This is my first year keeping to any kind of homeschool schedule. Last year when my daughter was 3 we tried it, but when my son developed food issues (both weight gain and food allergies) that took precedence so we just did what we were already doing, lots of free play, read-alouds, and the occasion circle time. I first discovered the Wee Folk Art curriculum almost two years ago. It looked like so much fun. I was especially excited because it was a loosely Waldorf based curriculum, which at the time was what I thought I wanted. (more on that in a later post, but for now just let me say, homeschooling is not looking at all like I expected it would).
I began slowly, the first year just doing the read aloud’s and not much else. Then last summer, shortly after my daughter turned four, I decided to try again, this time trying out the summer curriculum Ponds and Puddles. We did some of the crafts this time and a couple of field trips. But when fall came, I wanted to be a little more structured.
We typically homeschool two or three days a week, more if my daughter wants to. We mostly focus on doing the suggested read-alouds, both the fiction and non-fiction. We’ve mostly been able to make do with the library as our book source, which occasionally requires substitutions. We’ve begun working in the activities and field trips as we are able.
The big additions to our year have been adding Get Ready for the Code books, Games for Math and Come Look With Me: World of Play for art appreciation. My daughter’s interest is entirely unpredictable. She seems to hate math games, so I don’t push them. She goes in spurts with Get Ready for the Code. Some days she loves it, but she seems to struggle with her fine motor skills so I think writing is a long way off yet, so while I will suggest that we work on her writing, I let her decide if we are going to do it, at least for now. But I’ve discovered that just through reading aloud some alphabet themed books (with have a set with a book for each letter) and playing with fridge magnets, she now seems to recognize most of her letters and some of her numbers. I will give some credit for that to the kids Pandora station and They Might Be Giants. Their number album, Here Come the 123’s has made numbers so much fun for Thea and we sing the songs often. I may have to put it on my supply list for later this year.
She loves Come Look With Me, which surprises me because I thought that it seemed to mature for her. She asks dozens of questions about the pictures, most of which I can’t answer, but she is fascinated. The curriculum includes a poem or long rhyme to memorize each month. The first one she seemed to like and knew within days. But she is fighting the second one. I think she actually knows it, but doesn’t want to recite for me for some reason. She has a great memory, she just has to care enough to use it. (Can I just tell you how much other flotsam she has memorized including ridiculous songs off of Pandora and common phrases I use, both flattering and unflattering)
Our co-op started out with a curriculum we liked, only to discover after we purchased some of the materials, that they are public access only for individual families, not groups. While I realize that we are five families working in virtual isolation, we felt that the ethical thing to do would be to either stop using the curriculum or buy a license. The co-op license costs more than any of us are willing to spend, so we have decided to start using the Wee Folk Art Harvest Time curriculum with our co-op as well. This will actually produce less work for me, and I’m hoping make my daughter more excited by some aspects of the curriculum, like memorization.
So far so good, I’ve enjoying the journey and my daughter seems to love learning, as long as I don’t make it a chore for her. She also seems to have realized that learning and school can go on anywhere, from the car (we do some narration and reading comprehension questions while en route places), to our kitchen and living room or the local park. I love that she is realizing so early on in life that learning isn’t and shouldn’t be confined to a desk in a classroom.
So homeschoolers out there, how is your year going so far? What is your favorite part? What is your children’s favorite part?