Friday, September 10

Mama, when do I start REAL school?

I was hearing that question alot during August as  Toucie's peers, one by one, toddled off to different schools as proud kindergarteners. Our family had made the decision to homeschool Toucie long ago, and now with her leukemia diagnosis it is pretty much a necessity. So,  we are official, card-carrying, kindergarten homeschoolers this year! What a joy to be able to hold off until after Labor Day to begin our school year.

We've just completed our first week and I wanted to lay out our schedule here. Ours is a Waldorf inspired homeschool, so kindergarten does not include academic studies...but that doesn't mean that we're not learning things everyday! There is alot of art, music, literature, games and nature in our day-to-day life. That covers alot of "school" already. Our "formal" kindergarten is the result of me bringing  stronger rhythm to the week by incorporating a daily "circletime" and assigning a task to each of our 4 schooldays (baking, laundry, handwork, painting). This way, Toucie's desire for "real" school was satisfied, and my desire for a non-academic kindy year was satisfied as well.
For me this year is a trial. Each week requires planning and research and I am keeping records as if an audit was expected. My record-keeping method is inspired by this from Renee's blog, FIMBY. Here is what mine looks like:

I try to spend time at the end of each day (whether it is a "school day" or not) jotting down our activities on a page like this. For a young child just learning about the world, just about everything they do is educational and falls under some subject heading! So at the end of the week, there is quite a bit recorded under each heading and the page reflects the rich content of our schooling. Here's a sample...maybe it doesn't look that rich...but hey, we've just gotten started!

Later, at the end of the month, I can go through and consolidate this information, organizing it to reflect our homeschool accomplishments. I do this so that I can have the best of both worlds: Our school days are relaxed and very loosely structured with room to follow Toucie's interests and allow her to play, play, play. And I'm able to take all that we do and show it on paper as something that a more mainstream-minded person (or auditor!!) can relate to.

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