Sunday, October 6, 2013

Home Schooling

Our adventure has officially begun! The past few months have been wild! I renovated 3 large rooms this summer, helped lay a new patio, I was working at least 40+ hours a week for most of the month of July and a lot of August. It was a crazy summer. And then we moved! Lots of life changes happening. You can read more about our before and afters over at our family blog if you're into that sort of thing :)

The past...2 years... I have loosely followed some online guides (Wee Folk Art has some awesome unit studies and we enjoyed some of the fall and winter ones the last 2 years). A relative gave me her Sonlight Core A that she had used with her kids. So for the past two years we've chipped away at the read alouds and really enjoyed the Science books and the Usborn stuff that came with that (seriously, it is an awesome resource! I cannot say what a blessing it was to be able to use it!). But honestly, I am not big on pushing "school"... It just didn't feel like "it was time" and so we just did what we felt like when it felt right and it was fun.

 I liked a lot of the stuff in Sonlight and I was really hoping to use it "for real" when the time came. But the way the actual lesson plans were set up was a bit too intense for me. When I see a check list (or something that resembles it) I have a hard time NOT checking things off of it! So we never really dove in "whole hog". After all my kids are still really young (5, 4, and 1.5) and like I said, it didn't feel like it was time.

But for the last 9 months my kids have been BORED.  I have been bored. I have really struggled to come up with stuff to do with them.

So last spring I started researching curriculum options. I always thought I'd lean more to the "unschool not so formal" side of things. But it was not working for us any more.

I looked into Ambleside ...Easy Peasey All-in-One home school... I checked out Waldorf options...Five In A Row really appealed....Online options...I checked out local Charter Schools (as in, send the kids there to learn out of home options). I really prayed about this home schooling thing. Honestly, 3 small children 50+ hours a lone a week? For years on end? Am I CRAZY!?!? But I knew deep down it was what was best for Roo. She is an introvert. Being in a class day in and day out and away from home 10 hours a day. She would be stressed and miserable. And I really didn't want her spending so much of her childhood away from me- at least not when she's so small.

All last winter I researched all my options. And it was really overwhelming! Have you ever googled "home school curriculum"? Don't.

Options options options! Every thing required pulling stuff together yourself. Been there, done that, not my cup of tea! I lose focus too quickly. I get tired of trying to stick to some thing if it required leaving the house to gather and prepare. I needed some thing packaged. Some thing very "open and go". I came across Heart of Dakota and after a few months pouring over all the options I knew what we needed and dove in.  HOD is a really neat curriculum but digging through it all was overwhelming at first! The curriculum is structured but gives several options of what you can do with in the guide and it took me a lot of time to decide what the girls would do best with! But once you decide? Its' all RIGHT there, every thing you need to follow the weekly Unit Studies...
All of our curriculum on one small shelf! Our read alouds, phonics, math, science, Bible, History, Hand writing and Teachers guide for two "students"!

We're heading into our 4th week of officially home schooling, and I LOVE it. I mean it! I am shocked to say that I am enjoying it. We get up every morning, eat breakfast, get dressed, do our chores and then head down to the school table to do our school for the day.

 I open up our teachers guide (it looks like THIS), I hand the girls scissors, paper, glue and crayons and ask them to make some thing- whatever they want! Some days I have a planned activity and they work on that with little help from me (it may not turn out exactly how I had explained but its' about process not product.)...While they work I look at our first box of the day (usually Bible and History) and I read aloud and they listen with busy hands and ask questions while I read. Then we do our read aloud for the morning and the activity that follows (writing a letter to Reddy Fox, drawing a picture of some thing that happened in the story that day, acting out a new word and what it means).

For history we draw a picture in our Book of Time (time line binder) and we look at how the story of time is unfolding from creation to present (we are at King David right now).  After History we do Science. We do a Science experiment a few days a week and we have been going on Nature hikes and studying trees, bark, shrubs, and leaves. After Science we do our math lesson (we are using Rod and Staff Arithmetic Grade 1 for Roo, and Friendly is following along and doing busy work pages from a Spectrum Kindergarten work book as she likes...We also do a lot of tannegrams and hands on manipulatives exploring math concepts).

For Phonics we are working through "The Reading Lesson" which Roo is really enjoying.

School can be done in 30 minutes but generally it eats up our entire morning which is WONDERFUL!!! The baby likes school too. She knows the minute her sisters are set up with a craft she gets to snuggle and nurse while I do our read alouds. She enjoys the science experiments and scribbling on her dry erase ABC board or coloring on the chalk board.
I am really enjoying this adventure! And it helps to know I CHOOSE it. I am not doing this because I don't have any other options...There might be "easier" options, but this is what I chose.  I can make different choices whenever I like. But right now, this is right for us...And knowing that and having that is really precious.

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for posting this. :) I saw all of the adjectives in your GCM siggy, then noticed that you had a blog... and I had to click. :D

    I've really liked a combo of Sonlight / Charlotte Mason / classical since I started researching the different home education philosophies my senior year... and I recently started researching unschooling a lot more (thanks to The Libertarian Homeschooler's page on FB)... and I like a lot of what I see there... but I'm not sure how well it would jive with NY's laws... anyway. Point being, I feel like we have something in common. I'm really leaning toward utilizing a curriculum as a "starting point" but being open to their passions ... if that makes any sense. *headscratch* I feel like that means like I won't be a "real" unschooler OR a "real" homeschooler, but then... what matters is what works for my family, not what labels are applied, right? :D

    ...and I have time to figure it out, considering my older son is not yet three years old. :P Guess it's been at the forefront of my mind since he's transitioning from Early Intervention services to our local school district's special needs preschool program next month. Which is a whole 'nother basket of intrigue... if he's receiving speech and occupational therapies, I must not be letting him develop at his own pace, so then I'm REALLY not an unschooler. :P Or something.

    Anyway. Just wanted to comment ... let you know that you have a reader... and thank you for posting. :) You spoke to my heart today!