Year two of home education is wrapping up! Woo hoo! Bring on summer!
Although, I’ll be planning over the next month quite a bit. I like a more “year-round” approach so we’ll take a full month off, but start again sort of “part-time” in July. Homeschooling is more of a all-the-time-learning philosophy anyway and the summer is full of awesome learning opportunities so we’ll have some days of that plus review days and likely we’ll begin one of our new unit studies as well.
If you’re a homeschooling mama (or thinking about it), I’ll post some of my plans for the year in August. I’d like to do a better job blogging about our schooling during the year, one for information for those of you exploring the idea for yourself, and two, for my own documentation of a bit of our learning. I could never blog about it all, but sharing a little throughout the year would be fun.
Here are some highlights from our second year of schooling. While not inclusive of everything we did by any means, it gives just a glimpse into our days. A “these are the days of” for school this year, so to speak.
Our main unit of study this year was on the human body. Sometimes we did experiments, sometimes we did a lot of reading, sometimes we did some hands-on learning. And sometimes in the midst of learning along with them I wonder if I ever really learned anything growing up because I’m still learning. I’m just as fascinated as they are by the way our bodies were uniquely and Divinely created.
We use notebooks for documenting our learning from unit studies. I love this strategy because it allows the kids to share their learning in their own way, writing what they remember, what’s important to them, and in the way they choose.
Many days, schooling looks like this. Around the table, working on a unit study or their own individual learning activities.
Other days, it’s nice to mix it up and find a new location.
I’d like to be one of the nature-loving mamas I follow on IG. The ones whose kids are always outside, learning from nature. I have to work hard to actively choose that kind of learning. But when we do, the kids love it. Something about learning from nature encourages the wild and free spirits I want to cultivate.
One of the advantages of home education is being able to choose learning that doesn’t always fit in the box of traditional schooling. The kids are able to pursue what they want to learn and spend more time on it than if they were in a formal classroom all day. As parents, Jason and I want the kids to see that learning extends beyond what’s considered formal and to encourage and cultivate their interests. This year, Micah self-taught himself to juggle and he’s rather proficient, juggling rings, clubs and up to four balls at a time. Eliana pursues sewing during the day and isn’t afraid to make things, even if they’re not perfect. Eden is still trying to figure out what she’s interested in, although painting and art seem to be her thing right now. All the kids enjoy cooking so I’m doing my best to teach them and let them do a lot on their own, despite the endless mess that comes with it.
I’ve always been a reader at heart and I want my children to develop strong life-long reading habits and to read for the joy of it, not simply because they have an assignment or a report or some kind of proof that they read. Eliana has always been a strong independent reader and exceeded her reading goals, reading over 260 chapter books since August! Micah is my nonfiction lover, but got hooked on a lot of fun chapter book series this year and read 77, in addition to his nonfiction reading. And my girl Eden, who I wasn’t sure if she’d have the focus to read this year, blew me away with her desire to read. I wasn’t going to push her to learn if she wasn’t ready but watching her take off, knowing that she and I are the ones who are teaching her to read is so rewarding.
Our table often looks like this. (And likely there’s food or a coffee cup in our pictures). Ha!
And we have Judah, who makes getting our work done a challenge on many days. I’m telling you mamas, a toddler is a bigger challenge than lesson-planning.
But honestly, I wouldn’t change it for anything. God has led us to this place of educating our children at home and we trust him daily that we’re on the right path. If He changes our hearts in the future, we are certainly open to that, but for now, this is that path we’ve chosen. It certainly has its share of challenges, but is more rewarding than I ever thought possible. Someday I’ll reflect on how my heart has changed in the area of education, but that’s for another day.
If you’re thinking of home educating and aren’t sure where to begin or if it’s for you, I offer you the encouragement that you can do it! It’s certainly not for every family, but if it’s even in your heart a little, I encourage you to pursue it. Feel free to contact me with any questions.
Please note: as much as I’d love professional looking photos on my blog, these are just straight up pictures from my iPhone. Real life in real-time, small moment living at it’s best.
How about you? Even if you don’t home educate, comment below with some of your memories from your school year.