I never realized that there were so many different ways to homeschool, before I began my crazy journey that is home education. I ignorantly imagined mothers were provided with workbooks, denim jumpers, ultra-conservative Christian attitudes, and pencils once they declared their intent to teach their children at home.
I have since realized that I was an idiot. (It’s occasionally good to realize this as it keeps one humble and centered.)
There are, I have discovered, as many different ways to homeschool as there are reasons to homeschool, which number up in the millions. There are schools on-line, delight-led learning, the Charlotte Mason philosophy, the Classical methodology, traditional homeschooling, eclectic style, and many more. If these names sound foreign sounding, don’t be alarmed. Even those of us quasi-fluent in homeschooling terminology can get a bit confused.
Here at our house, we do ‘Unit Studies.’ Basically, I create learning units about a particular subject and we immerse ourselves in that specific area until we have either learned everything we need to, or until we are so sick of it we want to vomit. I’m kidding. (Mostly.)
Last year and this year I have alternated geography units with science units. For example, right now we are learning about Europe. For spelling, my third and fourth grade aged children have words such as: Belgium, mountain, Renaissance, fjords, medieval, castle, and a few others.
For geography the kids have colored in maps of Europe and learned where the Mediterranean Sea is, plus hopefully how to spell it. Not to mention, we try to play board games like Ticket to Ride, European version, or Ten Days in Europe. These games help my kids learn where certain countries are much faster than memorizing map facts.
For history we made a huge timeline that stretches from the living room into the kitchen and it is marked into the periods: Ancient Greeks, Roman Empire, the Middle Ages, the Renaissance, the Age of Exploration, the Industrial Revolution, WWI, and WWII. Whenever we learn about an important event or famous person we jot down that information in the appropriate slot.
And for art we have done different projects that relate to Europe. One project we did was to make stained ‘glass’ windows much like the cathedrals had during Medieval and Renaissance times.
Notice my son’s looks quite similar to Optimus Prime from Transformers. Evidently his cathedral was “Our Lady of the Blessed Autobots.”
Additionally, we try to cook and eat European food, go to places that highlight European culture (Yay, for Octoberfest! It’s fun and, now, educational), and read lots of books based in Europe. Right now we are reading Heidi, but next week we start Journey to the Center of the Earth.
Pretty much, it is all Europe, all the time at our house for the next couple of months.
However, not even I can take Europe and create something mathematical out of it, so we have math workbooks. My kids also do grammar worksheets most days because my greatest fear in life is that they will write sentences like “They is gone with there freinds.” Oh, shudder.
So, in a nutshell of a blog post, that is how we homeschool at our house. I’m sure most of you think we’re slightly crazy and ask, “Why doesn’t that woman just send her kids to public school!?!”
There are days, I tell you, when I ask myself that same question. But then I usually take two ibuprofen and watch an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, then magically everything is okay once again.
Ciao! (Which is one way they say good-bye in Europe.)