As I shared before I have spent a lot of time lately praying for guidance for the direction our learning is to take for 2009.
Prince Charming and I were reading and discussing homeschool philosophy and approaches before even our first was conceived. John Holt and Raymond Moore had a huge influence in those years. When Koala was a toddler we added Maria Montessori to our library and read a little of Waldorf. As the children grew older we delved more into what Valerie Bendt, Gayle Graham and Charlotte Mason had to say. All had an influence.
A major legacy from our ‘formative years’ is I have often strived for lessons to be fun, believing that they had to be exciting to be engaging; that if only we could find the key the children would want to learn for the sheer joy of learning.
It has grown upon me that the real learning that occurs when children make ‘connections’ doesn’t necessarily have to be interestingly presented, nor is it always initiated by the children. They can find excitement over the common everyday ‘grind’. They feel a sense of satisfaction in the hard slog, in the achievement of lessons learnt well. I have realised that it doesn’t have to be the ‘we made an aqueduct’ learning, which is great, although doesn’t happen here too often, but intense learning can be productive and meaningful.
What was born upon us last year was that the direction has changed for us as we have journeyed further along the road of homeschooling. The number of years we have been homeschooling, the age spread and the sheer number of children have made an impact. Homeschooling a large family makes you ask what is the most important, it requires you to pare down.
Simple is our path for 2009. We are continuing with our plan from last term with great success, one subject a day and this year I have added Daily Drill, (Yes I still like the alliteration;) with one subject for the day. Daily Drill consists of catechism, times tables and spelling. Each daily subject has a core book with supporting fiction books. Our 2009 focus is writing, so to this end every day the children write on their subject area. Simple and clear.