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The Evolution Of Our Homeschool Journey

January 14th, 2014 | Posted by Angela Roberts in Homeschool | unschool

 

Welcome to the January 2014 Carnival of Natural Parenting: The More Things Stay the Same

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have talked about the continuity and constancy in their lives. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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This week my online newsfeed has been full of status updates about children returning to school after the holidays.  All of the back to school posts led me to sit down and evaluate our personal home learning experiences.  My kids were in bed and I was able to enjoy a quiet evening reflecting on our homeschool journey while looking forward to the all of the wonderful moments that are yet to come. While reflecting I came to the conclusion that the manner in which we learn will most likely continue to change and evolve but the fact that we are a homeschooling family will remain the same.

homeschool1

This is our third official year of homeschooling and I am very pleased with my evolution as a homeschooling mama and am so happy that my children have thrived while learning at home.  I began our homeschooling journey with a very structured ‘school at home’ type of agenda which I am sure was the result of my studies as an exceptional education teacher. But shortly (as in weeks)  into this homeschooling experience it became quite evident that strict structure and I really don’t fit.  It was clear that changes had to be made to our homeschooling style.

I decided that we, as in I, needed deschooling and we did this for several months and really enjoyed our days as unschoolers.

Earth Mama's World:  Homeschool Evolution

Unschooling is in my heart but I struggle with needing some sort of structure.   My children thrived while unschooling but several months into the experience I had one of several homeschool mama freakouts and ended up changing the way in which I decided we should learn.

I checked out ‘The Well Trained Mind’ and I re-introduced heavy structure while we dabbled in the classical trivium.  This didn’t last long…..remember structure and I don’t get along!  We quickly ditched the heavy structure (once again) and have now settled into a pretty amazing groove that works really well for us.

I really dislike labels but if I had to describe our homeschool style in a few words it would be: very relaxed,  eclectic, follow-my-kids-interest, learning-all-of-the-time type of homeschooling.  I know that this is right for us because we are all happy and my children show me that they are learning everyday, actually they amaze me daily with their knowledge!

My homeschooling mama aha! moment was when I realized that this homeschool journey is about them…not me.  Once I realized (REALLY realized) that children learn best while discovering their interests and that the educational benchmarks really do not matter (to me) our homeschool experience became peaceful again.

Homeschooling Journey of Angela @ Earth Mamas World

My children love to learn.  Our home learning is dictated by the kids.  So are you wondering what it is that we are currently learning in our 3rd year of homeschooling, here you go.   I have taken each traditional school subject and added what we are currently learning in that ‘subject’…..

History We just finished learning about Christopher Columbus and John Cabot, we are now discovering Ponce de Leon.  Alex is fascinated with this time period.  He enjoyed our trip to St. Augustine so much and he has seen picture of places we have visited in our library books that we are going to begin an in-depth study of the history of Florida.  While at the library today he went off on his own and returned with 18 books about Florida, I would say he is interested!  Serious bonus to us learning all about Florida while living in Florida:  tons of field trips!!

Science Alex is guiding this subject as well.  He is fascinated with geology and what is “in the earth” so we will be researching many different topics relating to earth science and geology.

Literature We read books daily as a family.  A few books that are currently in our reading queue are:  Swiss Family Robinson, The Adventures of Huckleberry Fin, and The Jungle Book.  A few months ago while shopping at a thrift store I found a workbook that adapts classic novels into 10 short chapters, Alex enjoys reading those over and over during the week that I read the entire story so we will utilize those in our home learning.

Reading Skills Alex and Ava work on their reading skills daily.  We read together for extended periods of time multiple times a day.  Most of the librarians at our local library know me but there is still one that looks at me as if I am a bit insane when I check out 30 books and still have 20 at home! Alex is 8 and only recently began reading fluently, I gave him the opportunity to wait until he was ready.   Ava is 5 and at almost the same reading level as Alex.  Three year old Audrey loves to read, she flips through books reciting what she sees in the pictures or the words that she remembers.

Grammar Alex is in second grade and knows the definition of a noun and verb as well as the different types of both.  We are just fine and we don’t plan to diagram sentences any time soon.  ;)

Writing Alex enjoys writing and illustrating his own books.  Ava recites to me while I write and then she illustrates her stories.  Alex is also very good at summarizing text and understanding the main concept and supporting details.  We are fine here too!

Spelling  This is learned while working on reading skills.

Math This is where I simply have to add structure.  Yes, we do Math in our home.  We are secular but use Horizons Math.  I like the way that it is set up and my kids are doing well.   Alex is working on 2nd grade while Ava works on kindergarten.  They recently discovered the app Dragon Box on their Kindle’s so I guess I can say they are learning algebra as well!

This is what homeschooling looks like in our family at the beginning of 2014, who knows what 2015 or 2020 has in store for us but even if our style changes I do know that we will still be homeschoolers.

What does learning look like in your home?  What topics are your discovering this year?

To read more of my homeschooling posts please click here.

 

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

  • Always an Artist — Some kids take longer than others to come into themselves, so you have to stick with them, as a parent, long after everyone else has given up, writes Douglas at Friendly Encounters.
  • Not Losing Yourself as a First Time Mom — Katie at All Natural Katie continues to stay true to herself after becoming a new mom.
  • Using Continuity to Help Change {Carnival of Natural Parenting} — Meegs from A New Day talks about how she is using continuity in certain areas of her life to help promote change and growth in others.
  • Staying the Same : Security — Life changes all the time with growing children but Mother Goutte realised that there are other ways to ‘stay the same’ and feel secure, maybe a bit too much so!
  • Harmony is What I’m AfterTribal Mama gushes about how constant change is really staying the same and staying the same brings powerful change.
  • A Primal Need For Order and Predictability – And How I Let That Go — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama shares how she overcame her primal need for order and predictability once her awareness shifted, opening her eyes to the impact this had on her young daughter. Take a short journey with Jennifer and she bares her soul, exposes her weaknesses and celebrates her new outlook and approach to living life, even in the face of total chaos.
  • Breastfeeding Before and After — Breastfeeding has come and gone, but Issa Waters at LoveLiveGrow finds that her relationship with her son is still just the same and just as good.
  • A Real Job — Back in high school That Mama Gretchen had a simple, but worthwhile career aspiration and today she is living her dream … is it what you think?
  • Comfortingsustainablemum never thought she would want things always being the same, but she explains why it is exactly what her family wants and needs.
  • ‘The Other Mums’ and The Great IllusionMarija Smits reflects on the ‘great big magic show of life’ and wonders if it will continue to remain a constant in our lives.
  • Unschooling: Learning doesn’t change when a child turns four — Charlotte at Winegums & Watermelons talks about the pressure of home education when everyone else’s children are starting school.
  • Finding Priorities in Changing Environments — Moving from Maine to a rural Alaskan island for her husband’s military service, Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work found that keeping consistent with her priorities in changing environments can take some work, but is vital to continuous health and happiness.
  • Keeping it “Normal” — Kellie at Our Mindful Life has moved several times in the last two years, while doing her best to keep things stable for her kids.
  • The Evolution Of Our Homeschool Journey — Angela at Earth Mama’s World reflects on her homeschooling journey. Homeschooling is a constant in the life of her family but the way in which they learn has been an evolution.
  • Sneaking in Snuggles: Using Nurturing Touch with Older Children — When Dionna at Code Name: Mama’s son was a toddler and preschooler, he was the most loving, affectionate kiddo ever. But during the course of his 5th year, he drastically reduced how often he showed affection. Dionna shares how she is mindfully nurturing moments of affection with her son.
  • Steady State — Zoie at TouchstoneZ writes a letter to her partner about his constancy through the rough sailing of parenting.
  • A Love You Can Depend On — Over at True Confessions of a Real Mommy, Jennifer has a sweet little poem reminding us where unconditional love really lies, so it can remain a constant for us and our children.
  • Same S#!*, Different Day — Struggling against the medical current can certainly get exhausting, especially as the hunt for answers drags on like it has for Jorje of Momma Jorje.
  • New Year, Still Me — Mommy Bee at Little Green Giraffe writes about how a year of change helped her rediscover something inside herself that had been the same all along.
  • One Little Word for 2014 — Christy at Eco Journey In The Burbs has decided to focus on making things this year, which is what she is loves, as long as she doesn’t kill herself in the process.
  • The Beauty of Using Montessori Principles of Freedom and Consistency — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares the continuity of her teaching, parenting, and grandparenting philosophy using a combination of freedom and consistency.
  • My Husband’s MiniCrunchy Con Mom shares which of her sons looks more like her husband’s baby pictures — and the answer might surprise you!
  • Growth Happens When You Aren’t Looking — Lori at TEACH through Love is treasuring these fleeting moments of her daughter’s early adolescence by embracing the NOW.
  • A New Reality Now – Poem — As Luschka from Diary of a First Child struggles to come to terms with the loss of her mother, she shares a simple poem, at a loss for more words to say.
  • Making a family bedroom — Lauren at Hobo Mama has decided to be intentional about her family’s default cosleeping arrangements and find a way to keep everyone comfortable.
  • New Year, Same Constants — Ana at Panda & Ananaso takes a look at some of the things that will stay the same this year as a myriad of other changes come.
  • I Support You: Breastfeeding and Society — Despite how many strides we’ve taken to promote “breast is best,” Amy at Natural Parents Network talks about how far we still have to go to normalize breastfeeding in our society.

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