Hope everyone, who celebrated, had a good Thanksgiving.
I have noticed some new followers on my blog lately (hello, waving from the cyber world). This post has been swirling around in my mind for awhile but I didn’t know exactly when I would have the time to write it. We have been knee deep in learning and time is something I seem to never have enough of.
So, how exactly do we homeschool?
I am not a very big fan of labels. Sure, I have carried a few in my days but just as soon as I am slapped with one it no longer applies to me. In my opinion, labels don’t allow any room for growth. I have however made peace with the word homeschool, because that is what we do. 🙂
School at home, Waldorf, Charlotte Mason, Unschool, Radical Unschool, yes I know them all. Some have hindered, some have really helped us along our journey. However, none of them have been a waste of time. It was during this time I really, really got to know my children, and myself. Knowing who you are and how you learn is a very important discovery to make on this homeschooling journey.
Sky, 14 is a visually learner. I could label her right brained, on the spectrum, dyslexic but it doesn’t change how she *needs* to learn. This is why we watch lots of movies and documentaries. She can watch a movie once and remember the smallest details many years later including dates. She loves video games and books with pictures like comics, graphic novels, magazines and manga.
Do I wish I could snap pictures of her reading the Harry Potter series or Lord of the Rings? Yes, but she loves the movies and watching them with subtitles as to not miss a thing.
“But, at some time she will need to read or do things she doesn’t like.” Yes, which brings me to my other point.
As her parent and partner, even though there are things about the world I disagree with she will still need to know them in order to live in it. The standards were set long before I became an adult. However, being that we homeschool there are *many* ways, especially now, to learn these things. Like the saying goes, “The world is our classroom”. Today our knowledge is not just limited to books. Why I, myself much rather use an outline of what needs to be learned by 12th grade than a curriculum. So yes, little by little I am adding in more and more independent work focusing on those skills.
Little Sis, 9 learns more like me and if she wanted would do well in school. She is a very independent learner and has always wanted to do things herself. She is what I would call an “old soul”, again just like her mama. (Yeah, where some thought me weird reading Stephen King in 7th grade I was really dying for more advanced materials. I was labeled “slow” in school because of being very introverted and didn’t like reading aloud in class, not because I actually was.) You explain something to her and she just gets it like she has always known it. She prefers books, worksheets, board games, puzzles or “hands on” type work. I could label her left brain, gifted, advanced but again it would not change how she *needs* to learn.
Some day there probably will be photos of her reading Lord of the Rings, just like her biggest sister, soon 25, did in 7th grade. Does this make one child better than the other? Unfortunately, one will need to work harder to make it in this life than the other. But no, that does not make one better.
As her parent and partner I need to make sure I am not holding her back. This child very well may be taking college courses instead of high school. I also need to make sure she is able to do things outside of her head like sew, cook and enjoy her childhood. There is more to homeschooling than academics.
So, this is how we homeschool. Magic Tree House and chess for Little Sis. Movies and video for Sky and together what I think works as a pretty well rounded education. 🙂 Will there be gaps? Yes, just like I have gaps, and probably you do too, but both children understand how to learn and how *they* learn best.
From the study: This week found us again with lots to watch but I think I will start first with what the girls did while on break.
Miss Sky made felt hand puppets and Little Sis purchased a new game for her birthday she loves.
Language Arts: Sticking with our lessons from the middle east and with a holiday quickly approaching we listened to Old Testament Bible stories.
Sky is reading the Jesse Tree aloud and Little Sis read The Jewel Kingdom book 4, The Diamond Princess Saves the Day.
Their word of the week was censorship and writing prompt was What Does Christmas Mean To You Today? and their Christmas wish list.
Mathematics: We are reviewing everything they have learned this past year, the holidays are not a good time for us to learn new math skills plus December is the end of the year for us. We homeschool year round from January through December. December starts Christmas school and we have a lighter load for summer school but we are *always* learning, even when on breaks.
For both girls we watched videos from Kahn Academy to see if I might have missed some step or something they may find helpful and they did worksheets from Math is fun.com. They also continued playing multiplication math war and other games as well as breaking out the Christmas puzzles.
Social Studies, American History: Adding to our Thanksgiving lessons I printed out a female pilgrim paper doll and the girls labeled her clothes and added it to their timeline. We also listened to the story of Pocahontas from Storynory.
If you didn’t already know each year we pick a television series to watch and discuss as a family and this year it was Family Ties for the 80s. However, we only could take a couple of seasons as it is just too darn cheesy for us. Man, have I forgotten how after school special the 80s were. Well anyway we are now watching WKRP in Cincinnati. Yes, it is still cheesy but it has Johnny Fever and Venus Flytrap, they had such great swag. 🙂 One of the episodes this week talked about Christianity and music censorship.This lead us perfectly into our Old Testament lessons as well as much, much more.
World History: We watched the History Channel’s Bible miniseries episodes 1-5, Jesus comes up later in history. Though more bloody than what I expected, after all history is not all sunshine and lollypops now is it, I like the set up of this series. I do think it may not be suitable for young children though. If wanting to take these stories farther the Bible Collection movies are pretty good too. We however must be moving on.
We also watched the movies The Nativity Story, Small One, (I love this Disney classic), The Little Drummer Boy, and DreamWorks movie Joseph and the Coat of Many Colors.
Home Ec. : The girls picked peanut butter fudge as the first Christmas treat to make.
The Arts: We looked at and discussed both Rembrandt and Peter Paul Rubens paintings of Samson and Delilah.
P.E. Walk Away the Pounds, 3 miles. Starting in January Sky will use 1 pound weights and I have worked my way up to 4 miles, oh yeah and feeling great.
Peace for the journey.