Homeschooling : our first months

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In  our homeschool life, we’ve been trying this new way.  As always, we are always changing and figuring out what’s the best way we want to spend our days at that time.

So as of this fall, we have block studies that change after about 4-6 weeks.  It’s our main focus, but we also study math, art, music, science, reading and writing.  It’s about having a theme, or a base to study around, something that sounds fun to us.

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I went online to this webpage and looked at what a first and a fourth grader would be studying and made a list.  I divided it into subjects in my own journal to have a better idea when I looked at it.  I’m a visual learner.

I also looked at what Oak Meadow does for a typical course of study in the same grades.  Then we all talked about what I found out.  From these lists we decided what we wanted to start with.

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So in early fall we first started studying maps.  Our morning work consists mostly of social studies.  We learned lots about maps and how to read them and we made maps of our neighborhood, and did lots of fun activities.  We also read fiction and non-fiction books about maps and mapmaking, and focus as much as we could on this theme.

I got most of the information and activities from this book, this book, and we really liked this book.  We read lots of books but this one we enjoyed a lot.

We could have studied maps skills longer, but it felt that we had done enough, Lucas was losing interest, though I think Siena could have kept going for a while longer.  But I also wanted to stick with my own prescribed deadline of about 4 weeks, thinking it would give us few things to try and learn about, compromising between what I saw Lucas and Siena needing and wanting to do.  It was perfect.

We finished our map weeks, with our Geography Fair I organized, and it was fun.  After our map block, we did a little introduction about the US.  The Presidential Election and Thanksgiving history being the main focus of our short block, but as an introduction of our next one Lucas and Siena had picked.  Native Americans.

It all has seemed to run smoothly, from one subject to the next.  As life is, it’s all related and I love homeschooling for that.  We can do things as life is.  We don’t have to part our days into math and history and reading and writing, it all goes together.  Though we have a certain time we get together with some friends and do science specifically.  But we seem to be enjoying our daily rhythm.

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For our Native Americans block I’m basing loosely our studies from this book, but there’s hardly enough for us.  And because it is so inspiring and so much to be learned that I’m complementing it with lots of other books.  I checked with Lucas and Siena how long they wanted to study the Inuits, and we dedicated two weeks.

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I used this book, this book, and we’ve read this book, and the list is very large.  I’ve written them down most of them in my journal but maybe I’ll share that in a different post.

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We then went to the Tlingit tribe and made crafts projects, and read books and lots of fun facts about them as well.

We embark on fiction stories, and read about the tribe we are studying, learn about the plants and animals they are surrounded by, their ecosystem, how they live, what they eat, we learn about their crafts, spiritual lives, have even learned few games… it’s been a lot of fun.

We have checked out pretty much every single book at our library about the tribe we are studying, they always smile at us when we have to go every single day because I know the hold shelf I know it’s full of our books.  They just smile when we have pile after pile of books.

This (school) year, we’ve wanted to approach our homeschool days very different from anything we’ve done before/  To see how it looked and if and what worked, to see what works for Lucas right now, and to see what works for Siena right now as well.  I think so far it’s working really good.  Exciting to start back up again.

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