Monday, 4 August 2014

Our Homeschooling Overview (ages 4&6)

August has arrived and the stores are already pushing back-to-school and Halloween!  Our school year will begin at the beginning of September so planing ahead is necessary.  I had our year all planed out toward the beginning of the summer but now is the time to review our plans and fine tune them. 

Our Style
It is always difficult to describe our exact homeschool style.  We are mostly Waldorf along with child directed projects.  I know that in the wonderful world of Waldorf education TJ would still have another year of kindy before starting grade one at age seven.  We'd like to ensure the boys are following along with their local peers just incase our situation changes and school enters the picture.  So this year we will be doing kindegarten and our version of grade 1.  You can read a but more about our style here.

Curriculums we'll be using
Our main lessons will be a combination of stories and ideas from Waldorf Essentials and Earth Schooling.  We also have Learning the Alphabet with Fairy Mail and The Gnomes Gemstones math stories to supplement.  I've looked over the Ontario Curriculum Expectations to see what else the public school kids are doing this year.  We'll be adding in anything we may have missed towards the end of the year.

For some time now I have been interested in child directed learning, but wasn't sure how to bring that in.  I was recently introduced to Project-Based Homeschooling.  It is exactly what I was looking for.  For our family I'll be doing Waldorf main lessons in the morning and the boys will have plenty of time for their own projects the rest of the day.

MJ is not to be forgotten.  He'll often be tagging along doing the same activities and TJ at his own pace.  I am also using Seasons of Joy for much of our circle time.  The themes and ideas from School for all Seasons along with Earth Schooling.  We have already done the first year of Waldorf Essentials kindegarten twice now so we are giving that a rest for this year and will pick it up again next year when MJ is five.

Oh we do also have a few workbooks as a back up.  I've got  some Brain Quest  workbooks and the Complete Canadian Curriculum Grade 1, along with a few others to pull from if we want.

I'm not going to post our whole week here but we are using unit blocks for main lessons.  This means we'll be focusing on the alphabet for a few weeks, then math, nature etc... Each day will have morning meeting, walk, main lesson, play time, meals, stories, quiet time, and project time.  Throughout the week or year we will also have time for baking, painting, handiworks, modelling, games and music.  Sounds like a lot all in one place but I've spread it nicely throughout the week/year.  I really want to keep a slow pace so we aren't stressed or cramming too much in.

Learning Spaces
Learning happens all the time, everywhere.  That being said we do have some special places in our home. At our house we very often play musical rooms.  Visitors always need a tour each time they come to re-orient themselves.  At the moment we have a playroom for toys and a room for school/projects.  The boys are very excited about their new learning space.  There a book case and cart for craft supplies.  The shared desk has drawers for paper and stationary items.  On the table are colouring things and a space for their work.  They each have a bulletin board and magnetic strips for hanging art next to the display shelves.  

Outside of the home
As we are no longer running a home daycare we do have more flexibility with our time, but there will be fewer children in the home to interact with.  We want to make sure the boys have opportunity to gather with other children on a regular basis so they have opportunity to make friends.  We don't live in a subdivision so we have some outside activities planned.  The boys will be going to swimming and gym time at the YMCA.  They will also be going to church and AWANAS (mid week church program).  There are lots of homeschool field trips and events in our area that we will explore.  We will also be getting together regularly with my sister and her children.

I am so excited about this up coming year.  I know I'll be learning a lot along with my boys.  We look forward to sharing our adventures with you!

Saturday, 2 August 2014

TJ's Pontoon Boat Blog Post

My project started when I wanted to build a boat.  I was just floating McDonald's boxes in a garbage can full of water and then I wanted to make a boat.  First I tried doing a plastic container and then I thought it was too tippy. 

Then I thought of a wider base.   I looked up boat bases (you can find out more about hull designs here).  I wanted to make first a flat hull and then mommy told me those kind of bases are meant mostly for sitting around or going slow.  So then I found out about another one that you can put a motor on.  It has two v-shaped things on the side so water can run through the middle.  I heard that a pontoon boat is really steady so I picked that.

 These pictures show what happened with my boat.  First I tested it and I found out it leaned on the sides.  I moved around my passengers it made it level out.  I was going to add a bag of weights, but found just moving the passengers worked too.

Here is my final design and a picture of a real pontoon boat.  I was really interested in who invented pontoon boats.  Mommy read my his story which you can find here.

I kinda had fun with this project.  I look forward to doing other projects.

Friday, 1 August 2014

What Happened to the Alphabet posts???

What happened to the Alphabet Adventure posts???  

SUMMER happened

We have been to a few local beaches.  The boys have discovered boating at the cottage.  We get together regularly with my sister and the cousins are having so much fun.  Our gardens and veggies are a source of food, work and joy!

Playgrounds are frequented often.  TJ has really become a little monkey.  More fun with cousins as we discovered bubble snakes.  The boys have the time to explore their own interests.  Here they are making potions and concoctions with all sorts of kitchen items.  Imaginations have run wild as the boys pretend to fish among other adventures they've invented.

 We walk often in the forest, to the park and in the nature reserves.  Often times some stuffed friends will be join us.  We visit grandparents and love building connections.  The boys just loved their visit to Story Book Park in Owen Sound.  MJ has be exploring "floating and sinking" along with just playing with the hose.  TJ has built a forrest stick cottage and invites us over for parties that he hosts.

My sister and I put on a mini carnival for the kids complete with face painting, play dough, puppet show and make your own pinata!!  W also have one daycare child with us all summer.  We've had this little girl for two years now and the boys just love having her over each day.  We go to the library each week, read lots, play hard and are having a great time.  Oh yea, we also got the new truck labeled!!

What about school??  Well at first I was stressed that we weren't doing our regular school work as I had planed it.  But then I realized that we are doing each of the letters again in the fall.  Summer is a time for being outdoors, using the imagination and connecting with others.  We are going to use the rest of our summer for messy crafts (I can't stand to do them inside in the winter), along with some wood working.  We are going to spend as much time as we can with our friends and cousins before school starts.  We are also learning all the time!  So for us, school never ends....

Stay tuned for TJ's first blog post ever!  He took on his own little project to build a toy boat, it led him to learn more about pontoon boats and he wants to share his discoveries with you.