We started “homeschooling” five years ago when I started teaching Bebop preschool at home. At the time I followed the Montessori approach very closely. I still really like Montessori principles and use that approach with the little boys and many non-academic parts of our home. This year Bebop is in first grade, our first official year of homeschooling, and I have made the transition to a more classical approach with him. Over the next week ’m going to talk more specifically about each age I am currently teaching (toddler, preschooler, and first grade). But today I want to share a bit of what we do corporately and what real life looks like for us.
Real Life Homeschool Blogging
I’ve been blogging off and on for close to 7 years. In that time blogging has changed quite a bit. Since the debut of pinterest back in 2010, blogs on average have become more polished, more magazine-ish. In some cases that is completely appropriate. I love reading cooking and crafting blogs with well staged photos, and I love to pin them like crazy. I have seen some homeschool blogs go this route also and it can be very discouraging, especially to new homeschoolers because homeschooling and parenting isn’t polished!
Easter event with 7 kids under the age of 4. After a half hour of “crafting” this was the result. This is what toddler crafts really look like!
I try really hard to show only things WE ACTUALLY DO. I don’t blog everything we do (if I did, this blog would have a very ground-hog day feel to it!). I try to show things that work and don’t work. I try to show the real struggles in parenting and homeschooling. I know I fail at this goal a lot. When things get hard or stressful I tend to not post anything at all. My goal this week is to document the whole range of our homeschool experience: the good, the bad, and the unfinished.
Real Life Chores
It might seem strange to start a series on homeschooling talking about chores, but that’s where we started our homeschool journey. A big part of the Montessori approach is the idea of practical life exercises. Practical life skills (aka chores) are presented as a lesson and then reinforced through practice. In our house this starts as soon as a toddler is walking. If they are big enough to make a mess, I expect them to contribute to cleaning up the mess!
Most day we spend the same amount of time, if not more, doing chores as we do studying academics. Practical life skills teach children concentration, accuracy (because mom will make them do it again if it’s wrong), following directions, and cooperation. I also believe that all preschool math skills can be taught while folding laundry: sorting, counting, and basic geometry as you are folding.
Bebop hanging up his baby brother’s shirt.
At 7, Bebop can fold and put away ALL his own laundry plus towels, cloth napkins, and his brother’s clothes when needed. He also can load and unload the dishwasher, clean bathrooms, and vacuum. We are working right now on developing kitchen skills. My next big goal for Bebop is learning to prepare an entire meal. That is probably a year or two off at least, but we’re taking baby steps to get there.
Magoo NOT folding laundry.
At 4 Magoo can fold and put away most of his clothes and towels. He can also unload the dishwasher. However, the ability to do something is very different from the willingness to follow through. We have many battles over chores. I’m just starting to teach Magoo how to use the vegetable peeler and he has a plastic lettuce knife that he uses to cut soft things. Until his willingness to follow directions is more reliable, he won’t be using anything sharp or any heat in the kitchen.
He really thinks he’s helping! Someone needs to hold the lid on the blender right?
At 2 Doodad thinks he can help with everything! He’s actually pretty good at sweeping up things, but not so great at getting the dirt to the trashcan. My goal with Doodad is that he doesn’t create any new messes while we’re working. I usually have to go behind him and refold or re-clean things.
Real Life Memory Work
While we are doing chores, including preparing meals and cleaning up the kitchen, I play our memory work songs. On average we listen to the songs for about 2 hours a day. Bebop knows almost all his memory work from this year, over 200 specific facts. Magoo knows about half of them and surprisingly I’ve caught Doodad singing several of the jingles while he is playing. My favorite is to hear him sing the Latin version of Gloria Patri in his sweet toddler voice.
Studying Memory Work: Just Press Play
I was really nervous when we started a classical homeschool co-op at the amount of facts the kids were being taught each year. In the last few weeks I’ve worked very intentionally with Bebop to master everything for the voluntary end of the year test. Otherwise learning the memory work has been pretty easy. I just hit play.
Real Life Independence
One of my big goals is for the boys to take ownership of themselves and their education. That’s a lot to ask of a preschooler, but I believe teaching kids to made decisions starts young. I try to give the boys freedom to choose their own clothes, their own toys, and often their own school assignments. And I try really hard to let them suffer the consequences, both good and bad, of their choices.
For example, this morning the boys chose to play with our rice tub. They chose to throw handfuls of rice around the school room. Their consequence was picking up the rice, every single grain of it, by hand to put back in the tub.
That’s Real Life in our Homeschool Today!
More Real Life Homeschool Coming This Week:
Real Life Totschool
Real Life Preschool
Real Life First Grade
Homeschool Room Tour and A Day in the Life Photos
Discover real life in other homeschools with the Schoolhouse Review Crew bloggers! Join the blog hop to read more!
This is a blog hop, so be sure to hop over and see what real life homeschooling looks like in other families:
Life at Rossmont ~ A Stable Beginning ~ Happy Little Homemaker ~ Joyful Hearts and Faces ~ Day by Day in Our World ~ Mama’s Coffee Shop ~ Delightful Learning ~ Double O Farms ~ Tales of a Homeschool Family ~ Home Sweet Life ~ A Rup Life ~ Indy Homeschool ~ The Open Window-An Autism Blog ~ Creative Madness Mama ~ Hopkins Homeschool ~ Tots and Me…Growing Up Together ~ Our Journey ~ Crystal Starr ~ A Little This … A Little That ~ For the Display of His Splendor ~ Treasuring Life’s Blessings ~ Double O Farms ~ Simple Living Mama ~ Fried Clams and Sweet Tea ~ This Sweet Life ~ A Net In Time ~ Counting Pinecones ~ Some Call It Natural ~ Kingdom Academy Homeschool ~ Debbie’s Homeschool Corner ~ Unexpected Homeschool ~ For Him and My Family ~ As We Walk Along the Road ~ Growing in His Glory ~ Homeschool Coffee Break ~ Daily Life ~ There Will Be A $5 Charge For Whining ~ Proverbial Homemaker ~ ElCloud Homeschool ~ Every Bed of Roses ~ Ben and Me ~ Footprints in the Butter ~ Mountain of Grace Homeschooling ~ Raventhreads ~ Counting Our Blessings ~ Homeschooling for His Glory ~ Ozark Ramblings ~ Chestnut Grove Academy ~ Only Passionate Curiosity ~ Farm Fresh Adventures