|A find at one of our many nature walks.|
We are starting a whole new chapter in our unschooly homeschooling journey. This is the first time we will never have to move again! I'm really curious as to how this will positively affect our home learning habits.
At the home now, we have a 2nd grader, a 5yo K1 (I call it K1 & K2, because I like starting 1st grade at age 7), and a 2yo. I ordered Classically Catholic Memory (CCM) this year for the first time. It covers eight subjects:
- Great Words (Poetry)
I chose it because I am craving a rhythm but I'm definitely not the type of person who can follow someone else's very specific lesson plans, and I'm also not the type of person who can write up my own lesson plans for the future. With CCM you have 18 weeks of work, usually spread out over the year. You read aloud and listen to audio CDs to memorize the material. Then you can supplement with anything to help children understand and learn more about what they are memorizing. The whole family can do this together!
The last few years, we have been unschooling. I called us "radical unschoolers", because we really had no agenda, no plan, few routines besides meal times, sleep times, and daily read-alouds. We had no workbooks or sit down books what-so-ever. My husband was deployed all of last year and I didn't bother to bring any of the workbooks with me to my parent's house. We used the library a lot and visited the Zoo & Aquarium frequently.
This year I'm craving a bit more structure, but because of our unschooly background I am winging the supplemental activities this year. That is, I am just going to look ahead a little about what we are going to be memorizing the next two weeks and get books from the library to supplement. We will also do activities to enforce what we are memorizing. For example, today we learned about scientific classification. We read a book I had on hand that talks about plants that never bloom. We took a nature walk and looked for mushrooms, ferns, and algae. Then we found YouTube videos about algae.
I still consider us unschoolers, but because many don't like this term, I don't go around advertizing it in my homeschooling group. We are all homeschoolers after all. Unschooling just means that we have a relaxed view on learning and that we believe that learning happens every day in life, and that we do not have to mimic a school-type setting in order to be learning. Every seasoned homeschooling family knows this. We also let go of school-standards and timelines and focus on what each child is ready to learn. We expose our children to new things and ideas and hobbies and books to give them opportunities to become interested in new things and then we learn all about them, together as a family.
Some unschoolers say you shouldn't use workbooks. But I think a true unschooling mentality would be: "Use a workbook if the child enjoys it." Math with CCM is only skip counting, so I am supplementing with Singapore. So far so good. The Horizon math workbook I did with Isaiah a couple years ago had an insane amount of writing in it! It was more like writing numbers practice than math practice. I'm so against that. So with my 5yo we do a lot of the questions verbally. I also am still a huge fan of using duplos (the bigger legos) to see if they understand skip counting and groups. My 7yo now can write his numbers and he likes filling in the answers in his workbook.
I've been trying to figure out an easy way to keep track of what we are doing. I don't really want to make all our daily happenings public on my blog, so I've created another private blog where I really just catalog exactly all the books we read and things we did. They are categorized into subjects. That blog has no photos, it is purely just for record keeping. I feel like I need this just for my husband and I, for the children when they are older, and to look back on to see what worked well and what didn't.
Hmm, what else are we doing this year?
We are joining a co-op a few Fridays of the month. It is not a CCM co-op, but it will focus on teaching the children music, fine arts, and gym time.
I also signed my 2nd grader up for a once a month (over 9 months) nature class at a regional park. He'll be in a group with children the similar age. Every month they will learn something new that is nature related, like snowshoeing, ice fishing, bird watching, etc. How fun! The kiddies and I can rest in the lodge or explore the forest while he is in class.
Everything else will be added as we go along. I am trying to pace myself. We are going to be here forever, and there will always be time for things down the road.