Thursday, July 30, 2009

Homeschool Preschool

Over the past few months we have been getting more serious about home learning. I have read several good books on Montessori learning at home and in schools. I have been following several good blogs on Montessori and Waldorf style homeschooling. Just trying to soak it all in and figure out what will work best for me and for both my kids. I was at first discouraged by all the equipment needed for Montessori learning. Some mamas set out different activities every day that involve sorting, counting, transferring with tongs, spoons, etc., and it all seemed like a lot more work and planning than I am capable of with a household to run and a monster of a toddler running around the house. Waldorf schooling seems a little loose for me and T. really thrives on challenge, he seems especially hungry for information lately. Waldorf is very play based and if you know T., you know he is not apt to just play pretend and be satisfied that way. While of course I think play is important for him given his nature I really think he needs a more Montessori based learning environment. After reading a great book, Raising an Amazing Child the Montessori Way by Tim Seldon I was able to relax a little about the tools needed and the prepared environment. Maria Montessori herself believed that the home environment was the first and best learning environment and her classrooms were set up so a child felt at home in a community where he belonged. We've got that covered. While some of the learning materials are important to the learning objective, some aren't. I think I now have a handle on which skills need to be learned when and how they can be achieved in our home environment with tools we have here at home. Some things I admire about the Waldorf philosophies will also be utilised in our homeschool, like the daily rhythms and routines. I also love the emphasis on nature and the outdoors, something we will most definitely focus on. I also feel that Waldorf picks up the art appreciation where Montessori lacks.

At last I feel I am at a place where I can put together a curriculum tailored for my kids with enough structure to keep me organized and enough give to keep it fun and easy. We will have a monthly theme, August is Weather. Four days per week (mon-thurs) will be structured with a daily theme and a daily rhythm that includes circle time, outside time, story time, walking the line (a montessori activity), snacks, rest time, free play and lots of fun. Our daily themes dictate the activities we will do, for example Mondays are Language and Music days where our activities will focus on language or music or both. We will also have science/nature day, math/movement day and art day. Each week we will have a letter or soun we learn. We will follow Montessori's method of learning to read phonetically beginning with learning the sound the letter makes and not the name of the letter. While it sounds like a lot of structure, it is really not much different from what we are doing now, having small children means having daily routines (mostly snack times, lol!) I expect it all to be a lot of fun and some hard work also (on my part). We have invited two other children to join our homeschooling and we hope that goes well. Follow our progress here to see how it goes.

1 comment:

Sarah said...

WOW! I'm impressed with all the work and research you've done. We have a sort of routine here, but still developing it. I'm not a routine person but Erik really is. Asha Srushti seems to be a go with the flow kind of kid, but she's still a toddler and enjoys some level of predictability. She's very good at mealtimes, so we try to enjoy those as much as possible.