I’m always interested in how others homeschool, so today I thought I would start showing you how we go about things. This is my eighth year of homeschooling. I started when Benjamin was in kindergarten; he is now in seventh grade. Both kids had short experiences in public school, but we learned quickly that public school just wasn’t the path we were meant to take.
I started out with a very traditional homeschooling method and that has worked well, but as the kids get older I find we are moving more and more to an unschooling approach in regards to science and history. Unschooling is basically a child led approach to learning. It is interest driven rather than book driven. I may not have the exact definition here, but that is pretty much the gist of what we do in those areas.
As for subjects like math and language arts (grammar, spelling, etc..), I tend to stick to a more traditional route that keeps the kids in a routine. As many of you dear readers know, routine and structure are super important to our special needs household. Keeping these subjects structured helps us to be able to experience more freedom in other areas.
I’ve gone through many different teacher planners over the years, and I still haven’t figured out exactly what I like best. Currently, I am using the Happy Planner Teacher Planner. I don’t dislike it, but it certainly isn’t my favorite planner. I would prefer something a little less bulky as I only have two students. I’m considering the May Designs Teacher Plan Book for next year, but I haven’t made my decision yet.
I go through our curriculum once a week and create lesson plans from it.
With much of our curriculum there are pre-made lesson plans, but I have never used them as written. I find that it is important to really tailor the learning to each individual person. Pre-made lesson plans are great in a classroom of many students, but when you homeschool you have more freedom to play with it. I take things out and add things in based on the strengths and weaknesses of each child.
As I go through my weekly planning, I take any worksheets or papers we need and I place them in corresponding file folders for the day. Each child has a folder for each day. This has really helped our organization. Every morning, I simply reach into the folders and grab what we need. I’ve been doing this since the very start. Yes, indeed, those file folders in the picture date all the way back to the kindergarten years.
We don’t have mountains of school supplies all over our house. I’ve seen many homeschoolers who have paper and pencils stacked everywhere, but we just don’t have the space for that. And, well, with the sensory issues that flow through our house, the less clutter the better.
Each kid has their own pencil box with supplies. They are fairly large for pencil boxes and they hold all the essentials to get the job done. I bet you can even tell whose is whose.
Aside from the pencil boxes, I have some books on a shelf, a storage box with the current curriculum books and a small white board with markers that sits by our dining room table (a.k.a. our classroom), and a craft bin (just one) with glue and scissors and all that type of stuff.
I think we are minimalist homeschoolers, but that is ok. We make great use of the public library and our imaginations. The kids also each have an iPad and they share a laptop. We don’t focus on too much learning with the tech devices, though, because I don’t want the kids to become reliant on something that statistically is bound to fail.
And I’m one of those crazy homeschoolers that still makes the kids write in cursive.
So there you have it, our homeschooling in a nutshell. If you are a homeschooler, I would love to hear from your. What approach do you have to planning and organization?