Wednesday, October 2, 2013
My educational philosophy is a buffet that offers a little of everything - un-schooling, literature-based, classical, Waldorf, Montessori, and probably others too. I had a love-hate relationship with school, and I really want to pass on the good parts of my educational experience and withhold the negatives for my own children, while morphing my curriculum to meet each child's individual interests and learning styles at their level. I'd like to skip the boredom, repetition, compartmentalization, in-applicability, and lack of self-direction that can be present in compulsory education. And I want my children to love to learn. I want to foster creativity, independence, self-motivation, exploration and a passion for life and learning. I want them to feel challenged and for them to feel like there is always room for growth and expansion.
And I want my children to be happy, care-free, and enjoy life, while still being prepared for whatever dreams they want to pursue.
As an over-thinking, introspective, perfectionist, I have spent a great deal of time thinking and searching for how to practically turn my vision into every-day life. After obsessing about homeschooling a little too much, I finally found peace when I started following my children's lead: looking at what they love to do and what they get excited about.
And as far as being prepared for life beyond childhood, I realized that if you can read, write, and reason well, then you can be successful at anything. So, I think that sums up a lot of the theoretical that I have been thinking about. Here are the specifics...
Sonlight makes up the core of our curriculum. It is a literature based curriculum that focuses on reading classic literature. By reading books, we are covering history, reading, and science. Right now, we are finishing up P 3/4 and are starting P 4/5 While I love that Sonlight does all the planning and scheduling for me, and I can fall back on it if I need to, we are currently moving at our own pace and I am letting the boys direct what and how much we read. (Hence, why we are finishing up our year of curriculum after only two months...they really love reading)
We ARE editing some of the curriculum. I'm not using a few books, and I'm adding to it in areas that are lacking. For instance, Dmitri is very interested in the earth, dirt, bugs, worms, etc. So I have added 6-8 books on those specific topics. (Like this cool Beetle Book!)
We use math every day. When they help me bake, when we count, when we look at the clock or read the page numbers of our books. They like to play with money. Right now, I feel that is more than enough.
When Dmitri has learned to write his numbers, we plan to start Life of Fred. I wish I had this when I was in school! (Maybe I wouldn't have hated math.) It makes math applicable and humorous, and avoids laborious homework assignments. Seriously, I am in love with this math curriculum.
Dmitri has a Handwriting Without Tears workbook that he works in when he wants to. He enjoys using it, as if it were a coloring book.
Sonlight is not very hands-on/project oriented, and this is something that my boys and I really enjoy. So we add in fun activities that we come up with together. Last week, we traced and cut out the boys bodies, and then taped on all of the body parts (which I had printed) that we had learned about in the human body book that we had just read.
I try to find field trips that are related to something we are learning about. A few weeks ago, we drove to Atlanta for a Peter Rabbit Puppet show (we just finished reading "The Complete Tales of Peter Rabbit"). They loved it, and so did I!
The boys go to an open gymnastics once a week, which they absolutely love. Once they outgrow this weekly event, I think they will want to take gymnastics classes. It's such a great way for them to get out some energy and test their physical limits.
In the Spring, we plan to do a wilderness program once a week (where they hike in the woods for 3 hours). I adore the idea of a forest kindergarten, and I think this will be a great addition to our week.
All of that say, homeschooling is really just laid back and fun as I follow my littles' natural interests and pace, and we are learning so much. And there is just enough structure that this planner doesn't go crazy.