Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The home educators "C word"


Caveat - One of the big reasons we are home educating is because I'm not very good at doing what I'm told. So that might, possibly, perhaps, have a slight influence on my curriculum choices. Scripted boxed curriculum? Nope. Single encompassing philosophy from one of the plethora of early-20th-century educational theorists? Nah, no thanks.

Over the past 3 years I have been busy reading & absorbing all I can about education, including the myriad theories of Unschooling, Leadership Education, Waldorf, Montessori, Charlotte Mason, Raymond & Dorothy Moore, John Taylor Gatto, John Holt, Alfie Kohn, Piaget, Vygotsky, Bronfenbrenner etc etc etc... and so what we are starting out with is a collage of alllllll the bits that I liked from them. And mostly importantly, the parts that I think will work best for my six year old daughter Lexi!

Reading - She taught herself to read a little while before she turned 4, so we're very fortunate to have skipped the tricky period of learning technical decoding skills! Our reading strategy is basically her dad & I reading to her (and the little ones) a lot, and he's going to bring guided reading level books home for her from his school each week, so we can work on her comprehension skills by reading & discussing them together.

Writing - With a nod towards Leadership Education (aka Thomas Jefferson Education) "Structure time not content", and inspired by Playful Learning, we will be trying out a daily Family Writing Time. The two big kids both have a pouch filled with assorted writing materials, and I have a couple of notebooks, that we will use to sit together & write whatever takes our fancy! Lexi has a basic story book (lines at the bottom & space for a picture above), letter paper & envelopes, notepads, a journal, and a "word detective" notebook (for hunting out interesting words!), and I'll be popping different blank template ideas in there occasionally to try to keep interest up! She's not a confident writer at all, she's scared to attempt words in case she gets them wrong :-( So the more freedom & encouragement we can give her in her writing the better! I'm hoping that having me there as a role model and constant source of assistance will help too.

She's been working through little worksheets from D'nealian Home/School Activities, which is going really well!

Maths- She's got a really good foundation in maths already, and we've just started working our way through the Math Mammoth Light Blue Series grade 1

Poetry - Once or twice per term (we have 4x 10 week school terms here), Lexi will choose a poem that she would like to learn from one of our books, copy it into her own poetry book, then each day we will spend a little bit of time memorising it. Once she's happy with it we will record it to share with family :-)

Science - We have the cute Science in Seconds and Nature in a Nutshell books, and I'm building up a stash of supplies, so the kids can choose an experiment from those & have everything ready to carry it out! I'll be encouraging Lexi to gradually start recording the experiements, whether through writing, drawing, or by dictation.

Art - We will be using the Come Look With Me series for our art study, choosing a picture that is interesting, discussing it, then exploring the medium or techniques used in our own art projects. We have a small selection of instruments here, as well as learn to play books for kids, so I'll be offering lessons to Lexi for some of those, one at a time, for a minimum of a term. Performing arts are NOT in shortage in our house!

This is getting long, and it is getting late, so I'll continue later!


  1. Loving reading your blog!

    Miss 6 here loves to write - cards, letters, stories, you name it - but is not keen to sound words out herself (for me anyway). So she wants to know how everything she writes is spelled, letter by letter and word by word. I got around this the other day (and maybe it might give Lexi confidence to try?) when she happened to be writing letters to the fairies in the garden by telling her that fairies have the special ability to read whatever children write if they give it a try, even if the spelling isn't exactly right. Suddenly she stopped asking me how to spell everything and was happy to give it a go, although she still wanted to know after she'd written if she'd done it "right". The "Ferehs" absolutely appreciated her efforts though.

  2. Oh man, yep the "letter by letter and word by word" is exactly right! Will definitely give that a go, will hunt out a suitable fereh letterbox in a tree tomorrow!!

  3. Goodness!!! You are such a busy bee. I can't think of a better example of parenting <3 Keep up the blog, I am loving it :D


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