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homeschool spotlight- kitty waltz

789 Views 10 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  LeftField
I wrote almost all of this out yesterday...

What are your kids' ages and pseudonyms?

I have 2 kids: Celia is 4 and Rowan is 2.

How long have you been home schooling? Is there a story behind it?

Well I believe that homeschooling, for us, starts from birth. For me, its an outlook on life. I had a very rough time in school, and ended up being thrown out of highschool.. its a long story. But this whole panel decided to send me to the school for 'emotionally disturbed'
kids. But the redeeming quality the school had was that there was choice. You had to choose to go there, and agree to follow the rules. If you didnt want to be in class there was a room, or a counselor, lol to go to. I finished school which no one thought I would do. After HS I did a little college, and dropped out. After a few years, I began unschooling myself. I also taught myself to play guitar at 14, never had a lesson, and now I play 12 string, banjo, and autoharp as well.

Does your home school have a name or a mission statement?


What is your general home schooling philosophy?

Well Im big on child led learning. I like my kids to learn by doing, I actively try not to instruct them. I give options, suggestions, guidance, and assistance. I try to facilitate instead of teach. For example, my dd Celia is interested in letters. Sometimes we identify letters together, sometimes we make nonsense words and sound them out.. and she asks me to write things for her all the time. My 2 yr old is also into identifying letters, and he has his own rendition of the alphabet song which is so precious! Hes also very into numbers and ponts them out all the time when we arent home. We do lots of art and crafts, music making, watching fun educational movies, and play activities, like our tent, and jumper, and little people sets, etc. I use a wall schedule that we all decide upon together at breakfast.

Do you use a curriculum?

Nope, but if at some point in time my kids wanted to buy materials from a curriculum company, I can see us doing that, and then using them however we want!

Do you or your children have any special interests or hobbies that influence your home schooling?

Well we're all very into animals and nature. We have a LOT of pets- I have 1 dog, 2 cats, 2 hamsters, 2 birds, and a guinea pig. My bf has reptiles- lizards, snakes, and geckos. We watch lots of animal documentaries, read books, etc.

We're also really into signing- ASL. I started with my dd Celia when she was only 4 months old- I read about how kids can communicate their needs at a younger age and since I have deaf relatives, I thought it was a great idea. Well I got a lot of crap for this, because she was a late talker, and then she was dx'd autistic. To this day, signs are very helpful when she's overwhelmed or tantruming. She can sign to me when words fail her. I signed w/ her brother Rowan from birth. He loves to sign, too. We have signing movies, books, posters, etc. I use sign with them whenever I explain anything. Its like our secret language, at our parkday I can sign to Celia way across the playground and she understands. I love it!

And I play strings- guitar, 12 string, banjo, autoharp.. and their dad plays the djembe hand-drum.. the kids love to play precussion mostly- drums maracas, tambourines, but also wind insturments like recorders, harmonicas, and whistles. We just got an ocarina from a friend, and they are excited about that one, but its breakable, so we have to carefully take turns.. lol not as fun.

What is your typical daily routine? weekly routine?

Well we get up, watch a short pbs show while I check my email and blog, then the kids and I have breakfast. While we eat we talk about what we are doing that day- we consult our weekly schedule {which we have updated with the addition of another yellow arrow since this pic was taken} and then we set up our 'today's schedule' on the wall. {here is the blog entry that went with that day! } We usually do something silly and active in the morning, whether its jumping in newspaper or playing catch. We usually do something like counting bears or colouring pages before lunch, and I read books out loud afterwards. We usually do fun stuff at the table then- painting, puzzles, playdough, letters flashcards {the kids like to show each other!} finger puppets,beads are a favourite, or gluing foam shapes, whatever they want. Our schedule is flexible- its all by choice. We can skip stuff or add stuff in whenever we want. Sometimes Celias into the craft and Rowans not, etc. Its a guideline for our day, really. After we are done with the after lunch activities, Celia goes in her room 'to rest' until I can get Rowan down for nap. We have a choice board in her room, with pics of toys she doesnt want to share to pick from. I go in there and help her set up and get her a snack. After Rowan goes to nap I bring her out and she can hang out w/ me or watch a movie of her choice, whatever. We've recently started on cooperative board games/ card games during this time, and she loves it! Then after Rowan wakes up, I nurse him and he goes to play in the family room while Celia helps me fix the dinner. I use a gate at this time because we've had too many close calls, with kids running about while cooking/ chopping. When I get just Celia with me it goes smoothly and is very peaceful. She usually sits down to draw a picture or something before dinner, and then we all eat. After dinner is the same every day- We have vitamins, then Celia does tracing letters worksheets she loves, and Rowan does tracing shapes page, at his insistence, although he doesnt really trace them of course.
Then we brush teeth and Celia plays in her room before she goes to sleep. Rowan hangs out w/ me and chooses a later bedtime.

Mon library every other week, sometimes thrift shopping day.
Tues, groceries.
Wed, stay home.
Thurs, homeschool park day.
Fri, stay home andcleaning day
Sat, every couple of weeks we go to the arboretum
Sun, their father comes to visit.

Do you have any special methods/tips for planning? household organization? storage? record keeping?

Well obviously the use of visual aides.. but I also write a little homeschool journal with the kids, where I ask them what they liked that we did that day, etc and what they want to do, or learn about. I also write in there when they are doing something new or making a new project, etc. I use plastic snapping containers to keep the different arts/ crafts stuff in, and I have a locking cabinet I got from homedepot to keep some stuff in- the schedule icons, the puzzles, etc. We put things away right when we're done, Celia gets overwhelmed by too much going on. She has improved on this and now we have a busy playroom, but at the table I still have tokeep it clutter free.

Tell us what you did today!

Well today isnt the best example I think, but we got up, they watched kids shows, then we made fruit salad together. We got ready and drove really far to a trader joes! and we came home, had a late lunch, and I read books. Celia wanted to rest early and she asked for a snack.. and Rowan's watching signing time in the other room, soon he should go to nap. :) *update* After he went to sleep Celia and I played the animal train cooperative card game, and then she settled down to watch 'between the lions' on video. I sat and wrote all of this
and then Celia and I chopped veggies together at the table for their dinner. Rowan got up, they ate and did tracing letters/ shapes and brushed teeth, etc. An uneventful day. Today we will clean up and just play at home. Tomorow is our homeschool park day!
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Wow your house sounds fun! All those instruments
I have a doumbek and my dd has a djembe that we play around with
All those animals sound cool! Of course I'm allergic to half of them,
We had snakes growing up (boas) and I'm partial to them (oh, and no allergies
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I like the idea of having a weekly schedule with pictures. We have a monthly calendar on the wall for all of the older folk but it wouldn't be hard to add some pictures for the little ones. We don't do many outings right now. When we move we plan on adding homeschool park day, storytime and farmers market outings.
i also like the schedule with pictures...hmm...i may just try that one

you have already inspired me with the whole music thing.
thank you for sharing your approach to unschooling.

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thanks so much for all the views and responses! Im surprised there are no questions.. well this was fun!
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I have a question -- how did you teach yourself to play stringed instruments? Did you just go to the music store and buy yourself something that looked good? Did you use books? Or just listen to recordings...?
Well I started w/ guitar.. got a basic guitar book- mel bay is great.. then I learned toplay nirvana
this was back in the early 90's, lol. If you are asking for ideas on how to learn, I would say all methods are great, find what works best for you. I always liked to watch other peole play too, I would learn new chords that way. But books are definitely invaluable. HTH
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Good stuff. Im starting our homeschooling adventure in less than a week now!! I still dont know what Im doing but I feel good about that!
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I'm really interested in Homeschooling and more specifically unschooling... but I'm on my way to being a single mom (long abusive story) ... My greatest problem is how I'll generate an income to stay home and school him, I'm working full time right now (my son's dad doesn't work) and have big dreams of building a yurt so we don't have to pay rent, then asking friends or family to let us put it down somewhere.

I can imagine the first years of schooling not needing as much time as in the later pre-teen & teen years, but maybe by them the child is more independent & can study alone (I have no idea how to over come this?)? Have you had to over come challenges like i'm describing? I'm so burdened by my financial situation.

Right now i work in an office, but along with plans to build a yurt I am trying to make enough to get my artesan craft to a level it could support us, then maybe we could work some big craft shows and survive that way, and still be learning at the same time?

Any suggestions?
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Wow! Can I come to your school?
It sounds FUN!! I'm really impressed!
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I want to come over to your house for the music! We are very unmusical here. I'm a bit envious of all the instruments you guys play. It sounds like you have a very fun home.
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