You can easily and quickly fall into deep dark rabbit hole when you start to research various methods or philosophies of homeschooling. Waldorf, Classical, Charlotte Mason, Religious, Unschooling, on and on. It can be very intimidating and confusing…. Just like any other important parenting decision. We learned very early on as parents that how things will go or what Bram needs to succeed or be happy rarely plays out exactly as we had envisioned or planned. So as much as we can try to prepare for the type of homeschooling we want or can provide I’m sure things will change along the way. What he has shown us is that he is extremely inquisitive, and when he is interested in something, he is ALL IN…. and when it’s something that doesn’t interest him it’s a challenge to keep his attention for any length of time.
Bram would be eligible for public kindergarten in Fall 2021 so we have lots of time to play around and see what works for our family. If at that time we decide to continue schooling at home, our state of Maryland make it very easy to do so. We fill out a form letting the superintendent know we plan to homeschool, then either choose an “Umbrella” Organization or the school district to oversee our progress each year. There are very little rules or guidelines as long as we show proof that we are teaching the required subjects which are math, English, social studies, science, art, music, health, and physical education. And that we provide regular and thorough instruction of “sufficient duration.” We would have to maintain a portfolio of education materials including my instructional materials, and examples of their work (worksheets, workbooks, creative materials etc) which would be reviewed by the school district or our umbrella annually. If we plan to reintegrate him at some point into public school he would take a placement test which would determine which grade/classes he would go into.
For now our philosophy is leaning towards Relaxed or Unschooling where Bram’s interest in the moment leads to further discussion, activities and opportunities for learning.
For example lately he has been asking if things are “real or not real” and sometimes it’s tricky for us to navigate like Santa or ghosts, but recently he asked “Mom, astronauts are not real..... right?” which led us to watching a video of a tour of the ISS, borrowing a book from the library about spaceships, and doing a puzzle of the solar system to show him that in fact astronauts ARE real! During all of this I pointed out letters or asked him to, and we made phonetic sounds, and counted the planets or puzzle pieces sneaking in bits of learning without him even realizing.
Another example is that Bram’s great grandfather made a large decorative ruler that we mark each year with his height to see how much he’s grown, doing that the other day sparked a discussion on measurements. He then measured me on the same ruler and noticed that we are the “same second number” He’s 3’7” and I’m 5’7”! I then brought out a fabric measuring tape and he began measuring various things around the house, calling how what “number” they are. The following day we visited the Maryland Science Center where they have a dinosaur exhibit and he was able to excavate bones and measure them. When the guide asked the group of kids if they knew how to measure bones he exclaimed "I know how to!"
When it seems useful we will utilize a number of worksheets or learning apps to help us along the way as well. Including Education.com, Kumon workbooks and Blossom & Root Curriculum.
For now we will be focusing on these subject areas:
For now nature, PE, and Science/STEM are the types of activities he gravitates towards and enjoys the most. Which seems obvious to parents of any rambunctious 4 year old. I believe numeracy/math will be our biggest challenge area, and is where I will need to be the most creative and patient.