Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Strata of Our Schooling

Saturday, September 11, 2010
School is in session. So far, so good even though I know there will be difficult days. I am so thankful for the enthusiasm and eagerness that Christopher and Anna greet me with each morning. It's not a sure thing that what you want and pray for your kids can be met in practice. For now we are in sync and I am filled with gratitude.

2010-September-Visit with Nana 047
Photo from a recent trek to one of our favorite local hiking trails.

The Foundational Layers
We are easing into our flow and slowly layering in new lessons. I like to call it the strata of our schooling. We start with the fundamentals; reading, writing and arithmetic. Introduce the subject, obtain a grasp of how it works each day and then let it settle. Our primary curriculum is Sonlight and Excel Math. The literature-based approach to learning history and science helps enhance our core reading and writing, even if we are studying supplemental topics. We are building our foundation.

Subsequent Layering
And so, we add in science and history, also through Sonlight, and let it settle.

Then we proceed adding a writing workshop, layering in Meet the Masters, and a periodic trip outside for the day with a program like Earthroots Field School. We have sports to add in and some really great field trips as well.

We have not had any problem filling our dance card. In fact, I echo what a seasoned homeschooling mom recently shared with me.

Homeschooling is not about choosing great things for your kids.
It's about choosing the things that are truly exceptional.

Programming and Socialization
There are so many options for fun, good programming. We don't even give the socialization piece any energy. It is not a problem at all (Heather wrote a great piece here.). Our challenge has been more a matter of determining what is outstanding among the many choices offered. Maintaining focus when there is a super cool program available is much more typical than not finding enough good options.

Plan and Scheduling
Part of what is keeping me grounded is the plan and schedule. Working the plan and chipping away at it. We look back and realize, wow, we covered a lot--even on just this first week. Building our program is a fine art in calendar management and planning in order to make it all work. But it's doable and sustainable, layer by layer.

The other piece that is critical for me and my composition (read: incessant researcher) is a good support network. D is my #1 support. He partners in the teaching an itty bitty bit but more importantly for me, he has my back. He covers me with the kids and gives me room to find the best programs (for us).

I have also latched on to some wise homeschooling mamas who have been there and done that. They offer wisdom and comfort not found in a lesson plan or book.

I also seek like-minded folks who offer camaraderie and support on the philosophical level. We stepped out on this journey when no one close to us was homeschooling. It has been wonderful to meet and bond with great families. Their curricula may be different and their family intention may not be ours but the commitment is shared.

And then there is my posse. My girls keeping it real and giving me outlets that have absolutely nothing to do with schooling. My monthly dinners with Jora, my creative outlet (and so much more) in Michelle, and my regular grounding and belly laughing with Adrienne are just a few that keep me going.

The balance is key for me.

2010-September-Visit with Nana 029

Post script: If you are familiar with our crew then you may be panicking with not a single mention of my little helper, Parker. He's here and he's a helper. He has preschool three mornings a week, which is great for him. He has a blast. And then he's home with us the other two days. He adds another layer for us and we work as a group to find our rhythm. He is watching and learning how to learn too.


Emily's Musings said...

so jealous! i wish i could have been there to hike with you guys!!!

180|360 said...

thank you for being MY wise homeschooling mama! :)

Adrienne Hedger said...

Shout out! Love it.