Interest-Driven Curricula and an Open Mind (2011 Curriculum Fair)

Written by contributor Hillary Boucher of Infinitely Learning

Children’s ages: 6, 3, and 10 months
Educational Philosophy Influences: Unschooling, Enki, Eclectic

Our children are quite young and so far interest-driven learning has been all we’ve needed. Philosophically, we are what is described as “unschooling.”

I am not particularly attached to unschooling as a rule-set as much as I am dedicated to individualized, case-by-case, interest-driven learning.

If there is anything I’ve learned in life and parenting it’s to keep an open mind and heart. You never know what might be around corner, how life will unfold or how someone’s needs may change.

I’m open to using any tool that helps facilitate growth and learning and I acknowledge that at some point it could include a specific curriculum.
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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.
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Resources for Early Learning (2011 Curriculum Fair)

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

Ages of my children: 7.5, 6.5, and 6
Educational Philosophies I Pull From: Waldorf, Leadership Education, Unschooling

When I had two children, both still toddlers, I planned out their entire education for the next 15 years. I spent hours drawing charts, researching, thinking about socialization, and narrowing down curriculum options.

We haven’t followed any of it.

Since then I’ve found a better strategy is to plan for tomorrow, not next week or next year. I don’t mean you should never look ahead; I just mean that when stress or overwhelm kick in, that’s your clue to stop.

Today I want to share not only the resources we’ll be using in the upcoming year, but also what we’ve used in the past. Hopefully this will help those of you with younger children as well.
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Don’t Know Much About History Resources (2011 Curriculum Fair)

Written by Simple Homeschool contributor Amida of Journey Into Unschooling

Ages of my children: 12, 9, 4, and 5 months
Educational Philosophies I Pull From: Unschooling, Eclectic

History was never my strong point. I blame it on all the instructors who pretty much killed the subject for me, like elementary school teachers who had us read and respond to the social studies textbook questions without a single explanation on how it related to the rest of world chronology.

Plus the grad-school student-teacher who had us studying Machiavelli’s The Prince for a whole semester in high school because that was her dissertation work. And although she was totally enamored with the subject, it just didn’t rub off on me.

Thankfully, there were two teachers who did bring some light into those Dark Ages, and both had one thing in common — they told stories and they told them with enthusiasm.

On days when we probably should have been reviewing declensions, our Latin teacher, egged on by students who knew his weakness, would spend the entire period telling us stories from Roman history.

Another instructor acted as our tour guide to all the must see Wonders of the World — from Pyramids to the Taj Mahal, he shared with us the stories behind all these architectural marvels as we zipped through different time periods in history.
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Homeschooling and Moving

Written by contributor Renee Tougas of FIMBY.

Spring is a time for many things. A time for yard sales, planting the garden, and riding bikes.

It’s also the time of year many families are preparing to move. ‘Round the corner, across country, or out of the country. I know our family is not alone as we pack boxes, attend to paperwork, and say goodbye to friends.

Moving happens. And for us homeschoolers, all the packing and preparation happens with children around the majority of the time.

Our family is moving back to Canada next month. And I sometimes fantasize about how much I could accomplish in a day if only my children were at the local school instead of making mess learning at home.

Not every day is easy but we’ve chosen homeschooling for the long haul and so we’re figuring out how to make the best of it while we move.

Here are a few things I’m learning along the way.

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