There are a lot of different ways to homeschool: different curricula of course, also different philosophies. Here’s the mishmash of approaches that I like, with a broad-brush description of how I think about each.
- Noticing opportunities to learn, constantly, wherever they may arise, and taking advantage of them.
- Noticing the kid’s interests and doing your best to help them explore those.
- Surrounding the kid with resources and opportunities and letting them set their own direction.
- Making it up as you go.
If you want to learn more about unschooling, take a look at this blog, created by someone who grew up unschooling and now writes about it.
- Approaching each subject in three broad phases: grammar (the nuts and bolts), logic (the reasoning) and rhetoric (the ability to express skillfully what you’ve learned).
- Spending the elementary years helping kids discover what, the middle years exploring why, and the high school years cultivating their ability to put their knowledge to use.
- Every few years, revisiting what you’ve covered before, but with a different emphasis: reviewing and rediscovering.
Here’s a more detailed description of the classical approach, from the folks behind the book The Well-trained Mind. That book is how I found out about the approach in the first place. A worthy read.
I have a quite a few teachers in my circle of friends and family, and a lot of respect for what they do in their classrooms. The current benchmarks for kids in the public school system represent a ton of care and research. Not that common core is perfect, or perfectly applied. But there’s a lot of good to be mined from it. It’s also important to me to know how what we’re doing at home compares to what my kid’s peers are doing at school. In developing my curriculum this year, I went through the online standards and activities for kindergarten one by one, drawing inspiration from them and integrating them as I saw fit.
You can read the standards here. You’ll have to navigate a bit to read them all, because English and Math are located in separate sections, and each has several subsections, organized by grade level. If you want to see them all in one place, you can also open the standards for English and Math in the form of PDFs.
I’ve been interested in the philosophy of education since long before I had kids. For years I’ve been reflecting on what an education should accomplish, where the shortcomings were in my own education, and what I wish I’d had the chance to do instead. Part of the fun of this process is being able to explore those ideas in practice now, not just in theory.
To see the kindergarten curriculum I came up with for King Sturdy, click here.