Resources for interest-led learning

Written by Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool and Steady Mom

A note from Jamie: Though I chose not to do a full curriculum fair this year, there are plenty of curriculum posts in the archives for those interested in scrolling through them as you make plans for the upcoming year. You can find them here–enjoy!

Educational Philosophies I pull from: Leadership Education, Waldorf, Unschooling

The first time I looked at the instructor’s guide of a popular curriculum, it made my head spin.

You mean we have to do all this? And in this order? And what if we need to miss a day or if the kids want to read more than the required number of pages? What if those comprehension questions are just downright boring?

Thankfully, I’ve come a long way since then. Now I understand that I can use resources in a way that fits our family, without feeling like a resource is using me.

Here are a few of the main resources we use often in our home and how I make them work for us.
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Q&A Friday: What curricula do you plan to use next year? (2012 curriculum fair)

Written by Jamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool and Steady Mom

Over the past month we’ve heard from all of our contributors, each sharing the resources we’ve found helpful (or not helpful!), along with our homeschooling plans for the upcoming school year.

I hope you’ve found this helpful as you begin your own planning. Personally I’ve bookmarked a few resources and recommendations to keep for future years. Now it’s your turn to share!
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Classical afterschooling (Curriculum Fair 2012)

Written by Tsh Oxenreider of Simple Mom.

Ages of my children: 7, 4, & almost 2
Educational philosophies I pull from: Classical, Interest-Led Learning

A few weeks ago, I spent the weekend visiting Peace Hill Press and its founder, Susan Wise Bauer. Known for fostering a modern-day movement of the classical method of teaching, she is someone I’ve long admired. It was an honor to meet her.

So it might surprise you to hear that we’re not homeschooling next year. Oh, well, of course we are in the organic, basic rudimentary definition of the word—I hold the belief that education always begins at home, whether or not families are aware. But formally, we are taking a step of faith and enrolling our kids in a local private school.

This was a tough, tough decision, and most of my closer friends and family know that we wrestled with this decision most of the spring semester. But in the end, we feel a strong peace that this is our learning path next year, and we’re excited.

So why am I participating in the curriculum fair here, you might be asking? Well, because we’re going to try out something that I learned about this past spring, and it’s one of the things that released me from the disappointment in not homeschooling next year.

It’s called afterschooling.

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Of America and war (2012 curriculum fair)

Ages of my kids at home: 15 and 11 1/2
Educational Philosophy Influences: Literature-based, Eclectic, College-Bound

I am so excited about this upcoming year! I have always maintained that educational flexibility is the highlight of home education, and 2012-13 will be one of those years that embraces flexibility.

Shouldn’t education be crafted by creativity, rather than squished into a box labeled “scope and sequence”?

For me, part of the joy in homeschooling my kids comes with the designing, the knowing that my kids get an individualized education plan that suits them perfectly.

So here is what I have planned for my two at-home kids:
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Buffet-Style Homeschooling (2012 Curriculum Fair)

One of the most common complaints I hear from new-to-homeschooling moms is, “There are so many choices! I just need somebody to tell me what to do and I’ll do it.”

Well, I’ve got news for you, Mamas. Choosing a curriculum is just the beginning.

Several curricula actually offer choices within their content. They provide a myriad of activities, books, and assignments on a topic and allow you, the teacher, to choose what works best for your kids.

It’s a veritable smorgasbord of learning! With these “buffet-style” curricula homeschooling is like a “choose your own adventure” novel in living color!

In preparation for using a buffet-style curriculum when my children got older, I used Before Five In A Row for preschool. Each week we read one book and then had several different activities to choose from that related to that book.  This gave me a chance to practice picking and choosing before I felt all the stress of “What if I pick wrong and they never learn the date of the Battle of Hastings and I ruin them forever????”

I loved the flexibility this type of curriculum offered. I’d read all of the options and decide what we were in the mood for that week. If I thought I could handle a craft without my head or the glitter exploding, we’d do that. If the science option looked more fun, we’d choose that. Anything I chose centered around our book of the week so it all tied together for my kids. I couldn’t make a WRONG choice.
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