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 the first in an ongoing series I’ve planned 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.

[Read more...]

What does ‘inspire, not require’ really mean?

what does 'inspire, not require' really mean? ~SimpleHomeschool.netJamie Martin, editor of Simple Homeschool, also blogs about motherhood at Steady Mom

Monday mornings at our breakfast table usually start the same way. The kids munch away on their cereal while I kick off a new week by reading aloud our learning manifesto, which hangs in a frame in the same room.

This may sound like a glamorous moment, but I assure you it isn’t. There’s the typical amount of yawning, chewing, and interrupting, but one part of my declaration always seems to grab their attention. The kids’ voices join in as I speak out:

“We learn because we are inspired, not required!”

Inspired, not required. Sounds good, doesn’t it? But what the heck does it mean? And does it really work–if so, how?
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How you think is more important than what you know.

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

A note from Jamie: I’ve been thinking about this post and its message recently. It originally published on March 21, 2011. Hope you enjoy it!

We live in a distracted world. So do our kids. Information rapidfires at us from multiple directions, faster than we can process it. In fact, it’s impossible to process it all anyway.

When it comes to education, we’re encouraged to focus our efforts on the skills our kids need to learn: how to read, how to write, the five paragraph essay.

Check, check, check.

“Oh no, Stacey can’t read yet?”

“Uh oh, no multiplication tables memorized?”

The foundation of our school system, back when it originated, centered around having children learn these specific skills.

But the world has changed. If we want to send our kids off with the best chance for a full and fruitful life, we must change too.

The transformation we need to make starts in our heads, with the more than 10,000 thoughts trickling through it each day.

Teaching our children to think is the key. Here’s how.
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The 6 Month Inventory

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

Back to school time is here for many of us. This time of year always lends itself well to goal-setting and thinking about what we want the next nine months to look like, and what outcomes we’d like to see at the end of them.

I like to use a quick, effective tool to help me plan ahead–the six month inventory.

I first heard of the six month inventory in the book Leadership Education, one of my earliest homeschooling reads (and one that I can’t recommend highly enough). I completed my first inventory this past spring when I attended my annual homeschooling conference.

To create one, I took a small sheet of paper and wrote one of my children’s names at the top. I stopped for a few minutes to consider that child and what he or she most needs from me to learn, love, and grow over the next six months. In brainstorming mode, without overanalyzing, I wrote down all the thoughts and ideas that came to mind. Then I began a new list for the next child until Trishna, Jonathan, and Elijah each had their own.

Here are some of the bulletpoints that made it on the inventory for my kids:
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Relaxed Elementary Education (2011 Curriculum Fair)

Written by contributor Renee Tougas of FIMBY

Ages of my children: 12, 10, and 8

Educational Philosophies I pull from: Leadership Education, Literature-Based, Charlotte Mason, Unschooling

When Jamie first proposed this series I thought, “That will be easy to write. We don’t use much.”

Then I saw all the questions from the introductory post and realized I might actually have something useful to say.

A few of your comments jumped out at me:

  • The repeated request to know what has worked and what hasn’t, and why.
  • How to “make your own” curriculum.
  • How to use readily available resources (like the library) and literature as materials for learning.

I can answer these because of our own eclectic and interest-led elementary homeschooling experience.
[Read more...]

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