Our first week was surprisingly relaxed and well incorporated into the kids’ daily activities. I guess it was as it should be — with the kids just playing all day and me just finding little pockets of time to insert some incidental learning throughout the day.
To other moms who are interested in homeschooling but afraid to start because you don’t know how, here are words of encouragement from my first hand experience in my very first week:
It isn’t hard.
It’s a lot like playing.
It’s not 100% easy.
You can do it!
Highlights from this week’s plan
The Blossom and Root lesson plan that I followed this week is a Charlotte Mason inspired curriculum dedicated to nature study. So the kids goals involved some music study, art, kitchen study, parent and child engagement, and lots and lots of free time to play outside. It isn’t heavily academic but you and your child can read, sing, and talk a lot about things that inspire them. The tasks are simple with actual “lessons” lasting a maximum of 30 minutes a day. Some days, as in picture study, the whole lesson takes 5 minutes.
Week 1 of The Blossom and Root curriculum is actually available as a sample online, so I don’t feel too uncomfortable sharing the experience here. This week’s composer is Mozart so I had the kids listen to his music while doing free play or sowing seeds in the garden.
The art for week one was Van Gogh’s Yellow House. My 22 month old pointed at the blue sky and white clouds and said “sky.” My 4 year old said he sees a yellow house and that next time, he wants a printout of “Five Little Monkeys.” Yup, you won’t get a lot of social media quotable stuff on a lot of days, but there are 365 days in a year so there’ll be a lot of chances that your child will say something awe inspiring.
We laughed and tried to make up a story with the picture (my son said the people on the road were going to the dentist) and then I gave him a printout of “Five Little Monkeys.”
Since it was raining in the past week, we just bundled up the kids in raincoats and tried to find pockets of green space in the city.
This week, we played in puddles, examined some rocks, and found a caterpillar that later inspired the kids to read “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” all over again. It was a lot of effortless discovery because Mother Nature reveals herself to those who care to look.
In kitchen study, we decided to make our regular trip to the supermarket a learning experience by naming things for the baby and letting kuya plan out what he likes to eat (he likes *a lot* of fruit).
Reading and self directed activities
The Blossom and Root curriculum has an extensive reading list. This week’s book “The Little Blue Truck” isn’t available in the kids’ library so we chose to watch a read aloud on youTube. We didn’t stick to this one book, though. Since the kids love books anyway, we read whatever they reach for in their bookshelf anytime they want.
Our days were filled with their favourite toys as well — lots of play dough, blocks, dolls, and cars kept them busy and fuelled their imagination. I find these times to be of utmost importance because they get a lot of time to play on their own, develop some fine motor skills through play, and discover things they like.
Self directed activities and giving my kids a lot of time to play outside are not new to our family. We have long been convinced that letting them play and delaying academic pressure in early childhood would benefit them in the long run and make them happy kids. Introducing a relaxed curriculum this week, though, proved to be liberating for me as a parent educator because it helped me mildly insert some structured activities and engage my kids in a way that doesn’t feel like school work.
For those who aren’t considering homeschool, I realized that having a home school curriculum on hand is a great way to spend time with the kids in their early years. It’s great to have on hand when you run out of ideas for what to do on a boring day and the content can be picked apart for the parts that you like.
The biggest revelation was a confirmation of what experienced homeschool moms have been telling me: pre-school is the best time to start the homeschool journey. I can’t wait for more of what’s in store for us.