WEEK 2Our Learning Philosophy
We happen to think that we, especially children are learning all the time. I am being home educated along with the children so as I talk about our resources you'll notice I will often use 'we'. We try to do as many all inclusive things as we can so that we are all exposed to different age topics and books. Most book lovers regardless of age will appreciate a well written and illustrated children's picture book. We lie somewhere between Charlotte Mason and Unschooling, they both make so much sense to me but I am not one or the other and have tried many different ways of doing things but we are now comfortable in our own shoe's ...that fit!
"What children need is not new and better curriculum but access to more of the real world, plenty of time and space to think over their experiences, and to use fantasy and play to make meaning out of them." ~John Holt
So here it is in a nutshell:
* Natural Learning.
* Guided by interests.
* Focused on real life learning and making connections. Learning is a whole life experience.
* Lean towards visual and kinaesthetic (hands-on) learning styles.
* Learning at home is a living thing that grows and changes with us.
* Ultimately we rely on God to lead us. We make our plans but the Lord directs our paths.
I identify with this collection of posts on Tidal Homeschooling at Here In The Bonny Glenn - The blog of author Melissa Wiley.
Putting it even more simply - We do maths daily, read as much as possible many different genre daily and learn from real life activities. We engage in nature study, fine arts, music, science, sports, domestic science, handiwork's, narration but these have a natural flow to our days. The only time they are viewed as separate subjects is when I point form journal our record of learning (as part of our requirements from the Board of Studies). Our days are very full.
We have no set curriculum that we use year round except for maths, We do have some favourite resources though that we draw from regularly.
* Life Of Fred - we are currently working through the elementary series, very quickly.
We use living maths books and games. Here's a wonderful site that we use Living Math Book List.
Gumnut balances his own bank account. He has quite an entrepreneurial streak in him and is constantly looking for ways to grow his wealth! He is quite chuffed that he has put a little money into a steer and will reap the rewards of that investment very soon. Last year Gumnut saved all the money required to buy himself a puppy. Gumnut is a hard worker and will often do odd jobs for relatives and neighbours to create some cash flow!
* We use living books (a book written by an author who loves her/his subject and is often written in either story or conversational tone), for all subjects. We try to live in a literature rich environment and will read from many different genre. We love to read and get lost in a story and I never feel like I've read enough in a day. On average I read at least 6 picture books a day to Blossom (4) and about 1 hour, sometimes a lot more to Gumnut (10), just depends on what is going on that day. Gumnut will read to himself about 1/2 hour a day by choice and Blossom picks up books she has memorised and 'reads' (tells herself the story using the pictures as triggers for memory) to herself.
Whenever I here of a great book regardless of how it fits into history we will seek it out and read it.
While I read aloud the children are usually doing a quiet activity while I read such as Lego (that's the favourite), painting, drawing, lying around with a blankie, swinging in the hammock, using something like paint on the computer (not a game!) It's usually anything they can do and still listen to the story.
We make sure not to leave out poetry. We are enjoying Shel Silverstein, Robert Louis Stevenson and Robert Frost at present, we love Stopping By A Woods on A Snowy Evening.
* We are using Beyond Five In A Row and Five In A Row at the moment. This guides us through some wonderful books that Gumnut can choose any interests and follow any rabbit trails. Currently we're rowing Thomas Edison Young Inventor and have recently rowed How to Make Apple Pie and See The World and Madeline. All the Key Learning Areas are covered under the FIAR guides. It is not a curriculum.
* Australia - We make sure we read books about some facet of Australia throughout our year. We have read The Littlest Refugee and will read The Happiest Refugee (by Ahn Do) soon. We have some lovely living science and nature study books and we all keep a nature journal.
* Gumnut is keeping a Timeline in a ring binder and each book we read or interest we research Gumnut puts a picture, labels it and into the timeline it goes. This way we can read any book at any time and Gumnut can put that into his timeline and see where it all fits.
* We love documentaries on most things, period films, any digital media such as computers, games consoles, camera's. Digital media in our home gets a workout. I am a learner myself and Gumnut is learning very quickly through teaching himself and talking with others that are more savvy than himself. Gumnut googles /researches multiple times a day on any unanswered questions. Gumnut loves Anne Of Green Gables (believe it or not) and films that ask the big important questions about what is important in life and why am I here.
* We are attempting to keep a journal each that we all write in about 2-3 times per week.We engage in meaningful writing experiences and find that it is at night when Gumnut's creative juices tend to strike. He will write stories and illustrate them or create a movie or Lego scene. Today he has made a remote control robot after watching a movie Short Circuit.
*Strewing - This strewing is something unschooling parents talk a great deal about. It is the same thing Charlotte Mason meant when she said, “Education is a life. That life is sustained on ideas…we must sustain a child’s inner life with ideas as we sustain his body with food,” urging parents and teachers to provide hearty feasts of ‘living’ books and firsthand encounters with the natural world.
* We keep some good quality paints and brushes, pencils, pastels, wax, plasticine, construction materials and have many tools that we use on real life. Our kids have always been more interested in using proper equipment and tools than they ever have been with plastic replica's.
* We garden together. Both children have learnt much about gardening and yard maintenance which is an ongoing project. We hope to get to the point of having a wonderful edible garden. They take care of our animals and cook themselves with any home grown produce such as eggs, pumpkins, tomato's, herbs, strawberries, sunflowers seeds etc We are all learning about making our own natural products, soaps, ointments (we are growing calendula atm) to make homemade remedy's.
* We engage in lots of outdoor time from bushwalking, water skiing, horse riding, park days, rock climbing, bike riding, motor bike riding and any sort of outdoor play.
* Gumnut is learning the cornet and Blossom is doing ballet.
* GAMES - there's nothing like a games to get everyone into a good mood for the day or evening. We use many games and make some of our own, but we would play 1-2 at least per day. I think Lego gets a special mention as it is used so frequently (not really a game or toy but a wonderful manipulative).
Living Books and READ, READ, READ then play invent, construct, create and talk about it all.
Five In A Row and Beyond Five In A Row - we are presently reading Thomas Edison Young Inventor. Gumnut is very interested in inventors and their inventions. Not a curriculum.
Life Of Fred
History Revealed by Diana Waring a great guide to delving deeper. We plan to use this at some stage as our guide for the Middle Ages, a fascinating period that Gumnut is interested in, just not sure when as we've been enjoying BYFIAR books together. Not a Curriculum.
Story Starters by Karen Andreola
Unit Studies Made Easy by Valerie Bendt
Beyond Survival by Diana Waring
Things We Wish We'd Known by Bill and Diana Waring
The Read Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease
Honey For A Child's Heart by Gladys Hunt
Ruth Beechicks The Three R's and You Can Teach Your Child Successfully
The Unschooling Handbook by Mary Griffith
The Unschooling Unmanual
Free Range Learning by Laura Grace Weldon
The Successful Homeschool Handbook by Dr Raymond and Dorothy Moore
A Charlotte mason Companion by Karen Andreola
Pocketful of Pinecones by Karen Andreola
Lessons At Blackberry Inn by Karen Andreola
Simply Grammar by Karen Andreola
The Original Homeschooling Series by Charlotte Mason
101 Ways to Love A Book
The Lab of Mr Q. Labnotes has some great experiments as well as a free Life Science Classic Science Curriculum
Australasian Science Magazine
Australian Geographic and National Geographic
Scientrific Magazine from CSIRO
and the many, many exceptional souls who share their journey's on the blogs, a big thank you.
Learning at home grows and changes with us and we are always finding different resources and outlets of discovery.
HAPPY HOME LEARNING FOR 2012
Warmest Wishes, Renelle