What a joy it has been to homeschool my oldest daughter, Curly, through K5 this year. We know it's a privilege to homeschool and are so thankful for the freedom. At the beginning of the year I wrote a post on my thoughts on Homeschooling and what it MIGHT look like for our family. Looking back at that post I can see that the majority of those things are still important to us. We haven't done the pledge in a while...but the girls know it and that was the more important part to me. We still try to keep to a schedule and school in the morning. By afternoon we are all more distracted and tired. This will look different from week to week depending on the needs of our family but generally speaking, we homeschool in the mornings.
We still have "recess" and snack breaks and the occasional sick day. And, as you will see in the photo collage near the bottom of the post you will also see that we have incorporated Field Trips & an annual Field Day.
So, what's new for this fall as we start First Grade? Well, I realized that as we schooled I wanted the type of education to be customized for my each of my girls' specific learning style...we already had structure, as much as a K5er needs which is little...but I also wanted the flexibility to divert our "curriculum" to learn a topic that she is interested in (ie: dinosaurs, vikings, functions of the body). I wanted to buy curriculum that fed curiosity and independent thinking instead of just listed a bunch of facts.
Through observing Curly's learning style, the experience of other HS mothers (including my sister), and learning more about Charlotte Mason I am very excited about First Grade. I wanted more creativity, less worksheets, more hands-on/tactile, less "schooly" look in our home...I wanted to see more of Curly's amazing imagination and natural bend toward learning. I didn't just want to do school at home, I wanted her education to be completely customized and try to avoid the pitfalls I felt that I fell into in traditional school.
For K5 I did a mish-mash of curricula for reading, math, and handwriting (the core subjects). I was very pleased with having all these options and being able to find what style works for her in different subjects.
For First Grade there are more "required" subjects like history, language arts, science, geography...I have definitely pulled from a variety of curricula. I've explored soooo many websites and curricula and gone to an amazing HS conference (Teach them Diligently) with my Big Sis...I've prayed over my choices for Curly and asked her input, too. Of course, anything Curly and I do together incorporates Moe even though she'll only be 3 this fall. She won't be doing anything formal but tagging along on all the read alouds and adventures we will have...and play with LOTS of hands-on toys that we have.
With all of this in mind we have chosen to move toward more living books and less text books...lots of reading aloud...very hands-on 1st grade learning to read program & also spelling...a nature journal and handwriting book with beautiful phrases that she can learn from...age appropriate notebooking...lapbooking...combination worksheet & hands-on Math.
I really began learning some of the core education principles from Charlotte Mason and while I'm not 100% a Charlotte Mason homeschooler, the spirit of what she believed in and stood for are very much a part of our homeschool environment. I honestly wish I'd been able to be schooled this way!!! We also incorporate some classical concepts and some traditional. But I love Charlotte Mason's lean on living books most and how school doesn't have to just be worksheets and textbooks. ;-)
Yes, our "school room", often affectionately called the "reading room", is simply filled with books and hands-on items for creativity! I want to cultivate a love for learning in our girls.
Even with this less traditional style...we will still have a curriculum guide and schedule and plans for our year. And, as any HS year, hope that the curriculum is the right fit...if it's not, we will find what is. We also are a family who encourages goal-setting. Both the girls have set several goals already for our first semester, yep, even Moe as a pre-preschooler.
Well, this post has gotten longer than my usual posts. I don't often post about my journey through Homeschooling, but every so often I will update on our progress. I am so very passionate about it and it's just one of my favorite things in the world!
Are you a homeschooler? What do you love about the freedom of homeschooling? I'd love to hear.