Sunday, October 26, 2014

Homeschooling for School Children

I've been looking up homeschooling activities lately, to complement the learning five year old Cohen is doing at school (Prep) in a creative and play based way, and for two and a half year old Emerson, who is already showing a lot of interest. There are so many great resources that are just a simple Google or Pinterest search away. I love that so many homeschooling parents share posts about their journey and what works with their children, which has inspired me to share more of our activities on my blog too. As the school year draws closer to its close, I wanted to start implementing activities that we could carry on with on the holidays, to nurture Cohen and Emerson's love of learning. On many blogs I read suggestions about Nature Books, and was reminded to lead by example and make it fun.

Yesterday, with an empty Saturday before us, we made plans to visit the library, the playground and the shops. At the library Cohen used a computer to complete his first catalogue search to track down his first chapter book, he and Emerson joined two other children to build with over sized Lego blocks, and Emerson and I selected several books for our routine pre-nap story time. From there we visited the playground and after climbing, sliding and swinging, I suggested we hunt through the many fallen leaves and find our favorites. Both children loved this idea, and we compared our 'treasures' in excitement. Cohen commented on the colours and shapes of the leaves, and I suggested we take them home so we could draw them, which was also met with excitement. I added that while we were at the shops we could perhaps buy a special sketchbook, and call it our 'Nature Book', and only draw the leaves, shells, flowers etc that we found on our adventures. Cohen couldn't wait to get going and headed back to the car! Emerson was less interested in this idea, but already has her own book and set of felt pens that she plays with on a daily basis and is currently in her circle period (where she covers the pages with circles).

Once home the youngest two napped while Cohen and I sat and drew together. I left the dishes in the sink, the clean clothes in the machine, and spent one on one time drawing with my big boy. It was so lovely. I lead by example, writing in the front of my book, drawing the leaves, labeling my drawing, and Cohen did the same. There was none of the resistance that I am often met with while encouraging him to practice writing for homework. He added his own creative touch by drawing a slippery slide, so he would remember where we found the leaves. He decided we should keep our treasure in a shoe box and is already planning to draw with his Aunty at our upcoming Farm Stay holiday.

So, while Cohen will continue to pursue a traditional education, and Emerson and Oscar will eventually join him, a year after most Australian children, I'm grateful there is such a plentiful source of wisdom online, that we are able to integrate homeschooling techniques and projects in to our daily lives.

I'd love to hear your thoughts and experiences on this matter!
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