Monday, February 4, 2013

Homeschool : A day in the life of a secular homeschooler

Hey guys! So glad to be back and ready to show you how my teaching methods have changed since beginning our journey called "homeschooling" nearly a year ago. 

When I first began, I had the vision of a classroom and school set up like the public schools I had taught at for nearly six years. Why would I want that? I'm not even sure, I really didn't enjoy being micro-managed or scolded over mismatched chairs and curtains that were hanging long enough. It was exhausting how much was expected to be shoved into a day, and what was not included.

So, as the months progressed I came to the realization that this was my chance to make school whatever it was that worked for us. 

Here is our new schedule:

630-7am : 
wake up
eat breakfast 

we play 
read books
 do laundry and chores
(really if housework needs done, this comes first. If we have it done, we play& insert school work between playing)

Little guy is down for nap so, 
Big monsters preschool lesson (a bit more formal)

Dad comes home for lunch
both kids are usually up& eating around this time


This time is usually spent divvied between free time/one on one with mom. 
While I spend time working with baby boy on his colors or animal sounds or simple stuff, lily will have a small activity or book. 
Then, little guy will play near us for a while so I can play one on one with lily. 
We may also finish any house chores, eat a snack, or go on an outing/walk at this time.

The children nap usually until dad gets home. 
During the evenings we usually play a family game, 
discuss our day at dinner, and read together before bed. 
I try and use our bedtime book for longer books that require her  
to remember the story over a longer period of time. We just finished "The Wizard of Oz" and have moved on to "The BFG" by Roald Dahl. 

We also have weekly things that change our schedule:

On wednesday we spend from 10-1130 visiting the "the grandparents" at our local retirement home. This started at Christmas time when I decided we should spend time volunteering for the season. Lily sewed some ornaments and went to deliver them. The residents were so sweet and happy to spend time with the kids (and lily just loved the attention), that we couldn't stand to visit and not come back. So it has been added to our weekly schedule,  it's always a highlight of the week for us. 
This is one of those things that I feel really good about& feel like she would miss out on a valuable learning experience if she were at school. 

Also, on Thursday each week, we go down to the local library and pick out new books for next two weeks theme. We also attend their story and music time which is usually about and hour long and has kids her age. 

Since we have added two days that miss the more formal lesson, we extended each theme to two weeks long giving 6 days of formal lesson for each theme and 4 days of outings. 

Our formal lesson usually includes a couple of math problems or geography on lily's smart globe, or we read library books on the subject together using the chalkboard to pull out important information  or draw pictures to clarify concepts. 

Some of the awesome subjects lily has chosen are:

She usually indicates what she wants to learn about by asking me questions through the week. Like, the week before we chose electricity she asked me why we had electric plugs in the house. I showed her the wires outside & said we get electricity from the power plant to make things work like lights and our fridge. Then she asked me how the power plant made electricity. At that point I say something like "wow, i really don't know, should we learn about that next week?" and so goes the bi-weekly theme. 

here are some examples of what our lessons looks like (be mindful she is a pretty smart preschooler and this is nowhere near a normal curriculum for her age group):

During dinosaur week we found this dino search on the internet,
it required very little assembly that she could help with. 

During our volcanoes and natural disasters theme, we discussed how many of them are caused by the earth and the
way it is layered. 

Another depicting how a volcano formed in Mexico ruining a man's farm. It was a book we read, haha. 

Also during dino week. We drove to illinois and visited the Rockford National Museum where they had
quite a few dinosaurs and fossils.

After our caterpillar& butterfly week we were surprised with an
unexpected house guest that rode in on our cauliflower.
We named him caullie or squeaker depending on the day. 

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