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Homeschooling Hula: How we Homeschool

It’s back to school time and everywhere you look there are advice columns on getting your kids back to school in the cheapest, easiest, best-outfitted way possible. But some families, like ours, have been schooling year round. If you look with another perspective, our kids haven’t ever been to school at all. We learn as a family in a way that suits us best. Want to take a peek into our homeschool day? Come on in!

Morning Routines

If there’s one word that describes my approach to coordinating learning experiences for my kids, that word would be fluid. Nothing is set in stone, and everything is open to adjustment if and when that is necessary. However, I have been working towards having a firmer morning routine because if things are too fluid we find ourselves sitting in our pyjamas at 4pm, with sticky faces and fuzzy teeth. So now we have “morning jobs” and we stick to them: breakfast, getting dressed, brushing teeth, washing up, making beds and “doing Fred”. What’s Fred? Life of Fred, a totally refreshing take on math curriculum that is really working for us right now.

counting matchbox cars

Project-Based Homeschooling

By 10am or so we’re usually finished our morning routine and ready to dig into something interesting. The main part of the day is usually occupied by some kind of project or outing, generally set up and planned by me. Maybe we’re going to our CSA farm to weed carrots and pick blackberries, or painting with watercolours, meeting friends at the park, going swimming, making a craft, going to ballet class, reading stories all morning, trying out a science experiment, playing a math game or baking something in the kitchen. My girls are still young, ages 6 and 3, so we don’t spend much of the day doing sit-down work or intensive projects. At this stage, play is learning and learning is play, and most of it is hands-on, real world stuff.

playing with magnets

The End of the Day

Afternoons are usually left open, like the back door swinging wide in the summer breeze. Sometimes there’s no afternoon left by the time we get home from our outing. Other times we putter for hours after lunch, doing a little of this and a little of that. Some days I might even do a little writing while the girls enact an elaborate role-playing game in the back yard. Afternoons are generally prime time for getting through the housework: running a load of laundry through, cleaning the toilet and generally attending to the homemaker part of my role. It’s not glamorous, but somebody’s got to do it, right? We almost always end the day with the tried and true bedtime routine of bath, stories and cuddles.

That’s the big-picture view of our everyday as a homeschooling family, but as in parenting itself there are lots of small choices that go on behind the scenes every day. There’s a long list of resources that inform the decisions I make, always tempered by a big dose of intuition and a lot of fluid “run with it when it’s working” that can change my plans on the fly.

In this new Homeschooling Hula series I will outline some of the resources I’ve used for the major subjects (math, reading, science, etc), what I’ve learned about mentoring my child’s learning so far (and we are admittedly on the very early end of this journey!), and some of the really inspiring ideas and philosophies that I hope to move towards as we progress together.

What is one thing you would really like to know about homeschooling?

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{ 2 comments… add one }

  • Stacy @ Sweet Sky September 3, 2012, 7:46 pm

    Our days have ended up being very similar (my kids are now 9 and almost 6). I am able to consistently wake up before the kids, without them getting up the instant I wake (YAY!). I use the time to meditate, run, or write. Each kid wakes up on their own, generally between 7 and 8. They play while I make breakfast and then we eat and clear dishes. Then it’s “Together Time!” (generally starts around 9 AM), which is basically when we do projects or I read to them. That lasts for a couple of hours until snack time. Then they go outside for a while or we head out for the afternoon or we go back to projects. We eat again around between 1 and 2 PM.

    I am pretty shot in the afternoons, especially if we’ve been out and about, so we also have something called “Our Own Time,” which is when we each do our own things (generally the kids do something together). I set myself a timer so that the afternoon doesn’t melt away. :)

    The days go better if I make a rough schedule in the morning at breakfast, so I try to do that most days — just creating blocks of time for various activities. Things are flexible and move around if needed but writing them down really helps the flow of our days!

    Looking forward to more from this series…

    Best,
    Stacy
    Stacy @ Sweet Sky´s last [type] ..Amazing

    • michelle September 4, 2012, 10:44 pm

      Great minds think alike! :) It’s a structure that works really well for homelearning, I think. When my girls were younger I was always trying to get us all out the door asap in the mornings, but now it works better to use that time for the things we want to concentrate and work on.

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