Home school: A Humble Beginning

Home school: A Humble Beginning

Well, I have finally started speaking the words: “Yes, we’re going to homeschool.”

Our children are only 5, 3, and 1 right now, so they aren’t even technically school age yet. Our main goal right now is to figure out what works for us, and to help our children love to learn.

We did “Getting Ready 1” from All in One Homeschool last year, simply to reinforce letter recognition and sounds. We didn’t make it through the whole alphabet though. (Give me a break! In 2015 we had a new baby, sold our house, and moved into a 900 square foot apartment.) Also, my kids already knew everything in that program. My kids liked it, and it was a great start for us. We even did some of the McGuffey Primer.

I’ve read some homeschool blogs. I’ve talked to friends who homeschool. My husband was homeschooled, too, so his advice is often helpful.

As far as homeschool blogs go, I enjoy Sallie Borrink who writes about homeschooling her little spirited-dreamer girl. But my oldest son (who will technically enter the kindergarten year this fall) is not creative. He is totally a numbers/strategy/puzzles/schedule kid. My second son is only 3, and is kinesthetic, bouncy, and physical. He does run on the creative side of the fence, but he’s a boy. I think I enjoy Sallie’s blog so much because I feel like the “Creative Kindergartner” she talks about. When I started reading her blog, I felt freer. I thought, Wow. There are so many different ways to homeschool. I don’t have to feel shut up in a box of strict schedules. I don’t have to feel like I need to get everything done in one day. I love how she talks about homeschool in a free and easy way, but also provides practical tools for those of us who are just starting on this journey.

I also love Ellen at What Can We Do With Paper and Glue. Ellen has two girls and the bulk of her crafts and activities are for toddler to preschool age. I sometimes have to tweak her ideas (because I have boys who don’t always enjoy the same things as her girls, and I have a young toddler in the mix, who just wants to chew on things and make necklaces from anything long and stringy.) I have used Ellen’s Free Printable Preschool Planning Page to plan some fun weeks around here lately. I love these papers because I can look through her ideas, but I can also add some super-boy activities. (Side note: when I told my oldest son that we were going to start learning about different things each week, I asked him for ideas. He said, “I want to learn about languages and the world.” Wow, big thinker. This is going to be fun…)

Overall, here’s where I’m at right now: a humble beginning. What I’ve gathered from other homeschools is that their beginnings were humble too. Right now, I don’t know what I’m doing. But I know these are exciting times! Times when we get to figure out what works for us, times when we get to learn along with our children.

Right now, in this beginning time, my main goal is to make learning fun. I think that might be a theme that continues through the years because that’s part of the reason I love the idea of homeschool. There is so much freedom to add and tweak according to learning styles and temperaments. We get to figure out what our kids are passionate about and we get to actually spend time on those things. I have one friend who homeschools, and her daughter loves to write. She is 14 and wrote a whole novel last year. What public school leaves time for that?

So, here we are, in our humble beginning, where we read and talk and do crafts. And sometimes we just ride bikes or do puzzles or go to the playground. And sometimes we all just meander around the house getting on each other’s nerves (we are a family after all.) We are building our school into our life.

Here are some photos from our journey so far:

When we learned about the stars and planets. We went to the library to pick out books. I drew “constellations” with chalk and the boys put star stickers on every place I had drawn a star.
Peter Pan
When we read “Peter Pan”. We made Peter Pan hats out of construction paper and played with shadows on the wall, talking about how the absence of light creates darkness, and when we stand in front of the light, we are blocking it, creating shadows. I think there might be a spiritual truth hidden in this lesson.

Springtime 1

When we learned about Spring. We colored, cut and pasted pictures of springtime things (basically just clip art from the internet). I cut letters from construction paper and cut each letter into a few pieces so the boys had to puzzle together the word SPRING. Then we talked about words that rhyme with spring and the boys helped me write a short poem using the rhyming words. They can still recite lines from that poem.

(Most of the following Transportation Theme ideas came from What Can We Do With Paper and Glue Preschool Transportation Theme.)

When we learned about transportation. We read “Alphabeep” (and other books), and made traffic lights using graham crackers, peanut butter, and pieces of banana, green apple, and red apple. I had the boys place the “lights” in the correct order.
Transportation 2 Boats
When we were still learning about transportation. We made boats out of plastic containers, kabob skewers, and construction paper. We stuck the skewers on with Play Doh and I let the boys tape the “sails” onto the skewers. We talked about why some boats floated and other sank (some, like the ones made from blueberry containers, had holes in them), and we made waves and watched how the boats reacted. Eventually, these were all destroyed and the pieces were scattered all over the tub, construction paper sails disintegrating and Play Doh becoming slime. But the boys had a lot of fun and that’s all that matters right now.