academics / homeschooling / what we do

homeschool: the traditional season

Our traditional season looks like school. But it is based from home.

It has an environment that looks like a home, extending into the community. There’s a mom and a dad. Four kids. The dance teacher and the other dancers the kids’ similar age. The soccer coaches and the other kids their ages. The play dates and the other kids sometimes their age, and sometimes toddlers to play with, or teenagers to study. There are the older folks with dementia that keep repeating themselves at the senior’s center. And the cheerleading grocery clerks that oooh and ahhh at the seven year olds ability to price compare and pack bags efficiently. There’s the neighbor waving hello from the shoreline as we canoe up our river. The choir kids and the piano teacher and the guitar instructor and the librarians. There’s the public bus driver that recognizes the times and drop off locations for the kids to get to their extracurriculars. There are the homeschooled theatre kids that share that one day a week getting out of their house by 0900 for a few months. These are the people in our classroom.

It might have different study books, though they might look familiar: the traditional math curriculum. Latin, cause I want them to have a challenge and learn new vocabulary. French, cause it rolls off the tongue so beautifully (on French people, not necessarily our family). Poetry, cause that’s a language all on its own. Lots of memory work: neural pathways to make and bone names and geographical locations and American presidents to store in their minds. Current affairs with dad, including American presidential election discussions (he loves this stuff, and yes, he’s Canadian–you Americans are making this current election especially interesting).

It might have a start time and an end time. Students always start with a good morning kiss before they’re out of pajamas. There are no more than four in this class. There is a separate room assigned for these activity hours, but guaranteed, someone will choose to do math on their beds, write at their room desk or meet in the Great Room for assigned reading, and always the chemistry experiments will be held at the kitchen island, not bedrooms. There will be no recess on the playground, but they will get to put their snowpants on over their pajamas and scoot outside to ski down the hill or try their hand at winter canoeing, or zoom down the ice coated zip line.

There are family oriented rules. Students can go to the bathroom when they please, eat hot lunches after French (they likely have made them themselves) and assume they’ll take turns cleaning the school cafeteria every single day. They’ll have consequences if they treat someone wrongly. Their teacher doesn’t miss a beat, or at least very few. And she cares that everyone learns how to engage each other kindly, respectfully. They won’t stand in lines to wait for the teacher’s attention, but might have to guide their little brother in his French assignment while mom finishes the writing assignment with a younger sister. Mom will keep a strict internet free zone, but there will be plenty of time to explore the internet with spelling and French apps, learn to blog, and organize a homeschool kids newsletter, and of course, oodles of games, after hours.

The teacher is attending to the students non-schooled interests. You like playing Legos in your spare time? Why don’t you incorporate a scene from World War 2 as you listen to this afternoon’s history reading? You need a little more time on that math concept? No rush. There’s no fixed schedule, just slow walk forward learning mastery of the concepts. You like doing activities as a group? We’ll find ways to make games out Latin vocabulary–hangman? Pictionary? You don’t have time to write your cooking blog? That can be done in study hours. You have a passion for mixing substances? We’ll get you a chemistry set. You want to work on your horse book? There’s creative writing.

There’s sit down time. There’s workbook time. There’s reading hour. And science and history. And extracurriculars in the afternoon. There’s fresh pencils. And packs of empty lined paper. New packs of markers. A new addition to the library. And always a box of Smarties. Cause who’s gettin smarter? These guys…camera-photos-2016-104


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