Sunday, February 27, 2011

Homeschool Must-Haves

March is just around the corner. March and April in the land of many homeschoolers marks the time to evaluate the curent year and make decisions about year to come. Many of us make constant revision throughout the year. That is one of the advantages of focusing on our children individually. But we still need to make decisions about curriculum purchases and goals for the future.

As I have indicated in several recent posts, I have not been satisfied with the level of engagement in our studies this year. So, I have been spending some time thinking through the "must-haves" for next year.

Our list of subjects.  I am happy with this list and feel that we cover a wide variety of essentials, with room to explore special interests. Note: this does not include preschool for the youngest, as I am committed to unschooling him until the first grade to really allow him time to just explore his world.

History - World & US
Reading - Classics related to World History
Science & Nature Study
Next year we'll add Beginning Engineering and Latin.

Looking at  how we are approaching these subjects this year, I see the problem. Do you?

Math Curriculum/Workbook
Grammar Curriculum/Workbook
Spelling Curriculum/Workbook
History Curriculum/Workbook
Writing Curriculum/Workbook
Science Curriculum/Workbook
Readers/End of chapter questions

How to bring wonder into our lessons?
How to guide us toward mastery and engagement?
What has been successful in the past?
nature study in the field

live experiences

getting our hands dirty

bringing lessons to life outside of a workbook

sensory activities

reading, reading, reading

child-led projects
 So, I am looking long and hard at this workbook situation. It's easy, yes. All I have to do list page numbers and prod them along until they finish. But  if that's the way it's going to be, why are we homeschooling? Why are we wasting these precious years, these opportunities?

The plan next year will be different:

Great Books and Living Books for History, Reading, Science with writing/spelling/grammar lessons in relevant, living work ala The Well Trained Mind and Charlotte Mason and Thomas Jefferson Education.
Math and Latin - we'll keep the workbooks here.
Hands on Engineering projects
Art supplies, concerts, cds, guitar and piano lessons, and
Nature Study in NATURE (gasp!)
Supplies for science experiments
Pet care
Field Trips

We will all be busier, but this plan will save money and force us to all, especially the kids, to actively participate in learning. Our focus will shift once again from workbooks to working together. They are ready and that's my job!



Obaitori Spiritual Mothering said...

Wonderful! Thanks for such the insight into the beautiful world of your family. Your children look so relaxed & happy. I really like reading your very honest posts. Katie xxx

Backroad Mama said...

Thanks Katie. The feeling is mutual. Love your blog and have learned so much from you.