Thursday, 11 July 2013
The H word
Whelp. I’m coming out. Coming clean…we’re homeschooling.
Technically I suppose we’ve been doing it since June, but now we’re getting serious about it. By serious I mean we bought curriculum and have somewhat of a plan.
Some regular time carved out for school work with the curriculum.
You guys. It’s not a detailed plan. That’s so not like me. What up with that?
Here’s what’s up:
I’ve been reading (surprise, surprise) and I’m so drawn to the whole philosophy of unschooling. Letting kids just be kids and explore their own interests while providing them with a rich environment for learning, discovery and exploration. Two great posts about it here and here. There’s a lot of research out there proving that formal education really isn’t necessary until age 7 and how kids will eventually learn what they need to learn when they’re ready – like walking or talking when they’re babies.
But I’m a trained teacher. With my degree I ran an academic support center and taught a study skills class at a university with colleagues who believe with all their hearts that formal education and a degree is the way to go – even when it comes to being a missionary or pastor. It feels like I’m betraying everything I’ve ever known and believed in by thinking about unschooling. It’s like it’s a dirty word only lazy people use when they decide to homeschool. I’m learning it’s not, but it still feels wrong to admit I like it.
In my searching (both my soul and the interwebs) I’ve also fallen in love with the Charlotte Mason philosophy. Her methods have beautiful literature and “living books” at its core and learning comes from discussions around the stories. History, grammar, art and all the subjects easily stem from the stories read in the home. This way of schooling also puts high priority on beauty – appreciating it in nature and making your work beautiful. I feel like I could easily pull lessons from classic literature and make a “syllabus” for the school year thanks to pinterest and tons of free classics available online.
But we’re moving in less than three months and traveling to see family on both sides of the country before we go. Our life doesn’t really lend itself to following a structured syllabus or plan for a long period of time. Also, we’re still debating whether or not to send Mariah to Italian school at some point, so making a long term plan just doesn’t seem worth it.
So here’s what we’re up to each day (at least for the month of August):
Reading: Reading tons of books (duh)
Writing: Writing with Ease Level 1
Copywork (Handwriting/Grammar): Scripture verses, poems, selections from reading passages
Art: All the time + Illustrations with daily narrations (examples on this lovely blog)
History: Story of the World Volume 1 (we listen during lunch and then discuss it and look at maps while we eat – it’s made lunchtime so much better)
PE: we play outside + gymnastics
Lana’s doing abcmouse.com and I pull out random things for her to do.
We’re doing maybe an hour and a half to two hours of “school work” each day, and then we just learn through play. Again, it feels wrong. But then again it’s fantastic. I’m not worried about Mariah being behind, and Lana’s only 3 so I’m letting her stay little.
So there it is…the plan. Or kind of plan. It’s stretching the teacher and long term planner in me for sure. So I’m looking at it this way….we’ll try it out for awhile and see how it goes. I’m not a failure if it doesn’t work out or if we decide to change down the road. It is what is for now.
I’m looking forward to this little adventure within our big adventure.