Following on with my previous home schooling post, I thought that I would share some thoughts & resources that have worked for us, even though I am VERY new to the game.
In my flailing about, stage of the journey, I found myself caught up with the idea that I had to follow the ministries curriculum policy documents to the letter & was a little stressed, I was also getting pressure from G to do so, but there really isn’t much in terms of support material. The letter that the School Board sent the other day could make one believe that there is an actual useful amount of material given, but when the goal is to get butts on seats in schools, you can understand why the material is a little lacking. I’m only using the policy documents to refer to.
If you are on Facebook, you can join a lot of online groups & pages which share information. I found them useful to peruse, but would recommend not getting too bogged down in them or the politics. Home schooling isn’t all about religion, although sometimes it can feel like there’s far too many posts that link back to religious curriculum’s. I have certainly “happened” across some great non-denominational resources for us, via these groups. I also need to give due credit to with friends & others who had experience with home schooling that I spoke with.
The great advantage of home schooling for me, has been the added flexibility to find resources that fit the kids, not the other way around, as well as a real connection to their learning adventures. Now, when they ask a question or make a half statement, I have context & it’s pretty amazing.
Now, for some of the resources that we’re using at the moment.
The first one is the Complete Canadian Curriculum. I have grade level books for both the kidlets. The books give you a quick rundown on different topics of learning, which you can then build on, but as the link states, it doesn’t really contain enough information to use as your sole resource for an entire year.We also use grade level Scholastic books for extended activities, Scholastic books are quite popular with teachers, which I admit I really liked. Both the Complete Canadian Curriculum & Scholastic books can be purchased from Costco for a reasonable price, if you are looking for them & know someone with a card (cheaper to buy in person than online too).
Whilst we have had issues with sole reliance on online resources, I am not entirely opposed to them. I found that Khan Academy is a wonderful one, just like everyone says. You can use all their online resources regardless of whether you have contributed towards the running costs or not, which I love, they really do stand by their “equal access for all” stance. They have some wonderful videos that explain many of the areas of teaching which we love. The site keeps track of their progress as they do various activities. Mine think of it as a game, so are always keen to do their Khan work, as it gives rewards for finishing tasks etc. I honestly can’t say enough good things about it. As an aside, my oldest has started to do coding, which was an added bonus in terms of topics on offer & I personally love that the tutor in the videos is female.
We use duolingo a little, but I admit that we are actually not really doing too much French. It’s a wonderful resource though, we used it with the kids to learn some Spanish before we went to Peru in January this year. I have actually focused more attention on Sign Languages (Auslan (Australian Sign Language) and ASL) mostly as I have ties to the Deaf community & studied to become a qualified Auslan interpreter years ago. Honestly, at this stage, it’s far more useful than French, at least in our family unit.
In my opinion there’s only so much textbook work that you can do before you get bored, so we’ve gotten a little creative with other modes of learning.
To counteract the social limits with COVID & balance that with some social activities, as well as the fact that we’re considered an at risk family unit, I came up with the idea to organise pen-pals for the kidlets. There are so many wonderful resources available online, as to how to write a letter. For us I found, this reading mama had a fairly decent resource to start. We’ve been doing a mixture of handwritten (snail mail) notes & email to both kids & adults. At the moment we’re all caught up on messages, so they’re learning the skill of patience. Writing letters to other’s is also a great way to encourage literacy skills, without the kids being as aware as they are when we’re doing book work, for which they aren’t seeing any sort of imminent return.
We’ve always used everyday activities to teach practical life skills, that hasn’t really changed, these days, they’re more involved now than they were pre-covid, due to their 24×7 presence. At as someone who picked up my lifeskills outside of the home, I have always been a huge advocate of teaching mine as early as possible.
Both of the kids love to cook, so I use that as much as possible. Cooking is so much more than just filling a need for sustenance which many don’t think about. I use it to improve on skills of language, teaching colours, textures, mathematics, fine motor skills, science & art.
There are basically crossovers in any subject matter, art easily crosses into science, language, math etc. Even chores like cleaning, washing clothes & dishes etc can all be educational. We recently started playing D&D with the kids, which they are embracing with enthusiasm, they don’t even notice the mathematics, the language & literacy skills (the character writing is particularly impressive), among other skills.
We have a nice library of books at home, being a bit of a bibliophile is great to be honest, because these days, we just aren’t going to the library like we used to. To be honest I miss libraries, but this is the new norm for us, so we are going with the flow. That being said, there are some great online resources to borrow/ read copies of virtual copies of books too if you don’t have physical books.
The kids still ask about when they might get to go back to school to see their friends, but they also understand that at the moment, this is the safest option for us going ahead, for what feels like an undefined period of time. Best make the learning experience as much fun as possible & enjoy the flexibility our current situation affords us.
I hope that you find something I have mentioned of benefit. Just because it works for us, does not mean it’s destined to greatness on your journey. I very much believe that in the end you are responsible for your own decisions & have to live with them, others, do not. Make your own path & all the best in your educational journey