Well, you’ve probably learned by now that everyone does things their own way and we all get frustrated when we try to follow someone else’s plan that we don’t quite understand or doesn’t work for us. So, we’re wanting you to take what we have here and adjust each thing to fit your own needs and goals by following these simple guidelines
1 – Decide what your looking to accomplish
Accomplishment – I want to use Dr. Seuss to advance my kids learning in a fun way.
If you’ve been reading anything about our food sources lately you probably have heard the term – monocropping – and you may understand that planting all of the same crop in giant fields isn’t good for the soil or for us to eat. If you can grasp that and agree that a garden full of diverse foods with beneficial insects eating the bad ones is better for us to consume maybe you can visualize then how monocropping of children in government schools as being just as unhealthy as monocropped foods.
There is absolutely no way to ensure that all children in a 3rd grade class know all the exact same material by the end of a given school year because we perceive and remember information in our own way. Let that sink in and let it allow you to advance on this learning journey with the freedom to teach, learn and share all of the uniqueness that surrounds your very own life. Stop trying to fit a curriculum into what you’re doing or someone else’s ideas and begin to take ideas that fit your goals.
For each lesson we venture to accomplish our main goal is to allow the unique nature of our kid’s brains to grasp the concepts in their own way and understand how to move them along a series of activities that will enhance the concept they are learning. Hopefully, many concepts rolled into one fun activity.
For this How To I’m going to use our Dr. Seuss Summer Spectacular as an example.
Accomplishment: As always this is a series of things generally with a main focus.
Main Focus: Working on our reading skills
Additional Activities: Incorporate, games, math, puzzles, themed foods, crafts, gardening and add a bunch of friends.
2 – Find a plan (outline) that you can use as a spring board
The www is an amazing! There are so many things already done for you to print and copy that you won’t need to start from scratch for everything. Starting with someone else’s work and adjusting it is very helpful.
Here’s our current Dr. Seuss plan – I’m updating it for summer 2016 so it’s going to be going through some changes but you’ll get the idea.
Learning how to set up either a hard copy filing system or online system will be really helpful and depending on your personality type, the number of children you have or other variables yours is going to look different than someone else’s. I started with spreadsheets years ago because that is my husband’s brain format and that’s how I get him to understand why I need money for something 🙂 I’ve really come to enjoy google drive because I don’t lose it and I can access it from my phone for library lists and other things.
For the younger kids we’ll use the crafts and activities from last year, already saved in our spreadsheet. Another reason I love spreadsheets is they stick around to be used again each year!
3 – Do some research toward your goal
Currently I have 5 kiddos in my care that are; 3 yo granddaughter, 4 yo friend’s son, 8 yo son, 9 yo daughter and 17 yo son. You’re probably thinking that Dr. Seuss isn’t going to work for everyone BUT you’d be wrong. While my 17 yo won’t be fully participating he will help with games, reading stories and he really listens in when I’m reading. This year I’m going to have him help add more science to our summer.
3 year old goals: have fun, learn to participate obediently and be nice. she’s learning colors and shapes and will love the gak and other gross Seuss stuff we do.
4 year old goals: He’s learning all his letters so we’ll assign him a few words for our 7 week study, he loves math so I’ll find some of math activities on the www and find ways to use our math tools in a Seuss way.
8 year old goals: He has some learning challenges – auditory processing disorder – that we’re working on and I’m hoping the complicated words will be really fun for us to say back and forth while he learns to listen and pronounce them correctly. He needs some physical games and science experiments, hopefully engineering type things, to round this out.
9 year old goals: She loves crafts and making fun food. She was able to read some Dr. Seuss last year so I’m excited about helping her build confidence when she sees the progress she’s had. She struggles some with math concepts so playing math games should improve her confidence.
17 year old goals: Learning to lead with kindness, reading out loud with inflection, (that’s harder than you think!) doing research for science activities and games. So far in the 10 years that we’ve had him his best learning takes place when he’s sharing it with others. We also need to do a bit of literary analysis using Seuss – that will take some research and I’ll have to write that out.
4 – Now Make Your Own Plan
I generally start with our family calendar. This year in order to focus more time on our 17 year old we’ve eliminated some of our busyness so our calendar is pretty clear. Twenty five years of following the “normal” 9 week quarter, 18 week semester, 36 week school year I’ve spent the last two years refining what works best for us.
It fascinates me in a sad way to see how the government school agenda drives so much of our society instead of the needs of the individual family.
Here’s what we’ve found in the last two years that works for our lifestyle and the seasonal cycle of our South Texas weather.
Summer is HOT and we go swimming alot – normally we do an 8 or 9 week summer session with friends but this year we have a June wedding so we’re doing 7 weeks with friends.
We take September mostly off from group things and focus on getting our new chores in order, working on our food forest and this year we’ll be canning!
Our Fall session is 9 weeks that finishes before Thanksgiving because in the homeschool world this is when people start flaking out and doing family and community stuff. Which is awesome so why be burdened down with co-op while you’re trying to teach your kid some great service skills?
Our winter break is full of gardening also because, well, this is South Texas and there’s spinach, lettuce, onions and potatoes to plant and harvest 🙂
Winter session begins after the New Year and goes for 9 weeks.
We take March off and usually go camping for a week!!
Then we have a 9 week spring session.
June is a month off because we have lots to water and we don’t always get rain!
Then we’re back to our Summer session 🙂
It’s taken a few years of not doing the normal homeschool based on government school co-op model but this year we’ve found a number of families that are going to join us in our family focused homesteading, homeschool gatherings.
Let’s wrap this up
In order for you to find your own way into homeschooling freedom you have to start with some goals in mind. Next either find a plan someone already made up or create a general outline of goals and some activities. Follow this with a pile of research from both the www and friends. Finish it up by setting up a calendar and adding the activities and days work into a great schedule that works for your family.
You are the designer of your homeschool. You’re in charge of funding, research, teaching, classroom management, discipline and resource gathering. The more you think about your long term goals the easier it will be to find the smaller goals that will fill in the gaps to reach the final goal of adulthood for both you and your child.