Shaking up our New Year

This year I wanted to try something a little different with the Oh Waily kids.  I gave the idea of letting them loose a go and taking a more unschooling route at the end of last year.  Unfortunately I’ve found that doesn’t fit me, or produce engaged and curious kids – for my kids – over the time we relaxed our approach.  There was just a bit too much screen time and a bit too much single focus on one interest (but not in a creative way) for me to let it go on through this year.  In fairness, I still think following your passions is a great thing and I will definitely be encouraging them to do so, but as a part of their home ed journey – not their only part.  As it turned out in Master Oh’s case it was clear that screen time was not an ideal match for his personality, so “Hell-lo, Eclectic Home Ed. We’re baaaaack!”

In addition to returning to our eclectic ways, I’ve also decided to shake up what and how often we spend on different learning areas.  We’re going to be mixing and matching things, but essentially I’m going to see if a Charlotte Mason (secular version) approach is a good fit for all of us.  With that in mind, I’ve decided to try out the Build Your Library curriculum and see how it goes.

I’ve chosen Grade 1; it’ll be just about right for Master Oh and a bit simple for Miss Oh, but I wanted to give a single grade a trial first to see if we liked it.  I will probably weave in our existing History Odyssey and RSO curriculums too as the year goes on.  One note though… it is likely to leave quite the dent in the bank balance with book buying, although with my love for Book Depository that should be more pleasure than pain.

As of today, my goal for our home ed, and family life in general, is pretty simple: it’s all about re-establishing some basic routines.
The relocation to our new home is quite a big upheaval for the Oh Waily kids.  Master Oh has only known living in Wellington as we moved there when he was a one year old, and of course they’ve left behind good friends.  Miss Oh seems to be coping pretty well with it, but the young man is less enamoured with our move, so I want to get some rhythm to our days to help with settling in.

So that’s where we are at just now.  I will try to start posting a bit more frequently, in between the last of the box clearing and reshuffling that will probably continue for the next month!

In the meantime let me leave you with a website recommendation – and the accompanying Facebook group.

If you are a secular home educator then you might want to check out the SEA Homeschoolers website.  It’s been a wealth of information and interesting reading in the short time that I’ve been aware of it.  The accompanying Facebook group has also been an eye-opener for what it must be like to be secular in many parts of the USA, as well as a great source of ideas and resource suggestions.  I hope you find something useful and/or interesting there to help you along your home ed journey!

History here we come

Screen Shot 2015-04-28 at 8.17.24 pmStarting tomorrow we are giving a new history curriculum a run-through.

We did try out a Classical option earlier but found that it wasn’t a really good fit for us. Between the age that the kids were when we tried it and my completely unrealistic expectations of what and how home education would work for us, it turned out to be the first thing to drop from our lives.

Now, however, I have finally figured out that the best way to get ‘learning’ in to my children is to sneak it in, in small doses and with as much fun as I can manage to cram in.  And to be completely relaxed about the whole process as well.

This time around I am giving a secular Charlotte Mason curriculum it’s opportunity.  Hopefully I’m also more aware of what is a reasonable expectation from my kids and their ages, so we are slightly less likely to founder on the rocks so quickly. I already had the two main books that form the spine of the curriculum, so even better from the planning & purchasing point of view.

For this round of learning about the ‘Ancients’ we will be doing lots of colouring in, listening to information and if I can find something on YouTube or Netflix, watching documentaries too.  I’ve also learned to not put pressure on the kids or myself.  I will happily do all of the reading and writing, rather than impose my expectation on them to do that (or parts of that for Master Oh).  Flowing with their interest and skill level is going to be key to following a full curriculum like this, but I’m looking forward to the opportunity to introduce history on an ongoing basis.

I’ve printed out the first lesson’s worth of pictures and text and will be reading sections to go with that.  The kids can colour in the pictures while I’m reading.  I’ve even made the pockets out of A3 paper I had on hand and there’s even some washi tape getting in on the act.  (Only because Miss Oh hates staples after she opened a birthday present that stabbed her mercilessly.  Ah the trials of being young! )

For the record, the curriculum we’re going to use is History Odyssey – Ancients Level One from Pandia Press.  I really liked the fact that the owner seems to have a sense of humour (read their explanations of eBook over printed and the cost of the curriculum soapbox explanation) and that they were willing to let me (and you) have access to a decent chunk of the lessons to help decide if it looked right for us.  If we find that this works well for us, then I may consider their science curriculum too, but that’s a decision for later as we have basic science stuff that will see us through a few more months.

So… do you follow a curriculum?  If so, what and why?

As an eclectic home educator I’m really interested in the choices people make and why.  On a personal level, I love to research and look in to the different options I can present to my kids to keep their minds open and growing, so feel free to go to town with your comments if you have something you love.