Homeschooling – Where to Start
Yes, where to start, good question. When we had first decided we were going to go on our adventurous road trip, and that we would therefore need to homeschool the kids, I had originally looked at signing up to the local ‘School of Distance Education’. I thought this was a great resource…and really, I’m sure it is. But after taking some time to think through it and being informed that parents generally find that the kids end up doing 5 hours of work a day 5 days a week…I mean really, whats the point of travelling when they are going to have their heads into their work the whole time.
There were other reasons too. It was going to cost us more than $2000 (on a bit of a tight budget) and we would have to cart around heaps of materials supplied by the school. And really, who wants to be studying Australian geography when we are going to be driving across the USA? And so I made the decision to homeschool from scratch…so to speak.
With all the resources available online these days, there is so much available (but it can take A LOT of time to search through) I’ve begun to put a few things together in my head based on different things I have come across as well as people I have spoken to. If you are just beginning to look into things yourself, it would be worth having a look at Charlotte Mason’s teachings on schooling. I came across that name heaps as I began looking around and thought she was some lady from the 70’s that had created the latest fad of homeschooling…but in fact, she was way ahead of her time in the late 1800’s. I found the bit that I read about the way she did things to be quite refreshing and freeing. I’m not following her method excatly, but it gave me the courage to think that I could do this thing called homeschooling!!
The first thing I did was to look up the Australian Curiculum which can be found at http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au by grade level. And I’ve discovered they’ve got an app as well. This gives me a good starting point, and helps give me an idea of the types of things to make sure we cover.
My current plan is to buy Math books for the kids for their respective year levels (Kindegarten and Grade 2). It’s simple enough to purchase books with the curriculum organised into terms/weeks/days. I thought this would be helpful so that I didn’t miss anything (even if they don’t do all the workbook pages).
So that’s Math sorted. For English I am hoping to use a lot of science/humanities/geography etc to complement the reading and writing. A friend of mine showed me the science note books her kids keep. They go for a walk outside and observe something in nature like a bird. They read some books about birds and draw pictures of a specific bird they have observed and write about them.
For grammer, one of the things that really struck me about Charlotte Mason, is that her idea about teaching grammer in the early years is just to read them a lot of well written books. Don’t try to teach them the mechanics of sentence structure – show them. When they get used to the way good writing sounds…they will know when something doesn’t sound right. Then when they are older you are only needing to fill in the blanks.
And really…that’s about as far as I’ve gotten. I’m expecting to make up spelling lists based on the words they are spelling incorrectly in the writing they do. We will keep a journal of our travels – taking advantage of any museums etc we come across. I’ve lucked out a bit because my daughter (the one in kindergarten) has already learned to read and write without me doing anything about it (very different from when my son started), so I don’t expect her learning to be difficult.
This all might change over the next several months since both kids will be doing their first term in a school with me then finishing off the next three terms of the year. What happens after that? Time will tell.