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Friday, February 23, 2024

How We Homeschool

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The six year old asked what we were learning in homeschool today. I answered clouds, but it is really yucky outside today. He countered with “I have brine shrimp eggs in my microscope”, it’s been a topic of conversation for several days and I still hadn’t started hatching them. “Can they be what we learn about?” Sure.

Wild Kratts has an episode about brine shrimp. There are 300 species of shrimp in the world. An experiment took place to see what kind of water the brine shrimp eggs will hatch in. Three pages completed out of our reading book. A discussion about how many legs are on each side of a shrimps body if they have 10 legs with legs down 2 sides. Science, reading, and math, followed up some Alphablocks for good measure because the toddlers want to sing about “magic E”.

If you interviewed 100 homeschoolers I would expect every single one would share a different way they homeschool. Early on, when I was researching how the other 99 homeschool families like me shared what they do, I read someone who used a “BHAG” mindset. BHAG is big, hairy, audacious goals- I loved it. Their family was comprised of teens, but I knew it would be a method I would use even with my kindergartener and as we grow in our homeschool. 

Our BHAG was learning to read. All of the phonics, digraphs, and blends, that would be our focus this school year. Little math, science, and social studies, we unschool for those and just add them in naturally. We also sometimes use unit studies to add in the other subjects, but reading is our main goal.

I have 2 younger kids, they learn through play. Once we get through our Abeka Phonics book and I feel the kindergartener has accomplished his goal of learning to read; I will pause his learning and move to the littles. I plan on that being this summer. Hr will get a traditional school version of summer “off”, though anyone who homeschools knows learning always happens. The middle child will begin working on letter recognition (he will be 4 in June) and the girl will be involved in the lessons as she desires (3 in November). 

Our school week is also very untraditional. We do formal school 3 (maybe 4) days a week, and the other 3-4 days are filled with play and story books, educational YouTube videos as well. Alphablocks help drive home the phonics we are learning. They help in the kitchen and hear the beginning stages of fractions when I say we are doubling our recipe and 1/3 cup + 1/3 is 2/3 cups, so we need 2/3 cup. We problem solve when 2 children want the same toy. We explore science when we learn about ecosystems at the pond, the building blocks for a future in-depth lesson. Writing is practiced when cards are written on a whim to give to friends and family, or a sign is made to announce its movie night.

I took a test on my “Homeschool style” it called me eclectic- Unschooling for my methods on most subjects, traditional for my use of a book to learn phonics, and Charlotte Mason for the story books we enjoy. Eclectic is just right for us. 

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Madison VanRavensway
Madison VanRavensway
Don't let her quiet nature fool you. Madison is a force to be reckoned with in the outdoors, or creating amazing recipes from scratch.
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