Treehouse School: Week 1
On Homeschool Mondays, I'll be sharing a glimpse into our schoolroom and what we're working on. This year we have a Second-grader, a Kindergartner, and a Toddler in our classroom.
Happy Monday! Last week was the beginning to our school year. As we enter our fourth year of homeschooling, I've been getting a lot of questions so I'm going to use this space to answer them in case the answers are helpful to you, too (smile).
I've had several conversations lately about what homeschool yearly schedules should look like and when breaks should be. Since I was a teacher, and Cory is now an administrator, mimicking the school calendar feels natural to me. Like many other teachers, I feel the beginning of my new year is in August- not January. We'll have similar breaks to Cory with additional breaks around each solstice, and a few weeks off before Christmas, so we can fully embrace the changing seasons & holidays. Celebrating them deeply this year- including Waldorf handcrafts & magical stories- is a gift I want to give to our time together.
In Indiana, we don't have formal portfolios or testing during elementary (yay!) but you do need to make sure that you have a 180+ day school year starting at seven years of age. Since Isia turned seven in July, we'll be tracking our days this year.
I have learned so much since Isia was a kindergartner. When we began homeschooling, our goal was for her to work ahead and master content beyond her grade level. She did this easily, but in first grade we hit this wall. It was a lesson that really sank in, and changed the way I teach my kids. I believe now that kids are intrinsically motivated to learn. This means that they are capable of learning things at their own pace, and making strides when I'm not looking. For example, I just realized that Billy can count to fifty. I was concerned about making sure he had twenty mastered, and he's counting beyond. Amazing. So I want to make sure our days are curriculum-informed, instead of curriculum-forced, so I can support them in their own learning. For example, when they wake up wanting to learn all about duck platypuses (true story).
I used the Oak Meadows Kindergarten curriculum for Isia when she was in preschool, but I saved it for Billy to begin this year. It's gentle, but helps children develop a strong internal sense for letters through stories, crafts, building, and- my favorite part- walking/running them out. It focuses on whole body learning which is essential for kids, especially in our head-centered technology-influenced culture.
It also gives us time to follow his lead, like creating a huge triangle out of tangrams. I showed him how to make one point, and he said "if we make three points, that's a triangle!" Which he did by himself, then celebrated through dance. Isn't learning awesome?
Wishing you a beautiful start to your week!
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