Last week in I sent our evidence of progress an annual letter of intent to homeschool to our school district. It seems like the year flew by! There were high points and low points, but mostly, we've found an approach to learning to works great for our family. Lots of great books, educational videos and independent learning.
What We Did
Audio books, oh how I LOVE audio books. The kids are far more engaged in the content when I turn on an audio book vs. me reading aloud a book to them. Well, the big kids anyways. Ali still comes to me almost daily with a stack of books to read to her, with My Messy Closet hanging in there as her favorite. The audio books listened to this year were
- The Time Warp Trio: See You Later, Gladiator
- Watch the Stars Come Out
- The Little House
- The Gruffalo
- When I Was Young in the Mountains
- Millions of Cats
- Human Body an Inside Look
- The Children's Homer
- The History of the Ancient World
- Grammar Smart Junior
- Four Great Americans
- Blueberries for Sal
- Popular Tales from the Norse
- Shakespeare for Children
- Celebrate America & Safety
- A Midsummer Night's Dream Study Guide
- 50 Favorite Nursery Rhymes
- Word Smart Junior
- Heroes and Legends: The Most Influential Characters of Literature
- A History of US: The First Americans
- The Snowy Day
- James and the Giant Peach
- Lots of different Brian's Brain Trivia's
The kids enjoyed the educational content available on Amazon Prime this past year. They particularly like the My Animal and Me series from New Dimension Media that explores Geography and World Cultures and is great for kids from 2nd to 7th grade.
We enjoyed kitchen math, math art and lots of living books this year, along with practice on Khan Academy and A+ Tutor Soft in lieu of formal math.
For language arts we enjoyed a very relaxed Brave Writer lifestyle; writing stories, discussing literature and more all without it ever feeling like school.
Mostly, our year was calm, child-led, unschoolish and one that proved how much my children love learning when not forced into a rigid structure or curriculum. Matt and Ema recently took personality test and came to show me. There results were certainly not a shocker and fit right in with how they choose to acquire knowledge daily.
My INTP Logician - "Innovative inventors with an unquenchable thirst for knowledge." - 16personalities.com
Matt spent a lot of time this year immersed in technology, teaching himself how to code and design games. His computer expertise are quickly surpassing mine and it so enjoyable to watch him explore something he is passionate about and excel. He also focused his time on physics, military history, inventions and current events. He still grumbles about reading fiction, though he did finish a few good books during the year, but he devoured non-fiction books this year. I often found him with a stack of science, history or minecraft books piled on his bed at night for a little late night reading.
My INFP Mediator - "Poetic, kind and altruistic people, always eager to help a good cause." - 16personalities.com
Emalynn spent a great deal of her year focused on baking and knitting. Those interest, along with never wavering love of horses, sent her on constant missions to research and absorb as much information as she could find. Those interest also transferred over and got my other fiction phobic child to pick up some good books and devour them; like the time she disappeared upstairs and read Little Women in one day. Somewhere along the way this year, she developed a deep love for nature as well and might ninja drop kick you if you tell her your going to harm any living thing.
She isn't old enough to take the personality test on her own yet, but my guess is that she is my little ENTJ Commander - "Bold, imaginative and strong-willed leaders, always finding a way - or making one." - 16personalities.com
As I said earlier, Ali has brought me stack after stack of books to read aloud to her. She adores books as much as I do and though she isn't reading yet, she is trying. She listens in on all of the read aloud books and conversations with the other kids and we have plenty of great conversations of our own based simply on the wondrous observations of the world she has made. You would be amazed what a child can discern at a young age when left to play and explore. It hasn't been all fun and games though, simply because she loves to play on Reading Eggs and Math Seeds. Her fascinations this year have been bugs, the weather, dancing and art.
Our coming school year will be slightly different than this one, but for the most part, we will continue on down the path that is working. Come back next week when I share my plans for the new year.