At the moment we are very autonomous and unstructured in our approach to home educating. On the days when I’m not working, we have no routine and often every day is different. The children are free to play or make use of resources such as our Montessori materials whenever they wish. I follow their interests by providing more information about a topic and suggesting ways to extend their play. Occasionally I plan and set up a specific activity but most of the time we are completely spontaneous. A lot of learning happens out and about, just living our daily lives or meeting up with friends.
I’m planning to introduce a bit more structure from September (yes, I know I’ve said that before!). The children will be at Steiner kindergarten one day a week and I will be working two full days per week, so I feel like our time together needs to be a bit more organised. Here is a summary of the curriculum and resources we are planning to use.
Aaron attends Sunday School and Wednesday Bible Club every week and a Christian Home-Ed group every fortnight. He enjoys learning memory verses and recently memorised Psalm 100 for Sunday School, so we will gradually be memorising all the verses from our ABC Bible Verse Book and hopefully finding some corresponding choruses or hymns to learn alongside.
Aaron will continue using Reading Eggs and working his way through the pink/blue/green Montessori language materials. He still finds reading rather frustrating at times and much prefers writing, so finding the right balance between gentle encouragement and not pushing him too soon is tricky.
Tabitha is starting to show an interest in reading and writing. She recognises a few letters and can write the letters T and I. This week she pretended to read something, breaking the words down into individual sounds and syllables for the first time. She will be using sandpaper letters and initial sound objects to learn phonics. The sand tray and wipe-clean workbooks will help her practise letter formation.
Aaron is loving Mathseeds at the moment and has raced through most of the levels already. He usually does some each day, so I hope they continue to add new levels often enough to keep him busy! We will carry on working through the Montessori mathematics scope and sequence as described here.
We use Stave House (see my review here) to teach notation and rhythm, which both children love. Aaron has just started taking piano lessons with my mum. I am also planning to restart violin lessons with Aaron after a long break and begin them for the first time with Tabitha.
We have started working through my KHT Montessori physical science album, aiming to cover one short topic per week or one longer topic per fortnight which should keep us busy for most of the year. I may add in some of the other five science albums over the course of the year.
We have gone down the path of limiting screen time because Aaron can’t self-regulate and too much time on the computer has an negative impact on his behaviour and imaginative play. He usually gets 20 minutes during the day to use Reading Eggs or Mathseeds, and a further 20 minutes in the evening to play Minecraft or Scribblenauts Unlimited. There is lots of information available about the educational benefits of Minecraft, but Scribblenauts is a game I had never come across before. It is a puzzle game which uses words to create objects and encourages divergent thinking. Aaron uses a picture dictionary to help him write words independently. I originally looked into tools like Alice and Scratch, which are designed to teach children programming, but they are mostly recommended for ages 8+ and unsuitable for beginner readers.
Of course our learning will not be limited to the subjects and resources mentioned here, these are simply the things I will be focusing on as we attempt to build a gentle routine and rhythm. I must dig out my Project-Based Homeschooling book again as I’d love to include more child-directed project work. I’m also hoping to enroll Aaron in some kind of extra-curricular activity, probably gymnastics as he is spending a lot of time trying to do cartwheels and headstands at the moment!