Friday, January 21, 2011
~ Homeschooling ~
This post was written for Fertile Imagination @ http://community.fertilityflower.com/ where I have monthly column. Feel free to visit me over there, too! Wow, a new year! What I would like to know is where did last year go? Did everyone else’s year go as fast as mine did? We have had a very fun, relaxing year of home schooling thus far. We have incorporated quite a bit of unschooling, keeping a relaxed atmosphere encouraging learning when the kids are most open to experiencing new things. We have utilized some teaching textbooks from The Critical Thinking Company. The boys really like them and it is a great way for them to learn to get a few things done on their own which leaves me with a little wiggle room to knead bread or change the laundry around. We did lap books this year for science and WHAT A BLAST! Putting them together was a huge project all on its own and now they are busy filling them in. It amazes me how much more they retain verses just reading it from a textbook. Last year we didn’t do a lot in the arts and crafts department. It was a bit of a trick to get a project done from start to finish with little helpers around to suck on glue sticks and sprinkle “pixie dust” around the house. For this years projects I opted for spending a little bit more money and buy craft kits that incorporate other subjects. Mosaic art that has a math base, paint by number for learning numbers and following directions, and snowflakes that included a science lesson. Our big highlight for this year will be the birth of a new baby calf. It doesn’t get anymore hands on than that. We have the opportunity to see pictures of a friends new calf and the placenta so the kids have a bit of knowledge in the birth department, but it will be really cool to experience it in real life. I am going to try and get it on video, hopefully she won’t deliver in the middle of the night when no one is around. We are already working on a seed order for this year. The kids are each getting a small square of dirt to work with. They will get to choose what they want to grow and will tend to it. We are going to keep a journal for measuring growth, weather conditions, and soil temps. Depending on what they grow and how much they plant they will have the option to come to the farmers market with me and sell what they produce. I realize that home schooling isn’t for everyone. The biggest thing people ask me is how do they socialize. Without going into a great deal of detail, we have ample opportunity to socialize with people of all age ranges, not just the other 30 kids of the same age in their classroom. My kids are comfortable playing and talking with someone to is 2 to 92. I feel that we get a much more rounded education with home schooling/unschooling than we would get in the public education system. It works especially well with our second son who is dealing with vaccine injury. It has aloud us to continually utilize what works and drop what doesn’t. The freedom teachers don’t have, to customize a learning plan for one student who is very bright and intelligent, but happens to learn differently than most kids. I bought him reading material at the fifth grade level for Christmas (he’s 7) and he is halfway through what I bought already. We are planning on mixing it up with a few more field trips (we started our school year with a field trip/family vacation to the Black Hills of South Dakota) and plan on having a ton of fun learning as a family.