toughen up to homeschool

Out of the box Curriculum vs No Curriculum

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Let me preface this by saying, my kids are young. My oldest is 5, and youngest is 3. I knew from having those grade level workbooks from Costco that an out of the box Curriculum would not work, for us.


I always reference the Ontario curriculum guidelines. Many of these, are in my opinion, silly. The reason I say this is because they tend to happen naturally in homeschool. In an artificial environment, such as a classroom, this is not the case.


The major things I focus on here are


1.Reading/writting; I use alphaphonics. I pair this with a whiteboard and magnetic letters. We also spend a large portion of our day just reading together, listening to audiobooks, or podcasts. I also use Bravewriter Jot it down. I want writer’s jungle but that will be a splurge over the summer.


2. Math; At these ages its number recognition,and for my older daughter we have added equations, greater than, and less than symbols. I do not use any books as a reference here, although next on my wish list is Let’s Play math. Board games including Thinkfun math chase, Zingo 1-2-3, any other board or card game with numbers count. I also have Batman addition and subtraction cards from the dollar store, a hundred board we use for patterns or use for bingo. But, my kids love to count, so recognition is my main focus here.


3.Science; I use two books as my reference here. Building a foundation of Scientific Understanding, which I highly recommend. There is something so adorable about a toddler telling people her book is made of atoms. We also use Exploring nature with Kids. We pair this with LOTS of nature based books from the library, or Science themed books. Please check out my booklist of ideas here. I just ordered this monthly kit, and will post a review as soon as we complete it.


4.Geography/History; I put these together because they are so young. This is usually done with a large laminated map. I got a free CAA map of Canada, and got a cheap world map from Costco. We also have a hug a world that has seen better days. My girls are particularly interested in China (teaching for VIPKID), and the different provinces. We usually check out history books and pick a theme. Right now, it’s Vikings.


5. Life skills; my girls, clean up after themselves, play together, and with others frequently. We go to do errands together, they put their dishes in the sink, and right now we are working on putting away their own Laundry. They also help me cook, and occasionally, they pick a recipe, help shop and prepare that meal. We live in the country, and a lot of things are made from scratch, so we cook a lot. This year, we are expanding our garden. Last year they helped build a chicken coop, and raise baby chicks.


6.Physical Education/Art/Music; Physical Education takes care of itself here, they are not currently enrolled in any sports, but my oldest wants to compete in track this summer. Art is something we do daily, we have nature journals we use a lot. I keep art books around the house, and when we particularly like or don’t like the art in a book we discuss it. I will be adding art field trips now that it’s nicer. Right now though, it’s all about appreciation. For music the girls have a guitar and violin. I play guitar so I help with that, violin, I realize I will need some help. I am looking into an online class similar too gentle guitar. I am working with sheet music for singing and having them get an idea of what notes mean what.


I am sure a lot of homeschoolers will agree, not all of this happens every day, or even every week. Our must do’s are reading and math. Everything else is bonus. I find our Science, Music, history, and geography comes in spurts. I do use picture books and games a lot to fill in subjects I feel we have been ignoring, and many times this re-inspires a focus in that area.


I hope this helps new homeschoolers, or gives others some fresh ideas.


What are your must haves for your homeschool?


Lauren

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