Tag Archives: simple homeschool

back to homeschooling: a year in review

Aside from working on math, writing, phonics and geography books Emma Clover enjoyed many other ways of learning. We used the world around to enhance our school year and it gave us all so much purpose and community involvement. She wrote letters, played with her dollhouse, read stacks of books, helped with cooking and gardening, played games, made artwork, went on play dates and traveled all around the Bay Area during this past school year. It gave us time to be together and all of us felt lucky to return to a slower pace of life.

Emma started off making a book about the water cycle and how she uses water. She also observed how her community needs water as well.

Our first school field trip was to the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Emma experimented with dry ice at a school hosted science activity day.

We went to see a Dia de los Muertos dance performance, attended the Hansel and Gretel opera and saw the Nutcracker ballet.

Emma read so many books this year! I am impressed with how many books written by Laura Ingalls Wilder we read together and she also read on her own. We checked out stacks and stacks of books from the library and listened to many audio stories.

This year was all about playing games! Lots and lots of them.

We took an unforgettable walk with a naturalist through the redwoods.

We visited many museums including the San Francisco MoMA and the Oakland Museum of California.

Emma is privy to a technology teacher and has been learning about computers for years. Lately they have made digital art and discussed future game designs.

From summer to present Emma has been practicing her knitting. We were fortunate to attend a supportive knitting club at the library.

We attended a musical event at the library given by the SF Chamber Orchestra. They were very kind and played world music for the children.

Of course the most important part of our homeschooling year was the people in it. Emma thoroughly enjoyed the classes that she took with Hickman this year. The classes were Shapes and Structures, Art (this one was art inspired by children’s book illustrations), Faire Science and Kids Cafe. She loves all of the different teachers she has and appreciates the mixed age group settings. The content was so fun that she never wanted them to come to an end. This winter/spring she was able to attend a modern dance class at the Shawl Anderson Dance center with Maurice and she loved it. Unfortunately the session was cut short but we will be sure to return if the opportunity arises.

what home school looks like for us

When asked to write a paragraph of what home school looks like for us this is what I wrote:

In our house we take it easy and try not to commit to too much. We are a stay at home mom, kindergarten age daughter and a papa that mostly works from home, living in Oakland. We fill our days with books, podcasts/audio stories, music, cooking, art and lots of play. Monday afternoon is tap class. Wednesday is a school day which consist of classes, meet ups and playing with mates for hours. Adding a swim class next month to the mix. We go libraries, museums, farmers markets, parks/gardens and general adventuring. We are car free and live simply. Every day is different and dynamic and rich with experience. I am sure first grade will present more of a routine for us but right now we are embracing that we do not have to do a lot of sit down work every day. It is casually mixed in through out instead.

Emma Clover at school making racoon puppets.

I have talked a bit about our Wednesdays before but they are specific to the Hickman charter school and we follow their calendar. The charter school offers classes that the children sign up for that go on for two month increments. They are two hours long and are based on a single subject. Kinders only sign up for the first class session of the day and then end up playing on the playground while the second session is going on.

Many students have siblings and stick around anyways, while others just love this aspect of school and stay to play with their friends. Clover adores her Wed. classes. Right now she is taking “Tree Homes.” They have a circle time, read books, sing songs, do crafts, have snack, and play outside. It sounds really fun for her and she enjoys this aspect of school.

When the classes ends then the charter school plans other activities for the other Wednesdays for families to still meet. One activity day in January everyone experimented with dry ice. There were worksheets for the kids to document their observations and were perfect work samples to turn it later. The days are well planned out and most children attend and love to stay and play as long as possible.

The other classes that we choose can change each semester. In the fall, Clover attended an art class and went to swim lessons. In winter we began jazz and tap and soon will pick up swim again.

For home schoolers there are endless opportunities for extra curricular activities. We would love for her to learn Aikido and she has loves ballet classes in the past. She has asked to learn Japanese and there are always art classes that I am eyeing. The truth is that we all get overwhelmed when we take on too much. We have to draw the line at three events a week because we have found that one more thing and we never have time to rest and play dates and school work fall by the wayside. It is good to have some wiggle room in our schedule.

Actual curriculum for Clover has included:

  • A pre-reading program called “All About Reading” that involves coloring/painting ABC letters, reading poems and doing word games.
  • We read one chapter book at a time and many other picture books from our library and others.
  • Phonics and math workbooks.
  • Science videos, mostly Mystery Doug but also utilize youtube for further research.
  • History book called “Story of the World” that includes work sheets and map work