Recently we went to Science world to check out their new exhibit. The boys had such a fun time. Will definitely have to go back on a day when it is less busy.
The thing is that is not the only time they are learning. The are learning something most times in the day. It has been amazing this past while as we are learning to trust our children, that they can learn and figure things out. Sure there are things that need to be improved on as they mature and grow. Spelling will come with time as will their reading.
In the picture above Ainsley was asking me how to spell words so we were sounding them out and he was printing the letters. Previous to it he was doing a word search and an I spy game on his placemat. The family we were with for some reason were stunned that he was capable of doing this. It is stuff he is interested in and has been wanting to do, so he has. Both my husband and I believe in being open and allowing our children the knowledge they seek. We don’t tell them that they are too young to do something or overly dumb down the answer to their question. At the same time we don’t use big fancy words that we barely understand. We speak to them as human beings who deserve to know about the world around them. If the boys don’t understand they know they are allowed to ask questions for clarification.
The point is, sure we do things a bit differently but that is okay. My children are actually well rounded people. They are individual and while they may have to learn things at a different rate, they learn at their rate and they learn to love what they learn. They are empowered to learn wherever they are.
One of the most common conversations I see with a lot of home learning families is what programs and curriculum are they using this year. This conversation often creates a lot of discussion and some tension. See curriculum is expensive, often for something that doesn’t always get used or you child doesn’t blend well with it.
Often you will end up with stack and stacks of stuff that gathers dust. Most other home learning families struggle every year with what they will have to supplement their child’s interest. Do we need more stuff? Do we get the next level or finish the level we have even though the child knows all the concepts? What to do with all the half used stuff that just sits on the shelves.
I’m pretty sure just about every home learning family has at least a bookshelf or to filled with stuff that is currently not being used, maybe more than one. 😉
So that is why this year, I’m stuck. My school requires the funding that we get to be used on curriculum, at least partially. The issues is there really isn’t stuff we need. With so much online and in the library why do we need to buy more junk, I mean wonderful learning materials, that are used for the year and then not needed? Or work books that are so redundant and repetitive that no one actually wants to use the whole thing? Or textbooks that really don’t give you the whole story or accurate information?
The answer is I don’t. I much rather teach my children to use resources and have memberships to the different centers in the area. We are fortunate enough to live just outside of a big metropolis area that has wonderful science centers, cultural resources and a large amount of home learners. The resources are almost endless and they don’t need to come from a textbooks. Heck it’s better if it doesn’t. Real books, real experiences, real life is where learning truly comes from. It’s one of the reasons we have kept the children home. We know their learning is much more.
Do you use curriculum? Why or why not?
Today is the first day back to school for many children in my area. With living kiddie corner from a school we see the daily activity, the coming and going of a hundred or so of little children. My Facebook has been covered with first day of school pictures and most of them look completely adorable.Wearing new clothes with a new haircut, ready to head off on a new adventure.
My boys looked nothing like that today.
Every year I go through this same issue. I try to figure out what will be the best options for my kids with their schooling lives. Now granted to them we really don’t do much but I stress and wonder if it is all worth it. Now I’m not talking about putting them into a brick and mortar school but I am talking about what program we want to be enrolled with.
We happen to live in a fantastic province for homeschooling, and there are so many options. I have really enjoyed our unschooling ways but there are so many schools that require a bit more reporting and in turn give you more classes and other options free of charge. I still would get my funding plus the classes. This is where my quandry sits as I would love for the boys to have more options to do things, but do I want to sacrifice what I know works for our family for maybe classes the kids would enjoy?
This quandary leaves me often wondering what we need as a family and what really works for us. We need activities that keep us feeding our souls. We need to do things that cause us less stress not more. We need down time and time to connect. We need to be able to have flexibility to enjoy our lives.
Yes the boys need to learn, but they do that with the constant push of work books. Could we do more some days sure. The boys do, do more than I plan for them. They learn in ways that amaze me some days. Sure there are things that their skills need to develop more on. You know what though so do I. I make spelling mistakes, I don’t read as often as I should and I get other facts mixed up. ( not always my finest moments) But learning to grow from mistakes are important. You can’t always be right.
So I will probably continue with my quandry for a few ore weeks. I will check out other local schools but I honestly doubt I will end up changing. What works for us last year will work this year. Also I really don’t need extra stress with the baby on the way.
I had a bit of an odd question today. A family member asked is Ainsley was excited to get to start learning. I was momentarily confused and thrown off. You see Ainsley starts kindergarten this year, but seeing as we homeschool it’s not like he is off on some major adventure. Sure this year there will be a few new books for him, but he got those last year. Sure he will be in a few different classes but he attended some last year as well. Really I think the only difference is he will be in Beavers this year and maybe 1-2 other classes that he wasn’t old enough for last year. The the extra funding and reporting for me which really isn’t something that will be noticed by him.
So it got me thinking a bit. How many other people think that learning starts once they enter into formal schooling. Not that anything we do is really formal, but that aside. Ainsley has been learning since he was born just like everyone else. Now he is a bit more methodical than his older brother. He likes activities that he sits and quietly focuses on a task. He like to write, read and play with lego. He is a thinker, he likes to process the world going on around him. Lets be honest he is really pretty much done with the requirements of kindergarten in the province, Damian saw to that over the last year.
|The belly also needed a picture. 19 weeks|
It has been an interesting few months. With changing distance learning programs I am really getting to see more of my son and who he is. I see a child who is very interested in life and knowing more. I see a child who likes to explore the world from the highest vantage point that he can reach. I see a child who has no problem introducing himself to a new person and starting a conversation. Damian is an amazing little guy, I knew this before, I see more of it now. While as his parent I still have a level of expectations for him and I do get caught up in them at times. I am learning to slow down my level of parental involvement to trusting speed. Once I trust my son it is amazing how much he is capable of. When he knows that I trust him he knows that he can trust himself as well. Trust is really a excellent teaching tool. He knows that I trust him to do things and he trusts that I will help him if he needs it. He trusts that I will be understanding and respectful of his learning. If he needs me I am there but I will not invade his learning with tests and quizzes of knowledge. It is amazing what a person can do when they are releases of unneeded pressure. In the younger years learning is accumulative. it all builds on each other. Simply put, you have to know your numbers before you can do math or your letters before you can read and spell. It is all very simplistic and easy to do. You can not start teaching a child times tables and expect them to understand when they do not understand what numbers are.
Now some people will wonder how you can just go about letting the child do as they want. They must learn something! Teach them as much as they can in their young formative years. If you don’t they will be doomed doomed forever! That I guess works for some people, but I want my child to learn how to learn. I think knowing how to find out information. And believe it or not it works. Bug wants to explore the world. Trust is an amazing thing to give your child and far to often we don’t trust any more. We are slowing down and we are letting things flow. Allowing them to realize how capable they are is so much easier than forcing them to learning everything that they may ever need in their life. Slow down, trust, it will come.
Don’t you just love how learning can happen anywhere at anytime? I find it truly amazing how smart my boys are. They can figure things out pretty easily for themselves. Then what they don’t know they ask questions. Questions are wonderful tools to facilitate learning. Questions start conversations, and conversations can lead to amazing learning.
I have found that a lot of newer parks are full of amazing pieces of equipment that allow children to explore the use of their bodies through force and motion. Recently we were at a park with this interesting device. I have this thing with hopping on playground equipment before examining what it is going to do. This looked harmless enough right? WRONG! I felt a teeny bit nauseated after this but as I was spinning in circles clinging on for dear life, the boys got interested. They wanted to know how it worked. So while I was trying very hard to not toss my dinner David showed the boys how it worked. Then asked Damian a wonderful question. “Why do you think it works like that?” ” Energy and gravity!” Damian shouted. Gee what smart little boys they have. David is very much into science and did well in school with all that stuff. He is the go to guy in the house for the advanced math and science things. He did a little explanation and demonstration for the boys and we continued playing. Who knows what they retained but learning by life is so much more fun than learning from a book.
Look for learning options embrace them and let life teach you. The kids are little sponges when they are young. They learn so much just by answering questions.
I have a plan to keep the learning going through the summer. I don’t want to get out of our system too much. Though hot summer days I want the kids outside, enjoying themselves. I know they all are interested and keep learning through play and life. Though I may or may not have a few control issues. I want to keep up on basic reading and writing with Damian. I know his math is good and he does it in play along with Ainsley. So I have started a Summer journal for Damian. It’s really simple it is just about what he did that day. There is usually something that stands out to him. or special events that we do. So far he is doing pretty good with it.