The beginning of the new year must mean reorganizing and decorating, because there’s been a lot of talk about how to arrange small spaces for homeschooling in the Facebook groups. “How do you arrange a homeschool space when you don’t have an extra room?” “Does anyone homeschool in a small apartment?” “We are moving into a tiny house this year. Does anyone one else homeschool out of a really small home? What does it look like for you?”
Peanut butter and jelly. Peas and carrots. Peaches and cream. STEAM and nature study.
Yes, they belong together that much. This isn’t a new concept, it’s just that back in the olden days when we were kids, they didn’t call it “STEAM” (or “science, technology, engineering, art, and math.”) But we built forts, bridges, and hide-aways none the less. We forged ramps for our bikes, pulleys to get snacks to the top of the tree, and leaf crowns for our heads. We rigged up makeshift roller coasters, launched pinecones with homemade catapults, and sent crude little boats down drainage ditches. Most of us spent our childhood steeped in STEAM outside, from the time the sun came up until the street lights came on.
Let’s get one thing out in the open, right from the start:
Curriculum is there to work for you. You are NOT bound to work for it.
No, you do NOT have to follow it, verbatim, as-prescribed, day-by-day, task-by-task. No, you are not going to mess up your child’s entire education if you veer from it from time to time. No, you are not “ruining everything” if you ditch it after six weeks because it’s making you or your child miserable.
With all of the ideas and resources available to homeschoolers today, it can be really hard to resist the urge to do all the things. One hour on Pinterest and you can rack up a pretty hefty list of crafts to do, unit studies to execute, math games to try, and field trips to plan. Sometimes these fit in seamlessly with our existing plans. Sometimes, they forcefully wedge into them like linebackers, tackling any sense of rhythm we’ve worked so hard to establish and
Every week, the same question comes up in one Facebook group or another: “Does anyone here work from home and homeschool?” A chorus of responses rolls out with every kind of answer. Some homeschoolers work a farm while homeschooling, some parents run an Etsy shop full of beautiful hand-made products. Some sell essential oils, make-up, or health supplements. Some work as a VA or an editor. Some are transcriptionists, some are writers, and some run in-home daycares. In this day and age, and in this economy, I suspect many
Edwin Hubble said, “Equipped with his five senses, man explores the universe around him and calls the adventure Science.” Of equal notability (in my humble opinion), Richard Louv said “If we are going to save environmentalism and the environment, we must also save an endangered indicator species: the child in nature.”
As homeschooling parents, we often project our impression of our learning time together onto our children. But how often do we take a step back to see the day through their eyes? Speaking for myself, not often enough. I know my girls are happy, stimulated, and learning–I can see it in their faces and their muddy toes, and I hear it in their dinner-time banter. But what do they remember most
While our kindergarten curriculum includes a very gentle approach to first lessons in history and geography, mostly focusing on the life events of the child and their family, I felt like I should start to incorporate some additional unit studies into our learning. There are so many historical figures worth studying, worth investigating, even when our children are very young, and many of the lessons we learn from their experiences shape future ideas for our children as they begin to connect the dots of world events and people.