Friday, September 2, 2011

Celebrating Homeschool Diversity

The HomeSpun Life is hosting a Celebrating Diversity Homeschool Blog Hop as a way for homeschooling families to meet one another.  They are inviting peope to blog about their education style, favorite field trip places, and ideas they'll use this year.

I have a rather eclectic style of homeschooling, drawing the parts I like from a variety of homeschooling philosophies. For example, I follow:

...a Unit Study approach when I think of the multi-year, multi-disciplinary U.S. geography study we'll be embarking upon this year. We'll be studying 13 states over the course of this school year and covering a variety of subjects for each state: literature, geography, biography, science, character, home economics, and language arts.

Olivia will be doing another unit study called Five in a Row which focuses on a book that is read daily for five days and has related activities in various subjects (e.g., math, science, home economics, reading).

Girls Ready for a Mexican Lunch
Last year we completed a multi-year, multi-disciplinary study
of 26 countries (one for each letter of the alphabet).
A favorite part of the study was
making food from other parts of the world.

...a Classical approach when I think of math, penmanship, and computers/typing. Both the girls use Rod & Staff math books supplemented by hands-on activities and games. Penmanship also is done using workbooks as guides. Computers/typing is done using the Mavis Beacon program that has over 400 lessons which will be done over several years.

Sophia's Math Book
Sophia's math book from fourth grade.

...a Charlotte Mason approach when it comes to nature study, and six-week studies of poets, composers, and visual artists. So, the girls will learn about six poets, six composers, and six artists this year. During the next school year, there will be six new individuals to study in each of the disciplines (poetry, music, and visual arts).

Olivia Measuring a Dandelion
Olivia measuring the length of a dandelion stem.
This was a part of a nature study about dandelions.

...a Literature-Based approach for history. All of the books are "living" books rather than textbooks. The focus is on reading quality literature - whether it be non-fiction or fiction - that engages the reader/listener rather than just listing dates and dry facts. As I have done for the past two years, I'm using Sonlight's books for this area of study.

...a Waldorf approach for particular units of study. For example, Sophia will be doing a multi-week geometry study that combines math and art. Unschooling or Child-Led approach for topics that are of particular interest to each one. Sophia has chosen the following areas of interest this year: cooking, sewing, harp, piano, and singing/choir.

Olivia has chosen these areas of interest: American Sign language, music/instrument building, piano, singing/choir, puzzles, and art (with a focus on visual arts).

Olivia's Puzzle
A 300-piece puzzle that Olivia can now quickly do.
She's up to 500-piece puzzles now.

The girls will be making lapbooks for several of their multi-week, in-depth studies of several science topics: human body, germs, veterinary science, and teeth/dental care.

Olivia also will be doing notebooks for a couple multi-week studies (e.g., Aesop's Fables, Native Americans) that include a variety of hands-on activities and interactive elements that she can look back upon in the future.

This year, I am integrating 4-H projects into the girls' curricula. Each one has chosen quite a few project areas in which they will set goals and do activities.

Some of the projects they have picked include: photography, quilting, geology, wildlife biology, veterinary science, child development, rabbits, horse/pony, clothing and textiles, woodworking, crafts and fine arts, pets, cats, communication, dogs, and dairy.

Carving Pumpkins at 4-H
The girls carving pumpkins at a 4-H meeting.
They helped display the pumpkins at a local nursing home

They also will be doing Brownies and Girl Scouts as Juliettes (independent scouts). In this way, they can work on activities for earning badges and Try-Its at their own pace and in areas they find interesting. One of the benefits of being in Girls scouts is that they can participate in Girl Scout-sponsored activities (kind of like field trips).

We are looking forward to beginning this homeschool year which begins tomorrow (Saturday) for us as we do our annual Not-Back-to-School Trip.

This year we are headed off to New England to explore six states: Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Maine. We are excited to do a lot of history, nature, animal-related, and literature-related activities during the trip.


Dawn said...

That all sounds so wonderful. I would love to know more about the Waldorf Geometry. Thanks for sharing.

Harvest Moon by Hand said...


Here's the book that I'll be using with Sophia: .

There are quite a few different patterns in the book, so I'm just having her do one per week.

This is a long link, but I searched for artistic geometry Waldorf under google images so you could see some examples:

As you'll notice, the patterns are the same, but it is in the coloring of them that a child's creativity is expressed.

Sisterlisa said...

Wow sounds like a fun homeschool! Thank you for joining the hop! I taught my children ASL too. I interpreted for about 13 years for the deaf. It's a beautiful and expressive language. We use sign language on a daily basis. Much easier to have corrective dialogue with the kids in public without people knowing what we're saying. ;)But the deaf can eavesdrop from a mile away. haha