A language rich unschooling home

Okay I'll just come right out and say it.  Language Arts (reading, writing and all that) was not my best or favourite subject in school. In fact I was/am a terrible speller.  I was a struggling reader and never wrote anything worth reading.  I never could pull deep meaning from a novel and honestly didn't see the point.  So now I homeschool my boys and I want them to love literature.  But how?

Reading buddies

Our family is an unschooling family.  This means that my boys learn about what they are interested in.  We do not follow any curriculum (although we have used curricula and workbooks to help us when we wanted). Learning flows naturally around here and we do not separate life from 'school'.  We are learning and living all the time.

My two older boys learned to read rather naturally.  We have lots of books in the house, read to them all the time, visit the library and I even try to read my own books in front of them. So they have figured it out along the way and asked for help when they wanted to push themselves further.

Little JJ trying to read and pointing to words

I figured writing was going slower because my boys didn't really choose to write often.  But I've starting to look at things differently now...

If you've never heard of Brave Writer I strongly suggest that you take a peak.  (No affiliate links or anything. I'm just sharing something that worked well for us out recently).  I have not bought anything yet but have read over the free lesson plans available.  I have also listened to many podcasts and read a lot of the Bravewriter Lifestyle blog posts.

TJ 'super hero' concentrating on drawing

Suddenly I felt as though a weight had been lifted.  I was now well equipped with fun activities and strategies I could do for myself and with the kids.  We could love reading and writing and poetry together!  It also fit perfectly with our unschooling lifestyle.

Whenever I get a great idea of an activity or topic I think my boys might be interested in I simply offer it.  They may join in or not, but it can't hurt to introduce/offer.  I often will talk to the boys too about why I feel a particular activity might benefit them too.

So we started with Poetry Tea Time.  We've done this a few times randomly.  I'm hoping to make it a weekly event now.  Last week I made a big pot of hot chocolate and served it in fancy tea cups with cookies.  I borrowed a variety of poetry books from the library (since we have maybe one book) and let the boys choose what I'd read.  They honestly wouldn't let me stop!  I read through two full poetry books.  On Pie Day (March 14) we read Math Curse and Science Verse.  Oh and on the first day of spring I casually asked the boys what their favourite things about spring were.  Later during tea time I surprised them with a poem I write using what they had said. It's always fun to set up a fancy tea and read together.

MJ enjoying hot chocolate and poetry

In looking at all Brave Writer has to offer I felt so relieved knowing that I was already doing the right thing!  My boys are in the Jot It Down stage.  I often act as a scribe for them when they have a story bursting to come out.  Now I try to remember to intentionally ask them more often if they'd like me to write anything down. During our last poetry tea time, MJ asked me to write down a poem he had thought of.

TJ enjoying poetry tea time

We already read a lot of books with different variety.  I am thrilled that they enjoy it.  I love the interesting conversations we have as books and movies bring up new things to discuss.

Another idea I got from Brave Writer was Free Writes.  My boys are a little young to be able to come up with much, but it still was a cool experience for us all.  MJ drew a picture and told us about it.  TJ practiced writing the alphabet, while I write anything that came to mind.  I look forward to doing that more along with perhaps some copy work.  Even if the boys aren't into it, I'd like to do these things for myself!

MJ playing with letter tiles

Finally I wanted to share with you our new love for art too.  Okay so it isn't exactly literature based, but any who we just started doing it recently too.  I only chose Friday for fine arts Friday because the alliteration worked nicely.  I asked the boys first if they'd be interested in intentionally doing art and learning about artists like they'd done once at a museum.  TJ really liked it and MJ sort of went along.  We have done a few artists now. We also did nature drawings in our notebooks too after visiting the garden centre to welcome in spring.

Seeing how all these elements are coming together, in a natural way is fantastic.  My boys are suddenly interested and curious again.  We are doing more math games and science too.  I know the change came from me intentionally offering things to the boys rather that always waiting for them to ask me.  I am released from the stress of trying to fit everything in to our week.  We are not on a schedule.  The boys asked me to write all these activities into the calendar just so we'd not forget, but if we are involved in something else, then we just go with that instead.

I feel right now that we are in a good place with our homeschooling.  That brings me peace.

I hope you'll join us on FB to see more of what we are up to!