Sage Boyd wrote:Hi everyone,
I am glad to see so many people here. I like to see that people *have* reasons for wanting to go the route of homeschooling. Though, I see a lot of responses with a Christian/"Young Earth" focus. I wonder if there are also unschoolers? People that teach evolution/creationism/intelligent design all as theories? Anyone Pagan? Atheistic? Universalist? Just sustainable/permiculture focused? I am wondering how mixed the population is, more than anything.
As for us, we are working on Kindergarten skills right now. Cutting, drawing, letter sounds and number recognition. Anyone else doing pre-school at home?
I have 3 children, 9, 5, and soon to be 3. I have preschooled the older 2 and I am just starting preschool with the youngest. My preschool curriculum is playbased but I focus on classifying/sorting, and pattern recognition. They tend to know their letters and numbers before starting school. I think early learning for homeschool is sometimes over looked a bit.
When we started homeschooling we were Bahá'is but had some deep spiritual experiences while travelling and now we believe in earth-based spirituality. Our homelife acknowledges spirit as a living thing and we try to maintain our connection to the earth and what she teaches us, and we feel her and listen to the lessons she teaches.
I live in Australia and there are a a few homeschoolers in my village but many in my wider area. We try and meet up with other homeschoolers regularly. Most are not doing it for religious reasons, though some are. Some are more 'school at home' and use bought curriculums. Many unschoolers, and many who live on permaculture properties and live sustainable lifestyles. Homeschooling is part of that lifestyle for them. Some have bad experiences with the school system, and there are some whose children have special learning needs that aren't met in the system (autism is a common one). There are unschoolers and radical unschoolers (democratic parenting) there are many travellers and road scholars around. There are kids who stop mainstream school because of bullying and social anxiety and lots of diagnoses that seem to fade away once they are homeschooled. Here in Australia there is a difference between homeschooling and distance education, Distance education the state sends you schooling material, homeschool you are on your own. You can use bought curriculums or make your own. I use my own pedagogy that I have developed and show that it matches the outcomes of the state syllabus as required by law. There are 2 years between state inspections. My 9 year old is in year 5 and my 5 year old is in year 1. They are both 'following their bliss' as my oldest is passionately into science. We recently made him a cabinet of curiosities for his ever expanding collection of specimens. My youngest son is into ballet and aspires to be a professional dancer, fulltime ballet training will be part of his schooling when he is old enough he will enter a part-time and then full-time ballet school. I have been amazed how early the kids have found their 'thing' and never wanted to let it go. I never really figured out my thing... wonder if the moment came and went and nobody noticed and I've been chasing it ever since!
My eldest son is dyslexic, but in a homeschool context hasn't found that an issue, it was simple to adapt his learning to suit his needs. I have learned a lot about language, linguistics and different approaches to learning reading and it has been really interesting. I occasionally tutor other kids if I meet someone who is struggling with reading. I have my own approach rather than following other peoples, but I have read widely and appreciate the montessori approach to having beautiful materials and a calm learning aesthetic, and when I read about unschooling my take home message was to not let my teaching get in the way of the learning. But I don't think it really looks like unschooling as others in my area do it. I like to continue hands on and play based learning right up through primary school. We study school in units each based on a theme. The theme builds. Particular concept through all the school subjects. My eldest has studied relationships and systems and last year finished with synthesis. My younger son is starting out the sequence of theme units with patterns and classification and will move on to elements. Everything ties in to a central big idea or concept. It allows us to have a formal curriculum, but also unschool as learning opportunities arise. We tend to gently dance through a theme and put things into a journal. We use an art journal so there are no lines and it becomes quite creative and beautiful when its full. Some people resent having to record for the department of education and get approved etc... but I appreciate that it forced us to keep record of a beautiful experience we have shared. We have a gizmo called a sprocket that makes like polaroid photos with sticker backs, so we take a lot of pics of hands on learning and stick them in and it has so many memories. My eldest has started a new cycle of learning I want to pursue until high school where he has themes and his learning is through stories and narratives. We don't have a timetable each day, but have a program and we work our way through it organically, usually one idea leads to the next.... I love this journey and I am glad I get to share it with them.