Welcome to the first day of the Back To Homeschool Blog Hop! I am participating in this blog hop with fellow crew members.
For the next 5 days over 70 crew members will be talking about different subjects pertaining to "Back to Homeschool" I am participating in 4 of the topics being explored. The schedule for the week for me is as follows:
Monday: Homeschool Methods (Today): Talking about what homeschool methods we use, why we have choose them, and some of our experiences with these methods.
Tuesday: Homeschool Curriculum: I will be outlining our curriculum choices for the year, including what classes we choose for our first year of homeschooling a High Schooler!
Wednesday: Homeschool Planning: I will be sharing how I plan for our upcoming school year, and giving some helpful advice on planning.
Thursday: Homeschool Classroom: Since we have already shared what our schoolroom looks like for the year, I am finally sharing what our sensory motor room looks like instead!
Through our journey homeschooling I have used many different methods for homeschooling. As with any method you choose there are always pros and cons. I have found a mixture of different methods that seems to fit us great in this season of our lives instilling the values we feel we want our children learning. Today I am going to talk about the current methods we use, and also share some of our experiences using them.
Current Homeschool Methods
Last year was our first year using primarily Montessori Methods, in the beginning of our journey I read lots of books to understand the method as much as I could, since Montessori Education was a completely new to me. I am taking Karen Tylers Montessori Class, and I have watched the complete Margret Homphrey series which is an amazing resource. I love so many things about the Montessori method and incorporate many aspects into our daily life and school.
There were a few things that drew me into Montessori some of which were,
1. Emphasis on independence/Freedom with limits-
From what I have experienced with our 6 kids is that each child has this drive in them to do everything possible for themselves, it was so simple yet made a huge impact as to how we now raise our children. We have stopped so many battles by teaching the younger kids to do it themselves, I wished we had started using Montessori years before with the kids.
Now I will admit if you would have asked me 10 years ago if I would let my 3 or 4 year old use a sharp cutting utensil to help cut vegetables for dinner, I probably would have laughed or maybe asked if you were crazy lol. Now with VERY careful supervision and a good demonstration on how to properly use sharp objects my children have a love for helping to be a part of our household. It has also taught them that no matter what age they are they can be trusted to be as independent as possible, and makes them feel like an important helper in the house.
2. Mixed age classrooms-
With 6 children at the beginning ranging from infant to teenager I had tried split classes with the kids for years, but eventually it seemed so silly for me to make 3 different volcanoes a year because they each studied about them at different times. Having all the kids together in 1 classroom has really saved me time in not having to do things multiple times, not to mention that the older kids find satisfaction in helping a younger one with something they remember once learning.
3. Teaching of Peace and Respect-
Now I am not judging anyone, but it saddens me when I look at the level of respect most people are taught now a days. Even before I found Montessori I worked hard to instill respect in my kids, the montessori methods intwines peace and respect into their everyday enviornment. They are taught to care for their environment, show respect to their materials, pets, plants, and other children.They are also taught peace through things like the peace table, and using a peace rose to take turns speaking when resolving conflicts.
Let me set the record straight, not all things are Montessori in our house, some examples: we have had to put a gate going upstairs to prevent little ones from going into the kids rooms and making a big mess of them it does not matter how many times we redirect them or explain they cannot go up there. I also have cupboard locks on my cleaners because the little boys still would still spray the whole bottle of cleaner on the kitchen floor if left unlocked just trying to help you know ;) Maria Montessori did not believe children should have imaginative play, which is something we do encourage.
Unit Studies are an in depth study on a particular subject that is incorporated through out multiple subjects. We usually do 1-2 unit studies per month on topics we are exploring.
For instance we are currently studying about Oceans during our ocean study the kids will:
-Practicewriting/spellingocean themed words ex. Starfish, ocean, really whatever words I feel would be a challenge to each of the individual kids.
-In bible we would read about Noah and the flood, and probably do a fun craft/activity/play or some other fun thing to remember the story.
-Read ocean books like Magic School Bus On the Ocean Floor or ocean stories from the readers we own.
-Ocean themedarts/crafts anything from treasure chests, to watercolor fish, to duck tape octopus.
-Work on Ocean nomenclature cards for vocabulary and language practice.
-Complete fun ocean themed coloring pages, crosswords, word searches, color by number, etc to work on if they are done for the day or waiting for mom to finish working with someone else.
-Kidscook ocean themed food like Octopus hot dogs and noodles, sailboat sandwiches, beach cake.
-Learn about different ocean explorers in history
-Study ocean animals/ecosystems by using hands on learning, experiments, field trips, videos, lap books, or anything else I feel the kids would enjoy for Science.
Here are some pictures from our ocean unit study last year so you can get an idea of what some aspects of our unit studies look like.
Decorate your own treasure chest
Octopus on Noodles
Sailboat Deviled Eggs
Ocean animal fishing with a puzzle
Ocean Ecosystem felt play set.
Spooning blue marbles onto a fish mat.
Freeform art on the shelves to be used whenever they want. Ocean themed stickers and paper punches, colored pencils and small sheets of paper.
Ocean Sensory Bin
Ocean animal estimation
Under the sea Dominoes.
Make predictions and then test the tray of items to find out what sinks and what floats.
Then use straws to blow them across the little pool (great sensory motor practice)
We even scale things down for the little ones :)
Ocean in a bottle was a fun activity for the kids to make!
Charlotte Mason education uses living books instead of textbooks, living books are books that help a topic "come alive." We frequently incorporate living books into our studies, it really helps the kids to understand some topics so much more!
-The Charlotte Mason believed that children should spend time outdoors in all weather and in different environments, interacting with God and all his wondeful creations on earth.
We usually take weekly nature walks (during the non snowy times) sometimes our nature walks will take hours and other times an hour on the walk may seem like an eternity, and I cannot wait to leave, we just go with the flow and be prepared for things not to work out the way we had hoped. The kids also learn so much just from just playing in the back yard, we use these opportunities to educate them in the environment which they already live.
Stop back tomorrow as I will tell all about the homeschool curriculums we are using for the new school year, which includes curriculum choices for our first year homeschooling a High Schooler!!
Don't forget to stop over and see what fellow crew members had to say about the methods they choose for homeschooling!