Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Relaxed Homeschooling: A Month in the Life

As we really get into homeschooling, I am learning to adjust my "method" and the way we do things.  I really think our method is best described as Relaxed Homeschooling with a Charlotte Mason Influence.  What does that mean for our family?

Relaxed Homeschooling
 

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Relaxed Homeschooling

For our family, Relaxed Homeschooling means we have some structure, but I don't have a strict schedule.  I have an outline and goals in my head each week, but I don't worry about the order of our subjects, and I am okay if we don't finish them.  It means I do not worry about which curriculum is touted to be "the best " or "the most fun" or whatever special reason it's supposedly a must-have, but I choose curriculum (or living books) based on how well my kids connect with it.  Yes, it needs to be educational, but it also needs to be meaningful.  It means if we don't get to our math lesson today because my 7 year old wanted to spend extra time on reading, I am okay with that.  It means if we don't get to our regular read-aloud for the day because the boys were asking for "just one more" poem, I am okay with that.  It means that if my sons asks to use his microscope instead of doing my planned science lesson, I am certainly okay with that.  It is about striking a balance between my long-term goals and his needs and interests.  

Charlotte Mason Influence

The Charlotte Mason Influence means that, for our family, I identify with many of her end goals, and I use many of her individual methods to meet our personal goals and needs, but I am not a slave to the method itself.  I choose living books for our studies whenever possible.  They add depth and emotion and my children connect with the material.  We love nature study and it has been our primary form of science during the early years.  My children ask for poetry, because I've incorporated it slowly and casually. I encourage art and music and I want my children to appreciate the talents of others as well as develop their own.  I try to instill good habits in my children. 



Elliott, 1st Grade

Elliott had a good month.  We have been doing "formal" science a few times a week with our Science4us.com review, and he likes it.  The hands-on activities are always a hit. To go along with the study of energy (and his new interest in electricity) we're reading Benjamin Franklin by Ingri & Edgar D'Aulaire.  While looking up Paddle-to-the-Sea by Holling C. Holling on Google Earth, we got sidetracked, after Elliott asked me to find our house.  So I showed him the roads we take to get home, and we "drove" to our house and to the houses of nearby family members.  He really enjoyed it!  We always do a lot of mental math and living math, but he still likes Math U See, and he's breezing through it.  Dressing up helps, of course!

Relaxed Homeschooling


He has also been learning even more about calenders.  He really taught himself to read a calendar, because I don't use a special teaching calendar.  When he asks a question like "how many more days until . . . " we just go to a real calender to find out.  He's also been learning calendar related words in Latin at co-op, though it would probably help if I remembered to reinforce his work at home.  Also at co-op, I know he covered architecture and warm/cool colors in art, forgot to take his glasses off one week during dodge ball in gym (ask me how I know), and learned about Groundhog's Day in Five in a Row. 

Relaxed Homeschooling


I will also find him on the iPad during free time, playing educational apps.

Relaxed Homeschooling

Elliott has always preferred math and sciences over anything that falls under the umbrella of language arts. He can read, he just needs a little encouragement to work at it and enjoy it. Finding readers that he will enjoy has been the hard part for me. If you have suggestions for a 7 year old boy, they would be much appreciated!

Relaxed Homeschooling

Emory, Pre-K

We haven't really been doing much in the way of formal work for Emory.  He likes to follow along with Elliott's Science4Us videos and Reading Eggs right now.  He absolutely loves co-op.  He brings home a lot of artsy/crafty type projects and he carries them around all the time.



He has loved to draw for awhile now, and may immerse himself for an hour or more at a time on one picture. 
Relaxed Homeschooling


Sometimes he plays by himself.  Or wraps up warm and cozy in a cocoon.
Relaxed Homeschooling

Other times, he gets a little rambunctious during Elliott's activities when they are too advanced for him, and needs some redirection.  I usually offer him some counting bears, pattern blocks or other interesting item he doesn't see often and we will play together.  This day he was playing with the balance scale and counting bears after Elliott did a lesson on science tools and measurements.

Relaxed Homeschooling

I'm also finding that it helps to walk to the bookshelf that houses our picture books, and choose a book or two to read together.  I think sometimes his "rambunctious" days come from the fact that I'm spending a lot more one-on-one with Elliott, and not nearly as much with him as I did with Elliott at that age.  I'm thinking we need to go back to a more literature-based approach all around so that he can be more involved in the process. 
Relaxed Homeschooling



Eleanor, Just Livin' the Baby Life

This little girl is full of energy and joy and is just a delight.  Even if she is a daredevil. 
 Relaxed Homeschooling
 

As you can see, she gets a lot of attention during the day, and she adores her big brothers!






Oh, and if you missed the announcement recently, she is already a year old.  Sigh.



Family Time

A lot of our "school" is just natural learning that takes place during free time and family activities.

There's always a LEGO creation or two floating around the house.  This was some kind of teleporter or something that Emory created.  Notice he tried to be symmetrical. 


If you can't tell, Elliott is excited for the new LEGO movie that is coming out.  So are all of his LEGO people, don't ya know!?  They are in the theater.


This was some kind of "game" that Emory invented.  Playing games with him, especially ones he makes up, makes me want to poke myself in the eye.  I do it because I love him.

Relaxed Homeschooling


Whenever the weather is suitable, we are OUTSIDE enjoying fresh air and the glories of nature! Emory asked for a baggie so he could collect nature.   

Relaxed Homeschooling

Then there have been days this month where the snow falls fast and furious, and the wind chills make the already single digit or negative temperatures unbearable, so we enjoy nature from the window.  The weather this past month has been wacky, to say the least. 



We play a lot of board games as a family.  One morning Daddy was able to stay home later in the morning with us, and we played Disney Pictionary before he left for work.  This was Emory's Goofy drawing.


Then sometimes we play games at night before bed.  Elliott loves Battleship. 

Relaxed Homeschooling


We went to our first KidsArt class at the art museum this month.  During the art hour they discussed Martin Luther King Jr's "I Have a Dream" speech and asked the children to draw something they dream about.  The hour with the local performing arts center was a lot of 'ice breaker' type movement exercises.  It's a weekly class, but we're thinking once a month will be enough for us right now.

Relaxed Homeschooling



Then there is a lot of cooperative play in our house. 

"Emory, you're supposed to say 'Today on the show we're cooking....' because that's what they say when they teach you how to cook something new."  Obviously, our habit of watching DIY and cooking shows has rubbed off on our kids.
Relaxed Homeschooling








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4 comments:

  1. I just wrote a big old long comment and it didn't work! Gah!

    Love what you guys are doing.

    For book recommendations, my 7 year old LOVES all of the Mercy Watson books and reads them over and over again. He also has just gotten into the "My Weirder School" series. They look ridiculous, but he is devouring them. :)

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  2. I love your approach to homeschooling! (And your baby is just too cute!)

    ReplyDelete