From Towards a Philosophy of Education, by Charlotte Mason:
When we say that “education is an atmosphere,” we do not mean that a child should be isolated in what may be called a ‘child-environment’ especially adapted and prepared, but that we should take into account the educational value of his natural home atmosphere, both as regards persons and things, and should let him live freely among his proper conditions.
With that quote in mind, and the beginning of a new school year fast approaching, I thought it might be fun to show you our home learning environment.
Our homeschool “classroom” is actually our kitchen (and often our living room, too). This setup works great for us because Lillia can do schoolwork at the table while Zane can engage in pretend play with his “kitchen,” or play with playdough, or eat a snack, or do some painting…it’s nice to have everything all in one place.
We made the tree branch mobile last year and we change it with the seasons. Right now we have apples hanging from our “tree” but soon we will have brilliant fall leaves — it brings nature indoors for the kids, and gives us lots of opportunities for seasonal crafts.
Zane loves to help make the paper decorations and often comments on them for several days after they are changed.
Here is the same branch mobile at the beginning of April — no leaves yet, but lots of early spring birds.
So, there you have it! The humble “classroom” where much of this coming year’s growth and learning will take place. Do you have a special room designated for homeschooling, or do your rooms serve multiple purposes (like ours)? I’m always interested in seeing the “where” of other family’s homeschooling experiences.
Filed under 2014, Planning
The kids in our district went back to school today. But, not us! Oh, no, we are waiting until after Labor Day. That’s what we did last year and since that worked out well for us we’re doing it again. Lillia will be going to art class at the school on Friday but the rest of the week belongs to her. A last hurrah, if you will.
In the spirit of anticipation that this week brings I wanted to share some of my goals for the coming year, for both kids.
Goals for Lillia
— Learn the multiplication facts from 0-12.
— Continue to practice and become proficient at writing in cursive.
— Overcome fear of writing on command.
— Develop some coping strategies for when difficult problems arise.
— Work on developing independence & a sense of personal responsibility.
Goals for Zane
— Continue to develop vocabulary.
— Learn to identify more colors (he can do red, blue, and green).
— Work on potty training (yikes!)
— Read EVERY day; an adult reading to him, that is.
— Find opportunities for peer socialization.
I know these aren’t the loftiest goals but I am avoiding listing anything too specific here. Perhaps other goals will make themselves known as the year progresses, but I am trying not to have expectations that are too high at the outset. I learned a lot last year about what is and isn’t realistic, when it comes to academics as well as the homeschooling experience in general. I am certainly the type of person who likes to know what’s coming; the type of person who thrives on having it all worked out and written down beforehand. Well, last year taught me that most days aren’t going to look anything like they do on paper. Having a rough outline is great for staying on track (definitely important if there are certain things you really want to cover). But, trying to plan out the day by the hour is a waste of time. Some days there will be a cranky toddler who just won’t let you get anything done. Some days there will be an anxious tween who runs away at the sight of her math book. That is reality.
That having been said, I am so excited about this year. It may or may not be (though most likely is) my last year homeschooling Lillia and I want to really make it count (not just from an academic standpoint). I want to enjoy this year with her and not get too bogged down by the details. I think we are going to learn some cool stuff, and I feel surprisingly relaxed about the whole thing. This time last year I was a disaster area. Now that I’ve experienced a whole year of homeschooling and nothing terrible befell me or the kids, I can go into my second year without all of that baggage — the anxiety, the pressure, the fear of the unknown, the unreasonable expectations…
This year will be great.
We took this trip at the beginning of July, but my computer was out of commission for the past month so I am just now getting this blog updated. For our second big field trip of the year we visited the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, Massachusetts. The MFA has an excellent collection of art from the ancient world which gave Lillia the opportunity to see artifacts from some of the cultures we studied this past year.
Ancient Near East
This exhibit gave us the opportunity to see some famous finds from the ancient near east. Lillia got to see a cuneiform tablet and a mosaic called the “Striding Lion” which dates to 604-561 BCE, among other things.
Lillia was really excited to see the Egyptian exhibit. She has been fascinated with Ancient Egypt for some time and I feel like a lot of other kids her age are, too. There must be something about this culture that appeals to preteens. She was really enthusiastic about seeing the mummies, but when we got to them she said she was scared and asked to hold my hand (so sweet).
We briefly toured the Ancient Greece exhibit but by this time Lillia was collapsing from exhaustion (we had driven in the car all morning to get there so some people were full of energy and some were worn out, depending on their personalities). I was really exited to see the gold libation bowl (Oresteia, anyone?) as well as the bust of Homer (which Lillia was less-than-thrilled about, as is attested by her expression in the photo I took of it). We still have some work to do on Ancient Greece so we might make a return visit in the fall, which we should probably do anyway so that we can also see their collection from Ancient Rome (our second unit of the coming year).