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.

Rhythm
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!