Looking Ahead: Home Learning 2014-2015

by Josée

As you might have surmised, if you don’t already know, we are home learners. Currently we are enrolled home learners which means we receive some money from the provincial government and in exchange we report to a learning consultant (a registered teacher) who supports us in our home learning journey. This year my eldest is a registered home learner in the first grade. My daughter isn’t school age yet but as you can see in the pictures above she is very eager to “do learning” like her big brother.

Last year we were registered with Ascend Online, a Catholic distributed learning (DL) school, and it was a wonderful experience. This year, however, our situation has changed so we are registered with a different distributed learning school. The Learning Circle that we are part of has evolved and started a Learning Centre where our children will meet with two teachers twice a week. The Learning Centre isn’t like a typical school, in fact much of their learning with the teachers will happen outdoors and it will continue to be child-lead and family focused. We have a space that can be used for projects when needed or as a blustery day back-up plan. Ultimately we are still home learners and as parents we are still responsible for much of their learning.

When it comes to home learning we will continue doing much of the same things that we did last year. I don’t prescribe to any particular philosophy but borrow from many. I value child-led learning, project-based learning and unschooling as well as providing my children with a strong foundation in reading, writing and mathematics. We love books, art and music. I don’t hoard curriculum but I don’t shy away from a good curriculum that fits well with my child’s learning style and needs. Since we are Catholic we celebrate feasts related to our faith and because we love the earth we celebrate it’s seasons and solstices.

I often get questioned about the resources that we use so I will share a few of them below but please keep in mind that while I like these resource (and so does my eldest at this time) each child is unique and you as a parent know your child best.
Primary Arts of Language through the Institute for Excellence in Writing. This is a very comprehensive reading and writing program for K-2. I started this program with my eldest last year working on one lesson a week, broken up into five to ten minute segments over the week. My son isn’t naturally drawn to reading or writing but despite this I am amazed by how well his reading and writing have developed since last year. This program incorporates a variety of ways to learn about reading and writing such as games and various activities. As the parent it takes some prep work to get organized each week but it was been well worth it. I am really happy with this program so we are continuing to use it this year. Here is the link for the Canadian distributor
Math-U-See We picked up the Alpha math book last year but didn’t start using it until the beginning of this year. My son, like his father, is very mathematically inclined. There are things that I like about this math curriculum. There are blocks to use and a DVD that comes with it. My son and I watch the lessons together then go try out what was just learned. I like that it introduces words problems and basic algebra right away. However, I have been finding that it moves a little slow for my son and that he gets bored of it quickly. We rarely do more than a page of practice for each lesson and we move through the lessons quickly. I think that this math program would be well suited for a child who isn’t as strong in math. Because there are quite a few thing I (and my son) like about it we are going to continue to use it for now. Canadian distributor.
Life of Fred books are quirky stories that explore math in a non-traditional way. At first my son wasn’t really into reading them but then something clicked and now he can’t get enough of them. These books are not a math curriculum in the strict sense. Some families use them as a supplement others use them as their only math resource. Either way I highly recommend them for math lovers and for the less enthusiastic mathematicians out there.

French. This year I am working hard to teach my children french. I tell you this is not an easy task! I do have curriculum for this that my mother-in-law, a retired french elementary teacher, has compiled for me. Unfortunately I don’t have much to share at this point except for Tire Lire which is a French lending library through the BC Francophone Parents Association. Hopefully I will gather more resources in the months and years to come and please do share if you have resources that you use for french. 

These are the only curriculum type resources that we have been using thus far. For art, science and social studies we do them as they come. We read a wide variety of books that we get from the library, explore the outdoors and dabble in various art and crafts. I definitely have some favourites resources that I use for inspiration and I plan to share them with you very soon. 

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Eryn Wiedner September 30, 2014 - 4:17 am

Have you tried Duolingo, Josee? https://www.duolingo.com/ It's free! Not sure how it would be for kids but might be worth a try.

Josée September 30, 2014 - 5:22 am

Thanks Eryn! I'll check it out.

Karen October 1, 2014 - 8:43 pm

Hi Josee! It sounds like you are enrolled rather than registered, if you have a support teacher?
Sorry, deleted my comment because I had included it under "reply" rather than as a stand-alone comment…

We use PAL too, at least with Micah since he loves games. We did something different with Chloe last year and this year is more of the same eclectic mix. We've been experimenting with resources from the authors of the Well-Trained Mind. We a're using Singapore Math (because I have a fondness for Southeast Asian things) and it's going well so far. Both our older 2 kids love math, thankfully. We're borrowing Life of Fred from a friend so will take that out at some point and try it too! I'm always interested hearing what others use so thanks for sharing!

Josée October 2, 2014 - 1:40 am

Thanks for pointing that out Karen! Yes, you're right we are enrolled not registered.

How do you like Singapore Math? I have been considering it with Felix but I'd love to get my hands on a copy (to look at) before committing to buying it.

Alice McCrea October 3, 2014 - 3:39 am

It is wonderful all that you are doing with home schooling. Where do you get the time? I just admire you and also all the other moms who are involved with home schooling. Continue the good work it will pay off in the end. My prayers are supporting you. Alice

Karen October 6, 2014 - 10:51 pm

Hi Josee, we like Singapore math, but we are a math-loving family so I don't know how it works for everyone (although it sounds like Felix likes math too!). For kindergarten last year we bought Singapore Math's Essential Math Kindergarten books, because it was cheaper than the Earlybird series. Very basic, black and white worksheet exercises (with lots of pictures) but had great tips for the teacher on each page about what activities/games/additional exercises could be done to teach the topic. We have the grade 1 books (standards edition) but haven't started it yet because we were still finishing up the kindergarten book this month. Singapore Math goes above and beyond the BC learning outcomes so we didn't worry too much about finishing the kindergarten book last year. If you are ever in Vancouver feel free to take a look at our books! Otherwise, maybe check out this: http://www.singaporemath.com/SearchResults.asp?Cat=260


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