I can't help it. I'm a planner.
In case you are as crazy as me........
Public school, homeschool, charter, private, online, unschool...... there are so many options. With schooling, much like with everything else, there is not one model that will work for everyone.
My husband and I both went to public school and I taught high-school mathematics before having children. While I believe that it is possible to get a great education in a school setting, we do feel that the system is lacking in some areas. Public school is a great option for many people. It just isn't the right fit for our family.
Instead, we have decided to home-school our children. Homesteading, in particular, lends itself very well to schooling at home. There is always so much going on and we are never in short supply of learning experiences.
This is going to be our first year "officially" home-schooling. It took me awhile to figure out what method we were going to employ. At first I liked the idea of unschooling but as much as I would like to be a free spirit, I am not. I definitely lean towards the left brain and like things to be planned and organized. It is probably the teacher in me, but I enjoy lesson planning, worksheets, and such. Our method with probably end up being eclectic but I do plan on following, albeit probably loosely, a curriculum. There will definitely be room for changes, improvements, and following my children's interests.
I say "officially" because technically in the state of Pennsylvania I don't have to do anything official until my oldest is eight years old. My daughter is only going to be four this summer. So we are going to start officially setting aside time each day to focus on school (pre-k) and start keeping portfolios for our personal use. I thought about pushing it off longer but my girl is super excited to start school. She really wants to learn how to read and enjoys learning. I don't want to force academics on her but since she is showing interest we are going to run with it. Our school day (aka table time) will probably be very short to begin with, though. She is at an age where I believe most of the learning happens through play and doing. I want to encourage her to be creative and play as long as possible.
As I said before I am sure our schooling is going to be eclectic. I like to pull things from multiple resources and also incorporate our everyday life into our learning. I do want a basic curriculum as a back-up to help keep us on track and to give me ideas when my creativity isn't flowing. The curriculum I have decided to use for now is Easy Peasy All-in-One Homeschool. Since I know that I will spice up whatever curriculum we end up using with supplemental materials it didn't make sense to spend a fortune on a boxed curriculum. And Easy Peasy has a great price tag, FREE! I spent a lot of time looking over the curriculum for Pre-K and Kindergarten and I feel it does cover everything and can stand on its own. I love that I can use it as is or use the money I am saving on curriculum to supplement my daughters education in other ways.
Many homeschoolers I know stick with the traditional school year of September to June and take the summers off. In order to make reporting to the school district easier we are still going to end in June but, we are going to start in July. Learning never stops so we are going to homeschool year round. There are going to be natural breaks in our school year though.
Things around the homestead tend to be busy in the spring and fall. In the spring we have lambing and getting the garden ready. In the fall we are working on preserving the harvest. Plus, the spring and fall have the best weather for exploring outside. Our homeschooling will naturally slow down during these times. We will spend more time focusing on school work during the summer and winter months when homesteading tasks are less and we naturally spend more time indoors trying to escape the heat or cold.
In the end, I realize I can do all of the planning in the world and what ends up working for my daughter might be different. I am open to following her lead and going at her pace while at the same time encouraging her to challenge herself. After all, the beauty of homeschooling is that we can truly customize her education to fit her.
I think that homeschooling on the homestead is the perfect choice for us and I can't wait to see where it leads!
What about you? Do you home-school? Share any tips or advice you have for me below!
P.S. This post may be linked up with the following blog hops: Monday- The Art of Homemaking Mondays, Tuesday- The Homestead Blog Hop, Tuesdays with a Twist, Wednesday- The Homemaking Party, Homestead Blog Hop, Thursday- Our Simple Homestead Blog Hop, Friday- From the Farm Hop, Awesome Life Friday, Saturday- Simply Natural Saturdays.