It's August, and that means we'll be starting our new school year soon. Our summer homeschooling was fairly laid-back this year, but in a few weeks we'll dive into new school topics. This post will detail our curriculum and resources for the 2019-20 school year.
Character Comes First
One of the foundational aspects of our homeschool philosophy is the focus on building good character. I believe that teaching my children to be honest, responsible, kind people is more important than the acquisition of academic knowledge, so I focus quite a bit of my efforts on character development. Household responsibilities, read-alouds, service, and relationship development are just some of the ways I focus on character development.
Individual Interests and Needs
An important part of encouraging my children to love learning is encouraging them to pursue their own interests. One of the biggest advantages of homeschooling is that my children have as much time as desired to follow their passions. I'm supporting my children's current interests as follows.
My kids are partners in a small chicken egg business. They work together to take care of the chickens daily, and each earn a small amount of money for every dozen of eggs that are sold. Owning their own business has given my kids the opportunity to learn much about raising and caring for animals, handling and saving money, profit vs. loss, the value of hard work, and long-term commitments. They're becoming experts in management of the flock, and they make the hard decisions about keeping their business viable throughout the productive and unproductive egg laying years of their hens.
12-year-old daughter Alina
Besides chickens, Alina's primary interests are quite unpredictable and eclectic these days. For instance, over the last month Alina's interests have included the following:
dolphins - reading kid-level and adult-level books about dolphins, and then eagerly sharing dolphin facts with me
fascism and other non-ideal forms of government - wondering what it would be like to live under one of these governments, so she read The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain by Peter Sis, Hitler Youth: Growing Up in Hitler's Shadow by Susan Bartoletti, and Animal Farm by Orwell
creating detailed soft sculptures with silly putty
math worksheets - this one caught me off-guard; she spent July 4th and a few days afterwards asking for more and more math worksheets
Lego architecture - learning how to build accurate multi-story houses, complete with furnishings, wall art, and yards
This is Love of Learning phase at it's best, and I'm learning to be nimble to make the most of Alina's interest-of-the-moment.
Since Alina is now moving through puberty, she is changing rapidly. She's become more outspoken and strongly-opinionated, but yet also more in-need of tender affection and understanding. I'm supporting Alina in this time of transition by:
learning more about adolescent brain development, which has been enormously helpful in giving me a better understanding of the changes that are happening so that I can better support her (these two books have been amazing: Brain Storm: The Power and Purpose of the Teenage Brain by Daniel Siegel and The Wonder of Girls: Understanding the Hidden Nature of Our Daughters by Michael Gurian),
allowing her to vacillate back and forth between wanting to be more independent and wanting to just stick to our usual routine,
using homeopathic remedies as needed to help re-balance her hormonal and emotional state,
giving her extra one-on-one time to talk through the unaccustomed emotions and changes that are happening.
9-year-old son Ian
Ian has had a lifelong passionate interest in cars, tools, and machines. I support this interest through:
Letting him disassemble old electronics, broken cameras, etc.,
Doing car maintenance so that he has a chance to be involved,
Giving him a Swiss army knife,
Taking the time to stop and let him observe constru