Journey and Curriculum Choices
A Meandering and Musing
Part Four—what you would see at our house these days.
(Part One, Part Two, Part Three)
Today…Boo can read quite well. He is pleased when he does his math worksheet. But it can’t be long and repetitive. And it doesn’t need to be. For him.
Roo is five years away from fourteen but I don’t think he’ll be heading to college anytime soon.
If you looked at our day you would see we are at the same time very musically and artistically oriented and very technology oriented. We love reading and own lots of books. Our boys play the piano, they dance, they write their own stories by hand and on the computer, they create art, both techno art and traditional. They use the computer for learning and fun. And sometimes when they have fun they are learning.
As mentioned we’ve added what some see as an unusual choice for an extra curricular—ballet. Roo showed a desire and facility early on and we were fortunate to have access to an exceptional school for ballet. Boo, in traditional Boo form, declared he was having none of THAT. Which was fine with us. But after watching Roo during watch week and meeting the teacher, who may qualify for the sweetest young woman in the world (oh, and she’s a beautiful ballerina) Boo insisted at the last minute he WAS going to dance. Okeedoke.
My approach would be best described as relaxed an eclectic these days. I would love to totally unschool, but don’t see us as having enough drive to arrive at our goals. So we vary what we do. Right now we have a flexible schedule, we may do a unit study in few months and take a break and unschool for awhile after.
Because piano and dance take up a lot of our time I’ve made our schedule around those things for now. Piano is done totally at home so there is no down time or driving time. But we spend a lot of time on the piano. A lot.
Reading is important to me. We read every day Monday through Friday. We read aloud, we do Silent Sustained Reading, we read what is on our lists and things that happen to catch our attention. We have this new basketball class and it is on a dance day so we are out of the house for a long time that day. We still fit reading in. Piano takes a day off that day.
Workbooks are done for a very short time three days a week. I have a large collection and they cover a wide selection of studies. Boo has just a couple he works on. Roo has a different set for each of the three days. Each set has some form of math, some form of English and language arts a dab of history and a little science. These subjects are addressed in his reading time also. The workbooks are a nod to the yardstick traditionalists measure by. It is not a bad thing to measure. But I will not teach to a test or standard that is not ours.
I also believe we are, as a country, sleep deprived. DarlingCaveGeek and I also have strangely wired body clocks that function well later in the day. Did the boys acquire our habits genetically or just by association? I am not sure, but unless there is a pressing reason for rising early Roo and Boo are allowed to sleep until they are no longer tired. Now we do have the occasional bug run through the house, but I do believe that bodies not sleep deprived can fight off illness more effectively and much faster. And so far the theory seems to work for us. So you won’t see us shiny and scrubbed at the table at 7:30, chores done and doing our devotional. We sort of ease into our day.
We school using the computer, occasional field trips, using videos and television. For the first time in our journey we’ve joined a relaxed group of homeschoolers for our P.E. We are starting to school at the grocery store. I’m not counting that so much in the record-keeping, but it does become a natural progression. And time needs to be allowed for it. With some apprehension, I see that schooling is taking place in the car. It’s not the geography/map reading skills that worry me. It’s the, “Now when I start driving…” questions. But, hey! At least they are asking. And they are becoming quite the proficient backseat drivers.
What was my goal in writing this long, long, piece on our school and my philosophy? I think I have arrived at the belief that every parent should choose the best for their child within the framework of what is feasible in their lives. Not every one should homeschool. Homeschool may only last a season for some. Everyone who homeschools has a right to school the way they feel led to that is best for their children. It will not always look the same. Before someone accuses someone else of not “doing it right” the fruit of the family should be examined. I do not advocate abuse, but that is the exception, not the rule. That should never happen, but sadly it does.
I think for the most part we are over-legislated and people are trained to let others think for them. Many people really do believe that the school system today is what has always been in place. And it hasn’t and it isn’t perfect. But I know many beautiful teachers who do the best they can. And for some children it is a safer haven than home. That is sad.
My goal is to encourage people to pray, research and explore options for their families. To share resources and not judge but build up other families in their choices. To pray if you think someone could do better, offer only options and leave it be at that. I think school should be a joy. I think learning should be a joy and a delight and never end as we travel through this amazing world the Creator has graced us with.
This I recall to my mind, therefore have I hope. It is of the Lord’s mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every moring: great is thy faithfulness. The Lord is my portion saith my soul: therefore will I hope in him. The Lord is good unto them that wait for Him, to the soul that seeketh him. It is good that a man should both hope and quietly wait for the salvation of the LORD. Lamentations 3: 21-26