeschool: A New Year

Though our sweet Esther is just four and a half, we've been doing our own version of homeschool with her. Though isn't everyone's homeschool their own version of it?
changing the season
At any rate, we've been on summer hiatus, enjoying the heat, water parks and pools, the zoo, and the air conditioning of the museum.
Oh. And having a baby
The time has come to start once again.
While most families probably start in September, there are so many other activities starting back up that month (ie: Bible Study, Cubbies, etc) that we decide to take that month off, too.
Oh the joys of flying by the seat of your pants...
Last year we really focused on letters for the most part. Recognition and writing.
This year, we're focusing on reading/phonics, math, clockwork (which she's shown an interest in), and geography (again, she has a specific interest).
The cool thing about our homeschool is that I'm not doing it alone. The husband definitely helps, but also, our friend Adrienne meets with Esther a few times a week. This year, she'll be focusing mostly on phonics and math.

We're also doing more things with Abigail, who is two and a half. She's quite interested in the things that Esther does. I think it will be fun to do things with the two of them at the same time!
Writing our 'J's
It's interesting, as we travel along on our journey of homeschooling, my thoughts and ideas morph into things I never thought I'd be saying or doing. When we started homeschooling, I legitimately thought we needed to be in a specific 'class' for an allotted time period every day. And we did that for a small amount of time. As Esther got older, I found it more difficult to fill our school time. Esther was getting more and more frustrated with being stuck in one room for hours. I started doing more research (hello overwhelming!) and found so many different things that have shaped what school is to us today:
working together
I like the Montessori philosophy. I first stumbled upon this teaching style on the blog of my friend Melissa, Vibrant Wanderings. Melissa is a former Montessori teacher and implements a lot of those ideas in her everyday home. We've started a journey of the same ideas in our home and school room. I like the concepts of children learning through play and imagination. I like that it offers more child guided learning and that Esther can go at her own pace. That said, I would like her to have a little more structure. So the lesson plans will continue, but also be a little more lax. She'll be able to complete them at will, using our work box method that I've tweaked a bit from Erica at Confessions of a Homeschooler. I also like the unschooling philosophy (I know, I don't think I'm allowed to since we 'do' school). But I like this philosophy for different reasons. Again, we are going to continue to have specific lessons, but I want to always be mindful of the different ways that children can learn. Sort of the-world-is-your-school sort of thinking. I want them to understand that they can ask questions about anything, anywhere and we can talk it out. Or do some research together. Or whatever they are wanting to try out. I really enjoy this post by Lauren at Hobo Mama featured at Natural Parents Network on why they unschool. It's what really got me into this method.
lacing beads
So all of this is to say that I've learned you don't have to pick one. Schooling doesn't have to be an all or nothing decision. And I'm not saying I won't change my mind at this point. Next year could look different and who knows what will go on years down the road. But I'm happy we've settled into a grove for the current school year!

Check out Adrienne's post on their homeschooling plan now that Burkley is super interested!

What does your school look like? Why does this work for your family?

1 comment:

  1. Love those pics! And how your plan has changed over time- way to be flexible, Mama!