My style is eclectic, catering to the learning styles of my littles, but part of this embraces classical education. We just joined a Classical Conversations community (CC) for the first time this year. Last year, in my oldest son’s 3rd/4th year of life, we just listened to Cycle 1’s audio CDs as we wanted. My younger son was 1.
Well, now my eldest is almost 5, and my now-2-year-old deserves the same investment my first received. As we continue to homeschool, I try to feed both their appetites for taking in the world. We will welcome our third in the Winter. Big smiles and warm fuzzies for that.
My husband and I discussed my eldest’s future last night, because my eldest has been talking about wanting to become “highly specialized” and “to work on solar cells like daddy”. My son asked me how the application process went for a post-doc two days ago and what to do if they don’t accept you. *what in the world is a 4 year old doing thinking of these things?!*
You won’t believe me after that last paragraph, because you’re wondering what we talk about in my home… But I don’t really have a preference for his life. Here’s the truth. My preference is for my children to do whatever is their God-given assignment, even if it means sweeping chimneys… but with excellence as if it were for God himself.
It so happens excellence is one of my values. I didn’t know that especially until I did this self-evaluation. As a life coach, I’m usually exploring these things… values, priority, efficiency, future, fulfillment, assignment, identity. I digress.
Our CC community day is Tuesday. Which means our schooling happens on those other days, and I view Tuesday as a play day. My eldest gets to do a mini-presentation. Afterwards, sometimes I introduce next week’s material on Tuesday IF (and only if) the mood strikes US BOTH.
Wednesday is a homeschool, errands and cleaning day. I’m debating whether to participate in a free afternoon Sports Day or not. I don’t like that it forces me out of the house in the afternoon and messes up the 2 year old’s nap schedule. Half the time he won’t nap anyway, but we value the brain break. I take an ad hoc approach to cleaning most days. I wait to see what messes the two year old makes and clean that area. Today he opened bath fizzies so my toilet, sink, and surround was swirled blue red and purple. He dumped his yogurt drink and granola on the family room and kitchen floors. He came to me with his diaper off, pointing to his toosh saying “poopie”. Half the poo was on his booty. The other half was in the potty. A ‘pinch’ was on the bathroom floor. I guess we start potty training today. Thanks kid.
Thursday is a Bible Study morning for mom while the kids go to Thursday school which is very much like a Sunday School for them. We will homeschool in the afternoons as of next week on this day. This is also hamster cage cleaning day.
Friday is a homeschool morning which is sometimes interrupted by field trips, Bible studies, or errands. I move homeschool to the afternoons in this case.
Saturday soon will start soccer for my eldest, and a day of exploring nature. Last Saturday we had an adventure at a volcanic preserve. We did a nature collection during the hike, and drew the scrubland biome. Before we went I printed colored images of the plants and animals we might see. We took a bug collection kit with magnifying lens, box for collecting nature finds, camera, and leaf press with us. Today (Wednesday) we compared our pictures to the printed pictures and checked off what we think we found.
Sunday is church and small group on an every other week basis. It’s also “Science Sunday” when my husband will do a science experiment with the kiddos. Last Sunday they made a solar jitter bug, and we recorded my son’s short presentation from it. We also discuss my eldest’s presentation for CC at some point that day.
Monday is a play date or playground morning. We do schooling in the afternoons to review for CC, practice my eldest’s presentation.
I have two jobs as a homeschooling mom.
- Develop a godly worldview and character.
- Help them ever expand their world of knowledge and exploration.
A homeschool day consists of this:
- Always starting with morning symposium. This is worship music, breakfast, Bible reading from whichever children’s Bible we are using at the moment, and prayer. We follow that with getting dressed, washed, flossed, brushed, and’socked and shoed’ for the day. Plus chores.
- Rotating the schedule to suit their body rhythms. They are little efficient machines, naturally falling into a Pomodoro method of life. Learn, play, learn, snack, play, learn, eat, learn, rest, snack, play, learn. You get the idea.
- Play happens either in the house, in the bath, outside, at a park, etc., but the goal is to change the scenery, sensation, or mood in some way.
- Learning for my boys rotates between active and still activities. We learn a ton by moving, reading, listening, experiencing, and exploring. Sometimes this includes watching.
Let me share some learning examples now. We covered five bible stories this morning, because each one is short and ends with a quick discussion question. The older one could go on twice as long, but the younger one was finished two stories in. That was fine with me.
In geography, we are learning European waters, so I made foam fish. With a magnet on a string that was tied to a dowel, my son went fishing to learn European waters are Adriatic Sea, Baltic Sea, English Channel, Mediterranean Sea, and North Sea. We noticed our ABC’s in these waters as well: ABC/MN anyhow. He also reviewed last week’s geography through fishing.
He knows his math skip counting songs for the 3’s and 4’s from last year. He surprised me in that. We just sang them a few times then. We also do Singapore Math and the Abacus. The Family Math Book has games we play. We use a Base Ten set of blocks to learn math too. Other than those, I use household items like food items as manipulatives.
He knows large pieces of the CC Timeline through song from last year, but we are adding hand motions this year. We also put the cards in order, and read the facts on the back of the cards.
English happen through song and example. And we are working our way through “How to Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons”.
We still do some preschool activities because it’s fun and easy. We play a matching game every time I show my toddler a new letter. Usually my older flips alphabet flash cards for the younger too.