Unschooling: Living Without School; Living Free Range-Freedom to Learn What One Wants When One Wants

Sunday, August 28, 2016

This is What Homeschool Should Be

Well, we are back at it. Fall is here. We went all Summer, but Fall starts the new year. This year we are doing "bare minimum" homeschooling. Meaning simple, but formal math and lots of reading.

We are volunteering at the new Center location (by my house). Unbelievably convinient. That is going well. She stays enthusiastic about helping out, which is nice. And if she isn't helping, there is an entire playroom for her to hang out in.

We have also started back "co-op" AKA reading a few Charlotte Mason books from the list with a friend and then playing before swim class. Last week the girls took turns reading aloud and encouraging each other. Those are definitely not easy reads, so props to them. Then they acted out the fables together to make things more interesting. We alternate weeks at the Center and doing co-op so the schedule isn't too booked up. We do both of those things on Wednesdays along with swim. Piling really helps.

Next week swim and Heritage Girls start.

Our home days are going well so far. It seems like our weeks are calmer than last year. I'm not scheduling a lot of afternoon stuff, like playdates because around 2 I have to crash! Baby gets tired and Baby gets hungry. So I eat and sleep before getting dinner ready.

Anyway, we have slowly learned how to spend our days efficiently-after a few frustrating days. Days where I rambled on too long and she got bored. Or days where she played like she didn't understand something that we went over ALL Summer. Or even days I wasn't sure that what we were doing was worth our time at all.

So I made up two solutions:

-A folder. Every morning she has 3 review math problems. A large addition that includes carrying. A large subtraction that requires borrowing. (for review) And a simple multiplication problem-which is what we are currently working on. Then she has to write out her own math problems (addition and subtraction three digit or more) and solve it. I mostly do this so that she can practice writing a little slower and neater and lining up her numbers without it being so long and tedious like a worksheet. Then she writes a sentence, any sentence. We go over spelling and punctuation. She has not struggled in that at all. She likes to challenge herself and she is great at spelling and grammar/punctuation because she reads so much. I feel accomplished just by getting that done. It keeps stuff fresh. After her folder she has taken to reading before getting out of bed while she eats her breakfast. Then she makes her bed and the day starts. It is excellent. Because while she does that, I have finished all my cleaning for the day. And already we have done our "bare minimum."
The second portion of the morning we play a few math games to review multiplication facts and read one of her Charlotte Mason books. A few chapters. Right now it is the Burgess Bird Book-super long. We have been on it most of Summer. Anything else is extra-puzzles, working on Sara's binder (our current project), etc.

-My second solution had been to make a list of priorities. This really helped. I could see what our priorities are, make sure that our days are being spent the way we would want to say we spent them, and see how we are doing it- and it really helps that some things overlap. I made a schedule, but won't post it. Here is the list:

God: *Church *Reading Luke together every few days *AHG

Service: *Center *AHG

Family: *Weekends are ALWAYS family time *Focus in November will be getting to know the new baby

Friends: *Play dates *Tennis *CHEA *AHG *Co-Op

Activities (Includes Fitness and Community Building): *AHG *Swim *Tennis *CHEA *WEC *Hobbies-We always have a new hobby going on. This year it is kayaks. It gets us outside in the community, staying fit, and learning about a new skill/nature.

Reading (We strive to have a well read child. If nothing else, she needs to know how to gain knowledge through reading. This encompasses our Science and History): *Co-Op *Reading CM Books Together *Independent Reading

Math (Includes Problem Solving): *Right Start 3xs a Week *Puzzles *Brain Games (We have them placed everywhere around the house.) *Legos and other building materials *Play

Practical Life: *Home Projects (Sam always helps with those.) This week it is building a new porch. Then painting Sara's room. Then clearing out land. Next semester it is building raised beds and gardening. *Housework, from cleaning to cooking. And recently, preparing for Sara by freezing meals and packing a labor bag. *Pretend Play

So that pretty much sums up how our time is spent. I have found lots of hours at the end if the day if we spend it efficiently. (By end I mean 2-5.) When Sara stops demanding so many naps from me, and she is here with us, I plan to spend that extra time focused on her. Getting to know her at first, (And of course bowing to her every demand, which will be time consuming.) and then working with her once she is old enough to sit up and play. But that is months away.

Until then, this year is going well. Calm. Just how I like it. I'm happy to be spending these last few months alone with S NOT running around like a crazy person, and just reading, playing, doing puzzles, and cuddling for an afternoon nap. This is what homeschool should be.