This is my fourth year of homeschooling. I love it, but that hasn't always been the case. When I was brand new to homeschooling I kept trying to join groups, to have the accountability and to make sure my kids learned everything they needed to learn. Let's be real, I also wanted my kids to learn more than they needed to know. It gave me pride to say things like, "My daughter is learning the timeline from creation to present day and she's 5." Looking back I was not instilling a love for learning, I was jamming facts down my kids throats hoping they'd be able to spew them back at me.
Now I have a little more relaxed approach. I try to expose them to great books, and poems. We spend a lot of time reading through out the day. We go to the library once a week and regularly check out 30-40 books and read them all before the week is up. We spend time coloring and doing crafts and doing nature studies. I didn't realize I was really doing something that had a name. For a long time when my daughter was younger we'd go outside and find bugs and rocks and my daughter would sometimes draw what she found in little random paper she stapled together. Recently I found out that was actually doing a Nature Study and Notebooking! Now we go a little further in depth, we look up the birds or the berries and find out what they are. It's amazing how much my kids learn from just going on a walk.
A couple of years ago we made a poetry notebook. It had poems and they would illustrate the poem and we'd memorize it. We didn't read a lot of poetry or study one poet. We just memorized a few poems. The great thing about this is my children still have their notebooks and they still like to read through the poems and see how they drew a couple years ago. Recently I started reading the poems by A. A. Milne after Bible during breakfast. They've loved it and wanted more each day. They've asked for certain poems by name and they've started making a poetry notebook again. I love that poetry uses a different type of language and the vocabulary is rich!
I've always liked Charlotte Mason and the workshops on her style at home-school conferences. Yet I was often not using her principals. I've found that doing it her way is increasing my kids love for learning. Using short 15 minute lessons for math has by far been the greatest help to our math struggle. My daughter knowing that she's not going to have to sit there till she finishes a lesson if even it takes an hour frees her to not worry about it. She knows when the timer goes off her math is done. A perk to this is she has in fact started finishing a whole lesson in her 15 minute time slot. That's pretty exciting!
I'll share more about becoming a little more Charlotte Mason styled this week. If you want to learn more about Charlotte and her methods please look at these links: