Core Phase: Creating a solid foundation for ages 0-8

Core Phase- Creating a solid foundation for ages 0-8
Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool, also blogs about motherhood at Steady Mom

This post is part of an ongoing series about the educational philosophy Leadership Education (also known as A Thomas Jefferson Education.)

“Core Phase is the basis of a life. A good Core Phase naturally provides the foundation for a good life, a great Core Phase for a great life, and so on.”
~ Oliver and Rachel DeMille, Leadership Education, page 40

I stared at the desktop screen late one night, engrossed in a popular homeschooling forum where members could ask for help and receive advice. Someone had asked a question–I don’t even remember what it was–and one of the responses said something like this:

“I recommend you check out A Thomas Jefferson Education.”

It included a link to an overview of the method, which I clicked. Then, as sometimes happens in the midst of epiphanies, I sat up straighter as I began to read. In a flash of insight, I absolutely knew that this was part of what I was looking for in our homeschool.

The method combined the freedom of unschooling with a balance of structure, responsibility, and academic focus–especially in the teen years–that resonated with me.

Though my kids were all young at the time, I ordered every book I could find about it and began to internalize its principles. And it turns out I had plenty of time to focus on my own education–because all my kids were in Core Phase.

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Understanding the basics of Waldorf education

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Written by Donna Ashton of The Waldorf Connection

Waldorf is a living, breathing form of education that Rudolph Steiner, its founder, wanted to provide as an antidote to modern times.

Waldorf honors the whole child – body, mind and spirit – through music, arts, handwork, sculpture, stories and movement. It educates the child’s mind, nourishes their soul and meets their spirit at developmentally appropriate stages.

Through these arts, a child first experiences information physically and soulfully. The morning lesson incorporates many different subjects all based around the same theme. Children learn their letters through movement, first by walking the shape of the letter before writing or painting the letter strokes.

The letter is then reinforced through rhymes with actions, stories, and music. By first doing, children come to a concrete, tangible understanding of a concept before they are expected to apply it intellectually.

It isn’t that your child copies only your outer movements, but that they also experience your inner attitude of devotion, care, focus, sense of purpose, and creative spirit.

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Learning to read without books: Supporting your dyslexic homeschooler

shawnapicmo2Written by Shawna Wingert of Not the Former Things.

My youngest son is nine years old. He is technically in the third grade. He loves animals, building structures in the woods, and jumping on our trampoline as often as possible.

He can do complex math in his head, and knows more about Ancient Greece than I do.

He is also unable to read even the most basic book.

He shies away from any activity that he thinks might possibly have anything to do with reading, including Sunday School, homeschool co-op classes, and has even asked me not to read aloud to him anymore at night.

My son has repeatedly said, over and over again, that he wants to learn to read, but not with books.

I believe my response has always been something like, “No way Jose. We love books in this family. You have to learn to read with books.”

My son is profoundly dyslexic. He wants to read – desperately. He has been asking for years to learn. This is not about reluctance. It is about his brain’s ability to decipher and comprehend the code we call the English language.

And the more he has tried and failed, the more I have researched and read books about dyslexia, and the more I have freaked out and pushed harder.

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Read your way to a love of math: 50 titles for ages 4-12

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Read your way to a love of mathWritten by Jamie Martin of Simple Homeschool and Steady Mom

Past posts in this math series:
* A different way to look at math
* Out of the box math inspiration

For the past few weeks we’ve explored math study from a different perspective, asking two important questions: Why do we do what we do when it comes to this subject? Are there other valid approaches to consider?

A different way to look at math

An alternative to workbook pages in the early years is the simple sharing of a book spread open across your lap. It’s one of the easiest ways to create a blossoming love of numbers and patterns in a child’s heart and mind.

I started to put together a massive list of books for you to choose from in today’s post, but then I stopped to consider what I would have found most helpful when I was getting started as a slightly-insecure homeschooling mama.

I realized that I would have loved to have a handful of well-chosen math titles, recommended by a blogger I trusted.

I’ve tried to provide that for you here, highlighting the resources we’ve found most enjoyable in our own family – as well as including a list of other popular books you may want to check out.

Enjoy the journey as you read your way to a love of math!

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And then they hated math: My journey into unschooling

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Written by contributor Amida of Journey Into Unschooling

remember the first time I called myself an unschooler. I had just read John Holt’s Teach Your Own and was impressed with his vision of an alternative educational style in which children were encouraged to learn outside of school.

He saw children as scientists, eager and capable of exploring and experimenting with the world around them. Yes, I thought, that is exactly what I wanted my children to experience.

I had visions of them spending their days wandering through nature, collecting and identifying leaves, filling notepads with their amazingly original stories, learning math, engineering, civics, and science through a year-long project of designing and building a cardboard, solar-powered city.

It was learning at its fantastical best — fun, natural, and meaningful.
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