I was happily knitting away on my Wispy Cardi yesterday (a knitting project to which I am feeling strangely monogamous), with kids running hither and thither, when, out of the blue, Marc asks me, “When are you going to start school?”
Oh, shoot! I had forgotten about school! Well, not forgotten really. But, is it just me, or did the summer just fly by? So, last night, I did some serious thinking and planning…. and internet shopping. Now I am really excited to get started! (which won’t be until the second week of September….)
As you know, I claim to be an unschooler, which is mostly true. But, unlike the media reports about crazy unschoolers you may have heard, I actually plan out my unschooling and take a very thoughtful approach. This is how I intend to operate this little unschool in the foothills:
amblesideonline.org – We are on year four of this incredibly wonderful curriculum. Being unschoolers, we don’t follow the 36 week schedule, but we read nearly every book on the reading list throughout the year. I cannot reccomend this reading list enough. We have read most of the books for years 1, 2 and 3 and have loved 98% of them!
Making Math Meaningful – this is a fairly new addition to our program. Last year, I saw some gaps in our education when it came to mathematics. Some of the older kids had hit a plateau and it was time to get help. I picked Making Math Meaningful after reading their website and downloading some sample pages. I love the philosophy behind the books, which is, in short, that math shouldn’t be a memorization thing, but rather a concept thing. If a child understands why 2+2=4, then they won’t have to memorize it. The lessons are short, the concepts are well presented and we spent last year enjoying math. (I really thought that was impossible, but I was wrong!) I am excited to get the books for the other kids, now that I know that we will use them.
Foreign Language – Last year we started learning American Sign Language as our “foreign language”. I can’t believe how fast the kids picked it up and how much we all have enjoyed learning and using it. We used “Signing Time” videos last year, and have exhausted our library’s meager inventory of them. The complete set from the website is a little out of budget, so this is one thing I am not sure on. I really want to keep the kids going on this, but don’t know which direction to go. I know that I want to continue to use videos. I will have to pray about this one.
Of course we also have knitting, crocheting, cooking, living, playing and loving on the schedule. Plus, Noah is dismantling an old motor, Abby and Beka are taking piano lessons and Emma is learning her ABC’s. Then there is chess group at the library, taking care of the farm, helping Papa with home improvement projects, drawing, painting, clay, beads…..
There. Settled. I feel better. Now, for a little respite with my current passion –