In many ways I am a very straight forward type of personality. By the rules, by the book kind of person. But, in other ways I am very laid back, have fun, scrapbooking, goofy, kind of a person. Its a constant balancing act.
Because of that I have differing methods of teaching our boys. A little of this, a little of that, whatever feels right, whatever my boys like and respond to best. Some book work, some researching, yet some hands on activities and games as well. I believe in balanacing it all out.
I also listen to my boys, learn what they are interested in and find as many resources as I can for their interests.
So, the kinds of the “methods” I use are…
First off, Eclectic.
I don’t buy prepackaged complete curriculums. I search for the best ones, by subject, that will fit my boys best. I look for ones that have a good combination of book work and hands on. Or ones that I can add to easily, to make it more book work or more hands on. I look for games to go with the curriculum as well. My boys have a periodic table game I found online, for free, at Ellen McHenry’s basement workshop. It also means I have to grow and learn along with them. I may find a wonderful curriculum, yet my boys hate it. If they can’t stand it, they don’t retain any information in it (at least mine don’t) so, whats the point. Why am I wasting my time using the curriculum when they aren’t learning. I have switches gears in the middle of the year before. If one or both of my boys change, can’t handle the curriculum or get bored with it, I have to change it. I have to be flexible as well.
I use the book The Well Trained Mind as our guide. I collect information from it, follow the suggested years for the grades, use it for topics to plan out for the year. I don’t use all the suggested curriculum though. I do like to find the curriculum that will fit our family. I am still on the fence about the memorization. Some of it is good, some of it is really boring. We don’t really follow the binder set suggestions either. We tried, it was just too much, for me and the boys. I do like the idea of my boys learning Latin though. My youngest struggles, but my oldest does pretty well. I think Latin is important because it (and Greek) words are the root of almost all words. It teaches a great foundation for spelling.
My boys prefer hands on learning. I think it makes things more interesting. I believe kids learn better if you bring the learning down to their level. Make it more fun, turn it into a game.
This goes with the Hands on Learning some. I do strongly believe that kids are forced to start learning way to early in life. Society expects to much out of them. I do like the idea of kids practicing their handwriting when they do copy work or dictation. That is a lot better method than a handwritting workbook. I know the Charlotte Mason method doesn’t like the use of workbooks, but I believe they have a place in our home. My kids enjoy them. I think they create a good balance. Nature is also very important in our home. I do want to incorporate more in our lessons though.
I know this not a method you hear about often. But, it is something we use in our home. I believe it balances out the hands on learning, and teaches a great skill. One that will be used as an adult.
My boys love unit studies. Its a great way to throw in a small lesson and fun activities without bogging them down with a huge month long, or longer lessons. My boys usually wrap it all up with a lap book too.
We incorporate herbal study, envirnmental study, taking care of the earth and Pagan study into our lessons. We just call it Pagan study. We are Pagans, and just like a Christian or other religious family, we bring our religion into our lives and our lessons. We believe it is very important for our boys to have religion in their life.
“When their children show an interest in a new topic unschooling parents may make available a variety of resources to help their child explore the subject, such as “real” books(rather than textbooks),hands-on experiences (learning by “doing” and helping), games and fun activities, TV, movies, computer resources, art projects, etc. They may also seek out opportunities to learn within the community or from experts. But, even
though they may offer such resources to the child, they do not insist that the child explore the topic further, the choice is the child’s to make”
I don’t care what other may say. I am a little unschooling. I’m not radical and don’t pretend to be. But, according to this statement I do this! Yes, we do some classical and we do use some workbooks. I am not 100% unschooling, but I do incorporate it into our life and lessons.
“An eclectic “mix and match” approach to homeschooling obviously requires more preparation time and more research effort on the part of the homeschooling parent than would be needed to follow a prescribed curriculum.”
I know that is a lot of methods, but kids change all the time, I change all the time. I have to keep up with their thoughts, feelings, moods, etc. In order to do that I need to think on their level, plan, research and figure out the best way to provide the best education possible for my children. There are a lot of people who don’t agree with my “methods” or the way I view things. You know what I have to say to them ” I don’t care. I am not here to impress you!” Everyone has the “right” to teach their kids and view the world as they please. I will not judge you, do not judge me.