Why we chose not to use a preset curriculum, and what we’re doing instead.

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Yesterday I talked a little about why we chose to homeschool, today I’ll talk about how we’re going to do it.  I’m sure this will change over the years as Geekling’s needs change, but right now this is what I’m hoping will work best for us.  We looked at quite a few different options, from online schools (both private and public), to purchased sets of curriculum, and everything in between.  We looked at unschooling, Charlotte Mason, and School at Home.  All of those plans had merit, but the big thing I felt with many of them is that they were too restrictive.  One of the reason Homeschooling appeals to us as a family is for the freedom that comes with it.   We haven’t done much traveling recently, most of our trips have been to see family or for business, but the plan is to change that.  I’d even like to do a year of car schooling sometime in the next few years!  I can’t imagine us doing that if we’re tied to an attendance sheet at an online school, or a pile of text books and desk work.  So what will we be doing?  A sampling of lots of different techniques for the most part.

As I mentioned yesterday Geekling is most definitely an interest based learner.  He goes through intense phases of wanting to know everything about a subject.  Sometimes they’re long lived, sometimes not, but every aspect of his play, media time, and reading typically revolves around that subject for at least part of the phase.   So this year I’ll be putting my thematic planning skills to the test (preschool teacher, I have mad theme skillz) and trying out the unit based learning.   Can I just say that Pinterest has been a godsend for this?  Thanks to the leader of our home school group I found this website  which has given me a good idea of flow and some things he typically would be learning in a traditional classroom.   My overwhelmed brain needed that badly! So with list in hand, and the trusty internet by my side I started deciding what would be the building blocks in our homeschool curriculum.

  1. Reading.   I’m a reader, I’ll admit, there is nothing more exciting to me than a brand new book, and I want Geekling to have that same appreciation.  Boys typically are less interested in reading, so I want to make it an important part of our school routine now while he loves it so that it will stick later.  Our ideal day will have about two hours of reading time spread over the course of the day.  This will include our picture books and easy readers (thematically based typically), our research books for whatever science unit we’re on, time for us to each sit and look at our own books quietly, and time to read a chapter book together.

  2. Science- Thematic Units involving our nonfiction research, with a daily field journal report on what we discovered.  Building a diorama or small world, and a “final report”.

  3. Writing- Working in a story/creative writing journal daily.  Right now this will consist of pictures and dictation, eventually it will progress to him writing his own work.   Letter and handwriting practice (including cursive when we get to that point!) will also be a daily priority.

  4. The Arts- including both performance art and visual art.  He’s already regularly exposed to the arts, the focus here will be on discussing and more in depth discovery.   Eventually I would like it to involve him learning an instrument and participating in a performing arts group.

5.  Math- obviously.

So that’s it… that’s the great curriculum “plan”.   We’ll officially start in September, and I’ll be posting more in depth on our plan as we go.  Today it’s all about beach time and catching up with friends!

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