Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Homeschool Reveiw

As far as "official" record keeping goes, We are 3 weeks away from the end of our school year.  What does this mean?  Basically just the next school year will "officially" start in May this year.  I am what I call an "almost unschooler".  My home school style is we have structured activity like worksheets, reading time, a project, or a field trip about 3-4 days a week, and the rest of the learning is student-led.  If Jillian sees a frog, we spend a few days learning about frogs.  Jillian got to ride on a tractor, we are learning about farms that week.  I strive for some kind of learning to be happening every day, whether it is reading signs on a walk, or labels at the store, doing math with money or measuring while she helps me cook, or learning about nature through our animals, garden, or a trip to the park.  I only "count" the days I have a planned activity for the record, but making sure she learns something every day is one of the major reasons we are home schooling in the first place.  Our non-trip school day is the morning she gets to watch PBS kids (we are an evil, no cable/dish household lol) while I either work in the shop or clean the house.  Then at noon I watch the news while we get going on school.  She works on Starfall or another site if we have a "unit" topic, like the frogs for instance.  I help her with worksheets and/or a project and we read a few books (this is becoming more her reading to me than the other way around YAY!).  We have a work station set up, made of a lap desk, with all her work for a week in the pockets.  Worksheets, books, unit books with projects, and her journal ready to go, so I know what our goals are for the week and she can sit down and get right to work.  Here is Jilly hard at work at her worksheets. 

She also is liking her journal, which is an idea suggested to me by a home schooling friend, and I can see her really getting into the journaling process, even though it is mostly drawings right now.  I have also made her some worksheets in her journal about planning her own garden box this year. There are so many resources, either online, from books and workbooks, and field trips in the ares, I can always find something she is interested in for her to work on.  This is an on and off process through the afternoon with a lot of breaks, as I have found she works better that way and if I can't help her with something because of the baby or working in the shop it can pause till I can come help her.  We usually wrap up school work about dinner time, then maybe another book after dinner.  We have a few books...thank you retireing teacher on Frecycle!  The purple cube is full of supplies, i.e. paint, glue sticks, colored pencils, paper etc.  You can see our little seed box, all organized to be started inside or planted into the garden, and the pop bottle "greenhouse" project from a while back.

We have had field trips to Minnetrista, the Indy Childrens Museum (which we are going back to tonight for a home school program), local parks, etc.  I look back now to when we decided to get started with home school and realize I had nothing to fear with finding "curriculum"...it's EVERYWHERE!  I know as she gets older, I might need to buy curriculum for topics I am not strong in, like Algebra, but for now we are cruising along, the world is our classroom.  


Stuff On My Blog said...

I don't think you can GET a better classroom than the world :D Thanks for sharing your homeschool update! Not that many of us Pagan type homeschoolers on the blogosphere to read about.

GreenWheel said...

cool! I always figured if I ever did have kids (which I do not, I'm far too selfish, plus it's impractical financially for us and a natural impossibility with E being also female!) that I would home school him/her. So it is interesting to read an actual home-schooler. I can't stand the way the public school system is being run into the ground and beyond; I've gradually watched its decline since actually being in high school & then I thought it was bad! Now it is much worse. Way to go having the world the classroom and seizing opportunities when she expresses interest in something she sees! Besides, homeschooling is where it all originated from in the first place!

Iris said...

It is so refreshing to hear more about homeschooling! I had never gave it too much thought before, dismissing it as "much too difficult for a normal mother". Your post makes me reconsider my hasty thoughts. (My children are still young, 2.5 and 1, so I still have a little time to be indecisive.)

Hippie Witch said...

I was terrified to start home schooling, so we decided to start with preschool and just see how things went (we don't have to enroll in school till 7 here in Indiana). 2 years later I am more confident and relaxed about it and really look at the world differently. If you decide to, start early and start slow so you can decide if it is right for your family before having to make THE decision. and BTW we might have spent $150 on school this year, including field trips!

Pam said...

Thank you for sharing your success with homeschooling. Your combination of structured activities along discovering/learning about the world led by your child's' interest is very intriguing. So far, I have not tried homeschooling, but I like your approach.

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