We have been spending a lot of time outside since we got into a homeschool rhythm after new year. Partly because we love exploring new places and partly because it it a good way to let the kid blow off steam and relax in the absence of her usual buddies and playdates.
I have found that a more relaxed approach to learning and homeschool suits us best. There is no timetable or weekly goals that need to be reached. Everyday we pick a couple of subjects or learning ideas and fit them around outdoor exploring or organised homeschool activities such as Forest School or the Community Farm.
We don’t un-school in the purest sense as we do use learning materials, but we do allow the kid to drive the intensity and direction. She loves to read and write with no added encouragement from us at all. She writes my weekly shopping lists, notes to remind me about things I need to do. She has a story book she writes a few times a week and she takes a nature journal out on lots of her walks.
The past couple of weeks we have gravitated to more art and craft than we were perhaps doing before. May be the wet weather has forced us to be more creative inside!? We have used clay for crafting pots and coasters and ornaments. Painting and decorating them. Wet on wet water colour is a favourite and also general colouring and picture drawing. Stamp making. She and her dad are making a rubber band ball solar system as a science project.
We have just started ‘The Story of the World’ as a history read-aloud. Partly as there is only so much Enid Blyton that a parent can take and we are trying to make sure that we do at least 20 mins reading aloud a day (have a look at ‘Read Aloud Revival’- its an interesting resource) and I figured throwing in a little world history a couple of days a week could be fun.
Maths and numbers she doesn’t find so easy and we are consciously trying not to push to hard as I feel that its something she will come to in her own time. She enjoys the MEP workbooks and likes to do a couple of pages by herself before asking me to check how she’s doing. They progress slowly and are repetitive which I feel is giving her confidence.
Homeschooling is a funny thing, it can be so hard to know if you are doing it ‘right’. If your child is ‘on track’. As I get into our second year I feel a lot more confident in saying ‘this works for us’. Most recently the funniest thing people have asked (after the usual boring ‘socialisation’ questions – yawn) is if we will homeschool ‘forever’. Well no, at some point the kid will hopefully leave home and become a functioning adult. Will we homeschool through to high-school. May be. Or she might decide school is the best thing ever in 6 months and leave me bereft at home all by myself, surrounded by craft supplies and books. Whichever way, we will support her.
have you tried the singapore method for maths? it’s very kids friendly, i’ve a workbook and wendie uses it very often. also i copy ’50s workbooks, i find it was better in the past (like starting with additions, subtractions, multiplications and divisions at the same time).
outdoors is difficult for me, and also for wendie, she doesn’t want to be outside with a bad weather, so we stay at home a lot lately…
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