23 August 2011

The Way We Learn

Since this post has been so popular over the past year, I thought I would take a moment to share how our schooling has been tweaked and changed as the kids have gotten older.  I still fully believe in the unschooling philosophy, but it is interesting to see how different it can look for each child and in each given year.

Grace is a voracious reader.  She would read every moment of the day if I let her (and often times I do!).  Because she reads so much, I have a hard time being aware of what she is reading and how much she is internalizing.  (To be clear, I only keep quality books on hand [thanks to my wonderful mother who keeps a steady flow of books coming our way!] and carefully watch what she gets at the library, so this isn't a question of content so much a quantity!) To help me keep up and to help her better understand the outlines of story writing, she has started keeping a "Reading Log."  This has also been a fun way to see just how much and how quickly she is reading!

Math has not come as easily to her (genetics!!), so we have been using the wonderful "Math-U-See" program.  I highly recommend it for a strong math basis and for the more hands on learner.  As far as unschooling math goes, I must say that Grace is great at practical application.  She can do well multiplying a recipe or counting her money.

A rather unconventional thing I am doing is trying to morph a more classical education ( I really like Designing Your Own Classical Curriculum) into the unschooled life style (we love John Holt!).  Some people claim that the two methods are mutually exclusive, but I actually think they blend quite nicely!

We are starting Story of the World history this year, as I love the read aloud format.  I also love how you can expand on the areas that really interest the child, while skimming areas that aren't of such great interest.

We are also starting Prima Latina this year.  Latin is the root of much of our language as well as being the language of the Church, so I think it is important to learn.  When I went to college, I was determined to learn Latin, but I failed miserably because I had no foundation.  I was so surprised by the (mostly homeschooled!) students for whom Latin was practically Kindergarten work!  They had started at an early age and had a real, working knowledge of the language.  I really want to give my kids that foundation.

Grace really loves workbooks.  She flies ahead in her lessons, because she thinks filling in the answers is so fun!  She has the Wordly Wise workbook set as a vocabulary builder and is having fun with that.  She also has Maps, Charts, and Graphs book which she enjoys looking through and answering.  I have been surprised by how much she enjoys these and since they work so well for her, we will keep at it!

Since she loves workbooks so much, I got her the Getty-Dubay handwriting series.  I like the look of their writing and she enjoys the book, so it is perfect for us!

When all written out, this seems like a large amount of work, but in reality, it is not at all.  She works on her school work in the morning and is finished by lunch time.  She is free in the afternoon to pursue whatever is interesting her.  Usually, she can be found with her nose in a book or we walk to the library for a new stack of books!  We are looking forward to many field trips with friends and our co-op this year.

I love being free to indulge the individual personalities of my children.  Grace is as happy homeschooling as Christopher is at school!


M. Sheiko said...

Great post! I'm still reading Suzie Andres' Little Way of Home Schooling and LOVING it. Do you have a copy yet?

M. Sheiko said...

I got the Getty-Dubay handwriting book for myself and LOVE it! :o)

Blessed Beyond a Doubt... said...

Happy Homeschooling! It is a true blessing your dd loves to read.