Saturday, May 26, 2012

Home Schooling Retrospect and Next Year

First WHAT'S ON OUR SHELVES for the Summer~

Various Practical Life Skills activities, the Wee Folk Art home school guides (see below) and participating in the Library Reading Program. Another fun summer activity has been to designate Friday's as Adventure Day. Yesterday was our first one. We went to the Fountains and it was a HUGE hit! Post coming soon about our Summer Activities including photos. 

This past year, we home schooled Eli. I used the Montessori style, which is a lot of hands on activities, including nomenclature cards. As I'm looking forward to next year, I've been assessing what worked and what didn't. In all honestly, Eli tolerated the nomenclature cards- 3 part cards designed to teach about various topics. They have pictures with words. For example, there were about a dozen springtime cards. The tulip card included 1) a picture of a tulip with the word tulip, 2) just a picture of a tulip, and then 3) the word tulip. What I found was that Eli responded MUCH better by walking across the street, with me, to look at the neighbors springtime flowers, which included tulips. Instead of only seeing a picture of a bud, we watched a little tree in our backyard, almost daily, to see the changes in the growing bud into a leaf. Now, I know nomenclature cards are only a supplement to learning and even Montessori says GET OUTSIDE and do hands-on learning. However, when learning about Africa, it isn't like we can just go outside to do so. I'm now tweaking the home school plan for next year to include a lot more hands on activities and utilizing Google Earth. I have been collecting books to cover our various topics. I'm pulling together a list of activities from KidsSoup.com- which I kept vacillating over the cost, $27 per year. I finally just did it and it is well worth the price! I have Toobs of animals for the different land biomes. I bought Practical Life Skills activities to help teach sorting and pouring. I even splurged on some really cute spiral tongs. I have my list of math manipulatives we need to purchase.

BUT, the most important part being added to home schooling is the beautiful find of the Wee Folk Art Home School Guides- thank you Jessica for sharing! OMG! These guides are amazing and can be easily incorporated whether one is home schooling or not. It is Waldorf based and focuses on literature and creative activities. THIS WAS THE PIECE MISSING FROM OUR HOME SCHOOL! The guides are based on the seasons, which I had already lined out next year's learning accordingly, so they fit perfectly. There's a list of books for each season. It's been a wonderful treasure hunt to find these books used- just buying them off amazon.com would eliminate half the fun, even though I'm sure I will have to purchase a few that way. Also, our local library has many of the books.

I'm so excited about these guides, we're starting them now. All of the curriculum is spiral learning- meaning I can reuse the same materials each year, just going deeper with each topic, or picking a different aspect to focus on. For example, geography this year, we will focus on biomes and animals for each continent. I'm fairly certain there will be some Putamayo CD's in there as well. And cooking some kind of traditional food, or at least eating at an ethnic restaurant.

So that's what we've been up to, at least on the home schooling front!

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