I’ve had a lot of questions about homeschooling this year and I thought I should finally get my butt in gear to talk about it! It’s obviously not the focus of this blog (Does this blog even have a set focus? Haha) but it’s definitely part of our life. If you’d like, you can check out the small homeschool section I have on the blog (it’s always under the lifestyle category). Or I recommend this post for a run down on what our idea of homeschool is now. You’ll also see the workbooks we use in that post.
We do still homeschool and we did homeschool her during our time away. We traveled up and down and across the world with a notebook, workbooks, some pencils, a sense of adventure, and an interest in learning. And while workbooks and pencils are a totally necessary part in homeschooling, they weren’t necessarily the main focus for us.
It’s been so amazing watching her learn in the world. Every stop in the world has included learning lessons– whether it’s been spelunking in caves, climbing mayan ruins, exploring Nepali temples, roaming through the Louvre, or in the photo above: learning history through old forts. And of course, there was so SO much more. Seven has been such a great age to do this all. She has a real interest in all of it– and I’m grateful and excited to feed that interest.
Every opportunity we get, we teach. Not a day goes by where she doesn’t learn SOMETHING about the world, how it has worked, how it now works, or ideals on how it should work. If you truly take in the world around you, it’s not difficult to see all the amazing learning opportunities around you. It’s everywhere. Even just sitting at your dining room table with dinner in front of you– there is an opportunity to teach.
But of course, while we’d love to never have to sit down and open a workbook or notepad, we do. While it’s not our favorite part of homeschooling, it is essential for her to know learn math and how to write. While she’s obviously a wizard with reading, we are working on spelling now– and Alex is working on her grammar. Because let’s be honest, I have no concern for grammatical structures whatsoever. I know they exist, but I still prefer to write how I speak 😉 We take turns on the workbook lessons, though it’s mostly Alex. Especially during our time away, this was Alex’s job. I would get work done for this space and they would homeschool.
We did use workbooks and will continue to, but a good ol’ notepad and pencil does wonders too. They would set up math problems, write stories, and more. The trick is always keeping it as fun as you can. Having her write a story can be tiring, but turn it into a project where she picks the topic and illustrates the pages? It helps.
These homemade lessons might get a bit trickier as she grows, but for now it works and we’re all happy about that. We also carried an iPad with us with a few learning apps that she would use from time to time. She much preferred apps to writing, but we of course push her towards writing first, apps are secondary to a sit down school day. If you want to see our favorite (non workbook) books we carried and learned with in Mexico, check it out HERE.
We haven’t had a set schedule since we left Mexico. It was important to us to spend time in Colombia with my family, without responsibilities and obligations. And since coming home, we haven’t sat down and got back on it either— “summer break.” Last week Miss Marlowe was in camp (second session this summer). And this past week, we’ve been easing back into the school process. Kids officially start school in florida this week. (So early!) By Florida law, Marlowe is technically going into second grade this week!
Homeschool laws vary state to state. I really found THIS book useful when we were starting. In Florida, there are a few ways that Marlowe can advance to the next grade. One way, which is what we did, is to have a Florida certified teacher test/interview/look at/whatever her to see if she qualifies. They then fill out the forms and sign off. It’s pretty easy– for us– and a teacher to see that Marlowe meets (and passes) the requirements 🙂
During this summer time, we mostly just let her use her imagination, read (she reads a minimum of 2-3 chapter books a week), and learn in living. Again, any opportunity we get, we teach. Sometimes that means lessons at home– sometimes that means fun little field trips. In the photos here, we visited a coral farm to learn about different corals, beneficial fish, and more.
I want her to take it all in. To learn as many topics and ideas as she can. What will she be when she grows up? What interests will she have? I don’t know– but I want to nurture every possibility out there.
We go back and forth on homeschool– it’s a frequent discussion around here. Obviously Alex and I always want wants best for Marlowe. If and when we find that this isn’t working, we’ll change it. But for now, this works. Especially with Alex now back at work. Because the reality is that with Alex’s work schedule and a standard school schedule, they would never see each other. It’s a priority for us for them to have a relationship and for all of us to spend time together. Homeschool helps with this.
When we’re back in full on workbooks + sit down mode, I’m sure our schedule will vary. In Mexico we would either workbook in the morning/early afternoon and adventure later. Or we’d head out in the morning, have homeschool time midday (when it was too hot to be outside), and then head out again once the sun cooled off a bit.
I’m sure the schedule will be mostly morning time schooling and afternoon adventures while here in Florida. But who knows. We want to keep it flexible and find the best rhythm that works for all of us. Flexibility really is key for us. That is one of the other main reasons we home school.
ps. Did you know that there are sharks that can walk? Epaulette sharks are pretty freaking cool!
Socially, Marlowe has some amazing friends here. She misses school time because she “could see friends everyday”, but otherwise she is happy to be homeschooled. We’re also lucky that my SIL homeschools and is part of a ton of groups. About once a week we get a call on a field trip activity and an invite for Marlowe to join– and unless we have other big plans (we typically don’t) Marlowe joins.. They have museum days, activity days, park days, and more. She likes to come home and tell me what science experiments they did or how wild the kids were, haha. She’s such a good, calm kiddo.
Above: How fun is it to witness life being created? A tiny baby shark within an egg.
Marlowe has a really well-rounded life and I’m so happy for it. She’s smart, kind, well-mannered, curious, and more. I’m grateful for all of it. How amazing is it to have the opportunity to watch my kid grow– and learn? All in all, we’ve really enjoyed this process. Never say never, but we don’t have any plans to follow a clunky curriculum– we want her to have a good solid basis and to be nurtured in all areas of interest and learning 🙂
What about you guys? Do any of you guys homeschool? Do you have favorite workbooks and activity books? Do you want a post with a list of all the workbooks or apps we have? Is there anything else you want to know? I’m an open book!
ps! If you subscribed to the newsletter you should be getting new blog post updates soon! One of you sweet people sent me an email with a tutorial on how to make it happen! Going to put that together tonight. If you’re not subscribed to the newsletter— it’s on the right side and bottom of the blog. Consider subscribing! I’m going to be hosting a few giveaways via newsletter this month 🙂 Cheers friends!