Thomas begins kindergarten this year at home. Last week he was asked at the library what grade he is going into, and his response was that he was “going into Level 2”. Our sweet librarian paused and smiled, working that out in her head.
Hmm. Maybe it's time to get a dialogue about this rolling a bit more.
I haven’t said much here on the blog about us homeschooling, but I want to. It's where I'm at and I want to write from where I'm at and meet you there.
I wrote it all out yesterday, so I could explain some things. I just typed typed typed all those thoughts, and they just kept coming and coming and wow. It was obscenely long. Obscene. AND I actually walked away from the computer, hopped in the shower, and thought as I was shampooing my hair that I was just barely getting started. When it comes to life choices and sharing it online my ego jumps into my hands. And when that happens I'm forced to have that difficult conversation with my ego that we all love him but he's going to have to shut up please.
I will keep those long thoughts about homeschooling to myself for now and share with you the small ones. No big feels. Concrete stuff. All dirt, no dazzle. For me to do this I have to picture my writer self carefully writing small words on a piece of paper with one of those massive, over-sized pencils.
Our 1st day of school is August 17th. All our curriculum materials are ready. Our goals are printed. We're excited to get this party started & have a touch of fanfare like, but not like, our friends who are going to public or private school. Homeschooling is largely different because we already do so much of what we will be doing, especially at this young age. It isn't as if our routine will flip a switch & see a dramatic difference once we are in school. It's simply more of what we do but with the dial turned up and with a road map in hand.
We're going to continue keeping things weird.
We will read profusely. Thomas will read to me. I will read to him. A huge chunk of my focus is going to be in giving every opportunity in our days for the boys to explore language, ideas, cultures, history, art, science-- all the things -- through books. In addition, we have formal reading lessons to extend and complete Thomas's skill set.
We will explore writing. There's a big mix here. Over half of our educational goals are specifically rooted in language arts. Communication is key. Reading, writing, listening and speaking--these are going to unlock learning in all other areas. We will be practicing handwriting with a workbook, and then exploring all sorts of writing purposes and formats: journaling, notes, letters, stories, etc.
We will build a foundation of math. I have an unorthodox system for how we are going to be tackling math skills. It's complicated & too much to get into here. Suffice it to say it's important to me that no matter the school setting Thomas is in next year, he feels great about math and is very familiar with a wide base of math terms and processes.
We will learn practical skills. I'll have Thomas in the kitchen with me cooking, outside watering plants, at the table folding clothes. He will have chores as well as new responsiblities. He'll come alongside me to work out problems. We'll talk about next steps and what we need and how we need to fix what is in front of us and evaluate our work. We will practice doing things well, doing things carefully, and doing things to completion.
We will do nothing. The boys will play in dirt. I'll encourage them to go outside and make something out of nothing (literally because do not have many toys out there). We will be radical by keeping things simple, so that the boys have lots of time to form their own ideas and agendas.
We will let Thomas lead. Thomas is deeply interested in learning. We are going to run with that. He practices handwriting on his own. He creates math problems and solves them. He reads books to his brothers without me asking. He begs for more read aloud time. Current fixation is ancient history. When he wants to know something, he asks. When he gets overwhelmed learning something, he takes a break. I am responsible for making sure there are no gaps and so filling in those places he doesn't even know to ask about, but largely I will be encouraging a lot of this student-prompted learning and making lots of space for it in our days.
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So there's the landscape of our homeschooling. I'm incredibly passionate about learning, and I feel really blessed that homeschooling fits in right now with our family's needs. This is a new chapter in our lives and we are excited to dive right in & get our hands messy with the process!