Now that we’ve decided we are going to learn from home for the next year at least, we came to the question of how and where do we begin?
The homeschooling quiz in a previous post slotted us as ‘unschoolers’ so going with that, we started planning for a year of unschool learning. I’ve said this before, neither am I an educator nor a teacher so my approach to home learning is purely as a parent. My learning approach is inspired by Waldorf and Reggio, both of which are play and art based philosophies that have suited our learning goals so far.
Having two kids at home full time and the added challenge of managing the home, I realised I could effectively dedicate only an hour and a half for a learning session. I hoped to come back to the resources through the day so the kids had continued exposure to the theme. So this is how we started with the homeschooling plan.
Setting Our Learning Vision – Prior to embarking on this homeschooling journey we winged it quite a bit. It was mostly about what we saw, what interested us and what we hoped to discover. Now, my challenge was if I was going to schedule learning at a particular time I needed a method to the madness. A more structured learning idea that flows into a rhythm week after week and makes it easier for me to plan, prep, and measure.
Key Philosophy – I wanted to stay close to my own strengths – as a parent that supports creative learning driven by art and play. Irrespective of the philosophy you choose, go with the idea that best suits your own personality. As the parent, your approach should drive your homeschool idea.
This could be book reading / narration based, art / nature based, or play based depending on your core strength.
Theme – Most curricula offered by homeschooling groups are theme or activity driven. For example, you may choose to do colours, space or trees as a weekly or monthly study. You may choose to work on art techniques or study the work of artists for a week. Music is a wonderful study theme if you or your child has a musical inclination. Even dance as a practice is a good homeschool theme.
We chose to go with ‘Alphabets’. This is our overarching theme under which we will place all our art, play, and nature explorations.
Measure – Set a simple measure or assessment for you and your child. This will bring about a certain satisfaction to your homeschooling / learning journey. This is not a means of pitting yourselves against an external benchmark but more of an intrinsic measure of how your learning is progressing. I will be focusing the child’s ability to match an alphabet to its pattern or sound (words we will be studying).
Having established our vision, theme, and measure, it’s time to prepare our learning calendars, and lesson plans.