What are your kids’ ages and pseudonyms?
Gunnar(ds) is 9, Rain(dd) is 7, Hunter(ds) is 3, and Clementine(dd) is 9 months old.
How long have you been home schooling? Is there a story behind it?
It has been in my heart for so long. I was in High School when I decided I would home school my children. We have been home schooling since our oldest was born.
Does your home school have a name or a mission statement?
Storm Haven Academy. We want our home to be a haven from life’s storms for our entire family.
What is your general home schooling philosophy?
We use a Thomas Jefferson Education (TJEd). It is hard for me to put it all into words but I will give it a try. TJEd is about inspiring a child to do the work to get a superb education for themselves. I need to be a mentor to my children not a teacher. TJEd is not a methodology but a set of principles and different children need them applied in different ways. These principles are:
Classics not textbooks
Mentors not professors
Quality not conformity
Structure time not content
Inspire not require
Simplicity not complexity
You not them
There are different phases that one goes through. You have the Core Phase which is roughly ages 0-8. The most important things I can teach my children at this age are good/bad, true/false, and right/wrong. Core phasers work and play. A key word for core phasers is “Let’s”. Let’s make the bed, let’s do the dishes, let’s play Go Fish, let’s play ball. Together.
Love of Learning phase (LoL) comes next, roughly ages 8-12. I was at a workshop that explained it this way. LoL is like a hummingbird phase. Children flit from one thing to another. They want to try it all. They are falling in love with learning and want to taste, touch and try everything. Take your cues from them and let them go at their own pace. You ask them, “What do you want to learn today and how can I help you?”
These are the phases of the children I have. There is also a Scholar phase roughly 12-18 and these children choose to take responsibility for their own education and do the work to attain it. You work with them.
I absolutely LOVE these principles and they way applying them has worked in our family.
Do you use a curriculum?
No, but I use pieces of lots of different things.
do you or your children have any special interests or hobbies that influence your home schooling?
Everything we do is following an interest they have. Gunnar loves to move! He needs to play hard and often. Rain loves to sing. Hunter is a typical 3yo and is curious about everything. Clementine loves nursing and being the center of attention.
What is your typical daily routine? weekly routine?
We start with Devotional and then have breakfast and clean up a bit. Then we have Gathering Time. This is when we all get together and I read to the children from whatever book we are reading at the moment and I and share with them something that is “mine”, something that I am excited about. Some weeks we use Five in a Row. This last week we rowed Make Way for Ducklings. We had a lot of fun.
An important part of TJEd for the young ones is that you structure the time, not the content. The children can pretty much do whatever they want. We have a few rules: NO T.V./movies and NO video games. Anything else is fair game.
I am available to them and we do most things together. We play a lot of board/card games. I read to them more if they want. We work together too. The children help me fold laundry, load the dishwasher etc…
Gunnar is in LoL phase and he often wants to learn about something neat and so we look at books or find info on the internet or write books or do science experiments or paint or draw or many other things. Rain joins us a lot but still spends a good amount of her time playing swords, or dolls or knitting(who can blame her?) or whatever with Hunter.
Gunnar and Rain both have math workbooks because they wanted them and sometimes they will pull them off of the shelf and work on them. Gunnar is obsessed with Egypt and so I am reading to the children out of our Story of the World book vol.1: Ancient times. They love coloring the maps. Yesterday we read about ancient writing and then the kids practiced writing using hieroglyphs.
Most days they want to read to me and each other. Hunter asks to be read to 500 hundred times a day and Gunnar and Rain love to read to him.
Then we have lunch. After lunch they continue doing what they did that morning but they can also watch a movie or play a video game or play outside. Outside usually wins!
During the afternoon I study. This is the you not them principle. I need to gain an education for myself so I can help my children gain their own education. I am interrupted a billion times but it is good for the little ones to see me working hard at learning. (Some days I need to remind myself of this as I get frustrated.) Many times they ask me to read to them the book I am reading. Another huge part of TJEd is to inspire, not require. I do my best to inspire my children to want to learn.
Evenings we have dinner and watch T.V. or movies together.
Do you have any special methods/tips for planning? household organization? storage? record keeping?