We are finding our way within our homeschooling regime here in Arizona. Going in I knew what type of learners I had and where everyone was at, I knew what type of homeschooling I wanted to do and I was sure it would go as planned. HARDY HAR HAR.
What I have found is that the type of education I wanted to bring to the home, Waldorf, doesn’t really work for me in the home environment. I was surprised to see how disengaged the girls were from the Waldorf methodology once they were removed from it. So we have had to adjust there. I still like the principles and we are still using much of the Waldorf feeling to our work but we have added more structure in the math department. We are trying Math U See because I could tell the girls had not mastered any of the math concepts they learned. They knew the basics but could not consistently get answers correct.
We are also using a supplemental spelling workbook. Like a lot of things children learn I think it is driven by the parents expectations. For example Jason and I decided the girls would play a musical instrument, no question, no arguments just music was part of the deal when they signed up to be our kids:) Math is part of the deal and so is proper grammar and spelling. So we are working on those areas and adding in lots of science extras.
Once a month the girls all do a science lab and get a months worth of science material to work on. We are also taking exciting classes from the Arizona Science Center. Some of their upcoming classes include Catapults (where they make a working catapult of their own), Chemical Reactions and More (more hands on mixing of chemicals), and Measurement Matters (where they study the different types of measuring).
Last week Piper and Lela came up with a calendar for themselves and they started 3 clubs. One of them was “story club.” When it is club day they write and illustrate a story for their younger siblings. This was soooo coool. They did it on their own, I didn’t even know they were doing it. They wrote stories, included quotation marks and proper punctuation and drew pictures. Then they read them to their assigned little. This is because they are READERS! They are learning all those annoying grammar and punctuation rules just from being readers. How awesome is that??
I recently signed the girls up for Khan Academy. I did not intend to use the computer for learning (other than research etc.) but Lela needs more material and she loves the computer. So we are going to give it a go. I am even learning some new things on Khan Academy! Lifetime learning is good for you, at least that is what my mother in law keeps telling me (she is learning Spanish right now!).
Another development that I did not expect is that Phoebe is learning math. She knows all her numbers and is successfully completing the beginning math book in Mathusee. She cannot identify her letters but numbers seem to be her thing (I blame Jason:). I like the gentle approach to education (hence the Waldorf) allowing the child to really be ready to learn. Lela is the only one who is really ready for her cup to be filled but she has been about 6-9 months ahead of Piper. Piper is getting her cup ready and I think in another 6 months she will be ready, so for now I work with her and encourage her and she gets her work done. Lela on the other hand seems to be a cup I can’t fill (which is awesome and why I am adding Khan to her bag of tricks).
All in all we are doing great and loving homeschooling. Piper, Landis and Lela are all taking piano from a new teacher that they adore, Landis and Phoebe are taking the “Let’s Play Music” class that Piper and Lela took. Piper, Landis and Phoebe are all taking gymnastics and having a blast. Lela feels somewhat left out of the “sports” bag but as soon as it cools down she will be back to hiking with me and I think she will find that running/hiking is her solitary sport (just like her mom). We may give family golf a go this year too, we have a great children’s course right down the road. Plus we may find a new horseback riding place closer to us that will allow her to do more with horses.