Friday, July 30, 2010

Our Education Style

I am the queen of taking the parts of an idea that I know will work for me and my family and changing it to fit us exactly.

That's why you'll quickly find that my inspiration for our home education comes from a little bit of everywhere.

- Narration (Charlotte Mason)
- Work periods and presentations (Montessori)
- Individual-inspired projects (Project-based learning or Reggio Emilia)
- Main lesson books (Waldorf)
- Practical life work (Montessori)
- Copywork (Charlotte Mason)
- Unit studies (that aren't really unit studies)

All these pieces come together in a way that works well for us, and we change any part that ceases to be useful.

For quick definitions:

Daily work: This is the work we do every day, even when there is no currently active unit or project. It includes faith, memory work, phonics and math.

Math: our math "program" is comprised of 3 parts.

1. Gain a skill or continue work on the current skill. This is usually verbal I present a new skill Montessori- style and Ender has time to work with the material on his own. Not all of the math materials are the exact materials that the Montessori method calls for, but they use the same principle. We work on this skill each day until it is mastered, whether that is only 2 days or a few weeks. Sometimes this work will pogress into writing, but right now it is mostly manipulatives. I try to keep this time short(about 10 minutes) unless he'd like to work longer.

2. Math journal to review. Ender has 1 task each day in his math journal. I write the date and a prompt at the top of the page and he draws his response below. A prompt might be something like, "Draw 2 tall building and 2 short buildings. How many buildings are there all together?" This is a way to review skills he already has and also to encourage a bit of pencil work. Math journal time is probably his favorite portion of our daily work.

3. Active review. We also review 1-3 skills in active work each day. These are his choice a la Montessori and can include any work he's already learned. This work period lasts anywhere from 20 minutes to an hour depending on his choices that day.

Unit: Our units are not units in the traditional sense of encompassing as many learning areas as possible. Our science units focus on the science topic and social studies units focus on social studies. If math, art, music, health or something else plays a part in the unit we certainly use it! I just don't bend over backwards trying to find some way to get an art lesson out of a human body study for example. Our units are not all-inclusive, but they do make connections with other subjects as they naturally occur.

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