Thursday, March 26, 2015

How Many Subjects?

When I was new to home education, I had a long list of "school" subjects.  In addition to math, science, social studies, and English; there were Bible, music, foreign language, home economics, art, physical education and the list went on and on and . . . Well you get the idea.

This was a stressful way to educate, because lesson planning and supervising three children in fifteen different subject areas in the course of year is IMPOSSIBLE.  My beloved facilitator finally clued me in.  Now there are only four school subjects:  math, science, social studies and English.  The rest is "life" or "enrichment".  So for the four school subjects, I carefully plot, plan and purchase curriculum. (for more on what to do with curriculum see blog post coming soon "I bought the curriculum, now what?") Because we tend to follow a more traditional home education approach, this works well for us.

For all the other things we do, I provide opportunities to learn and experience. There have been lessons, courses, camps and coops.  I report these accomplishments to my school board at the end of the year, but I don't grade them. I find serious answers for serious questions and model where and how to look up answers. Eventually, I say, "I don't know. You should look that up." In this way I hope I am creating life long learners.

This has lightened the load for my children too.  Now there are some activities where they lead the learning.  I have seen both my daughters enjoy drawing, painting, sewing, and other crafts. I don't grade their efforts or their output,  I just hang their creations on my walls and brag about their progress.

Where the Bible is concerned, I have modelled daily Bible reading and also modelled once in a blue moon Bible reading, because I am not perfect and life can be chaotic.  We talk about what we read in the Bible, just as we talk about and share everything we read. 

In the area of home economics, my children have been required to plan, shop for and make meals.  Not once in a while, but weekly because we all like to eat regularly.  They do their own laundry and keep their rooms tidy.

The areas which aren't graded tend to be those areas which will become life sustaining in their later years.  Everybody asks why it's necessary to learn Algebra, nobody questions the need to learn to read and understand a recipe, or why it's good to have rackets or sticks and move a ball around.

So we homeschool, but we also live.

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