Saturday, March 15, 2014

Homeschooling update

Yes, he's reading a comic book. It's high brow stuff.
One of the most common questions we get is how the homeschooling is going. Honestly, we won't know how the boys compare to traditionally schooled kids unless they get formally tested because we're not following a regimented program that has its own testing. Instead, we wanted to let the boys focus on subjects that interest them, while trying to make sure they learn the core skills they will need.
Conrad, who would be in second grade, still loves reading and learning about marine life. He gets to see it in real life while snorkeling, fishing, and playing at the beach. He recently picked up the Red Cross First Aid book and is fascinated by it. His American Boys Handy book also gets lots of use.

Mark's reading recently took off and he is becoming just as voracious a reader as Conrad. He would be in Kindergarten this year. He has become obsessed with chess and recently legitimately beat me, which admittedly is not saying much because my distracted Mom-brain sometimes makes a lot of mistakes, but it was the first time since he learned to play (I wasn't sure whether to let him win a few when we first started but decided not to).

There are days when school is a struggle, even though it is usually only a few hours a day. That's because they are kids and sometimes they don't feel like doing school. Even though much of their learning is self-directed (they get to choose what they read and write for example), I can't quite commit to the full unschooling philosophy, especially when it comes to math. And it's hard to make math fun for most kids. I'm happy to see that as they get better at it, they seem to enjoy it more and are starting to see the importance of math skills in buying and selling, as well as cooking and baking.
Here is a list of some of our favorite homeschooling paraphernalia:
Books - We have gone through the first 2 volumes of Story of the World, which they love. We read aloud a lot. We have a few science books with experiments that we have tried. There is a huge variety and number of books crammed into a relatively small space, including many eBooks. We have dabbled in Spanish but it hasn't been a big focus.
Art Supplies - A seemingly endless supply of paper and media fuels their very active imaginations. They have spent hours making rubber band bracelets on their rainbow looms.
Games - Their favorites are chess, checkers, cards (War and Spit), Rush Hour, and Pirate Flux. We also let them play chess and math games on the iPad and one of their favorite apps is a Stop Motion animation program. We also let them play electronic games one day of the week. By choice, they spend time during the rest of the week writing out plans and strategies for Minecraft and Battle Dragons.
Toys - They use their big box of Lego every day. Snap Circuits teaches electronics. Their bunks are half-filled with stuffed animals that they play act with every morning when they wake up. They also put on puppet shows with the animals. Their favorite outdoor toys are nets they can use to collect sea life and lizards. Sometimes a piece of rope or a bucket and shovel at the beach is all they need.

Music - Conrad has been learning how to play the piano. They both love listening to music and making up dances. They have put on several parades where they have fashioned costumes and musical instruments.
Most important, they are with us throughout the day learning about cooking, navigation, systems, sailing, nature, and whatever other topic sparks their interest. They get lots of field trips and are exposed to different cultures, people, and environments.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like they're both getting a full learning experience. Nice going.


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