Our First Autumn Homeschooling: Rhythms & Realities

Winter doesn't officially arrive here in Oregon until next month, but strangely, we've already had our first light snowfall and an ice storm, so it feels as though autumn is already past. In addition, my daughter has started learning a Christmas song on violin, so I've been reflecting on how our first autumn of homeschooling went now that we're transitioning into winter.

The Oregon outdoors after our snow dusting and freezing rain (from my  Instagram  account)

The Oregon outdoors after our snow dusting and freezing rain (from my Instagram account)

Honestly, I thought we'd have more structure, but largely due to my daughter's young age and my desire to keep learning relevant, appropriately paced, and enjoyable, our days have been more laid back than I expected.

Curriculum Choices:

Magnard's  GS level workbook  in French

Magnard's GS level workbook in French

In September, my daughter enjoyed completing a French Maternelle GS workbook (published by Magnard), which covers math, reading, writing, and other subjects. It's a colorful, thoughtfully done workbook and she flew through it within a few weeks (though I think it's intended to last a school year). She also completed the Handwriting Without Tears workbook (in French) within a few weeks, so I was left scrambling to figure out additional resources sooner than I expected.

Exodus Books here in Oregon provided me with more educational fuel: After browsing their curriculum options, I purchased a Singapore Primary Math workbook. Workbook level 1A is highly conceptual for early learners, but it provides a good challenge for my workbook-driven daughter. For her age, however, I generally prefer math learning though tangible manipulatives like coins, beans, or other more playful objects.

For history, culture, and geography, I purchased Susan Wise Bauer's The Story of the World Volume 1 & the accompanying activity bookBecause we homeschool in French, I plan to read The Story of the World on my own bit by bit, then retell the stories to my children in French. I haven't started this plan yet, but I look forward to relearning about world civilizations through stories and hands-on activities.

Other Homeschool Rhythms: 

Every night I write a few words (both French and English) or a sentence for my daughter to copy the next morning. She likes decoding the message and words while I prepare breakfast, and I like the handwriting and phonics practice she gets from it. We also read many books each morning (at my son's insistence) and practice violin. My daughter generally spends the rest of her day drawing, playing, exploring outdoors, and looking at books. Once per week we attend a homeschool co-op where she takes art, theater, and nature classes while I teach beginning French.

The Joys:

Early morning reading in pjs on Thanksgiving vacation

Early morning reading in pjs on Thanksgiving vacation

I love that homeschooling allows my daughter and son to play together for decent periods of time, in spite of the discord that a toddler brother can occasionally cause. Homeschooling gives us the gift of time together as a family and allows my children to see how the rhythms of home life and learning intertwine. I look forward to the years ahead when we can delve into academics with more depth, but right now I'm grateful and awed by the simple advances in reading, comprehension, and maturity that occur even in a low structure, low pressure setting.

How is your child's school year going? What do you love about what he or she is currently learning?

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