Over the month of August I am going to participate in the Heart of the Matter Online “Not Back to School” blog hop. Though I am in Australia and therefore not starting school afresh at this time of year, I thought it a good time to think about what I’m doing and share it anyway.
The first theme is Curriculum. Curriculum is often just seen as the books used in a school – or in our sense a homeschool but it really means
- a list of the courses of study offered by a school/college (or homeschool)
- any programme or plan of activities
I like this second definition because it gives me the scope to record any learning activity or programme that we believe is helping our children grow whether it addresses the spiritual, emotional, social, mental or physical aspects of their life. Here is our current curriculum list:
Relationships: Relationship with God and with People
Bible Study as a family: we go to church; Josh, Jess and Nomi participate in our mid-week Bible study. Just completed The Truth Project and about to start a study on the Commands of Christ.
We also study Character as a way of us understanding the choices we have to make, these choices affect all areas of our life, but never more than relationships. We use Character First material and study one trait a month.
Jessica and Nomi participate in a weekly outreach programme, Mainly Music. Jessica is on the committee which means she attends monthly committee meetings that focus on the running and organisation of the weekly programme. This also involves being on the morning tea roster a couple of times a term (Mainly Music encourages a home-cooked morning tea).
Responsibilities: Time, Money, Possessions, Work
Each of our children is responsible for an area of the house for a week – this rotates throughout the month. Kitchen (includes cooking), Bathroom, Outside, and Laundry. Through these chores our children are learning the skills necessary to look after the family’s property and possessions, as well as to manage their time.
Each child has their own diary and is aware of their schedule and commitments (include study schedule).
Jessica works for 4 hours a week in our family business office – this is a mixture of tasks including training. Nomi and Daniel work for a couple of hours a week helping maintain the house. These tasks are above their regular family chores and they are paid for these. This gives them an opportunity to learn about finances.
Intrapersonal: Leadership skills, Public presentation, Self Management, Communication, Knowing myself, Emotional Health, Gender Skills, Physical Health, Purity Issues
Most of these topics are addressed as normal family life and parenting opportunities but they are also addressed specifically when a need or opportunity arises.
Jessica and Nomi have been doing a course on grooming and deportment (I’m not going to list it here as I am unsure at this stage if I would recommend it!)
We encourage each of the children to exercise most mornings. They generally walk, run or bike. In another season we also swim. Nomi is currently playing netball which involves a mid-week training session and a weekend game. Our family is slowly picking up tennis.
Jessica is reading Personality Plus at the moment. Jessica enjoys reading many books from this category.
Jessica is on the roster for Children’s talk – she prepares and delivers an object lesson to a group of about 20-25 kids aged 3yo- 12yo.
Talents: Talents, Gifts, Abilities, Interests of the individual child
Jessica: Piano (Jess occasionally plays at church), Sewing, Paper crafts, Graphic Arts/Typography & Design, blog
Naomi: Piano, Sewing, Art – watercolours (at the moment), blog
Daniel: Daniel takes on any maintenance jobs around the house, Tech drawing, writing stories, movie making / animation, blog
Academics / Basic skills: Reading, wRiting, aRithmetic
Each of the children have a reading list that they read through
They write in response to the things they learn. We also use IEW – Institute of Excellence in Writing– we have lessons with this particular programme twice a month – they then integrate the skills into their everyday writing.
We use Math-U-See for our core math programme. Once/twice a month we use Math living books to expand the children’s math concepts. I’d like to do this more but at this stage can’t find the time to do so.
Academics / Thinking skills
Research, Recording, Responding,
also includes World View, Logical/Critical thinking
At this stage most of this is done incidentally in family life as we discuss sermons, movies and documentaries, the news, books etc. Every Sunday night we watch a ‘thinking’ movie – this can be anything from a biographical account, a movie with a strong Christian or thought provoking theme, a documentary or a conference message. This gives us a platform for much discussion.
Academics / General Knowledge
History; the study of People
Jessica is reading living books – she is reading World War II history
Nomi is learning about Shakespeare – both the man, the culture he lived in and his works. She is using a collection of living picture books.
Daniel is using Sonlight (with me) and is currently studying the Pacific Islands.
Science; the study of the World
Our current science study is God’s Design: the Human Body. Jess, Nomi and Daniel do this together, once a week.
Jess is also reading The World of Chemistry