Friday, July 29, 2011

Seeds of Wisdom --- Nontraditional Subjects

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One of the benefits of homeschooling is that you get to choose what to teach.  Instruction does not have to be limited to the typical subjects of language arts, math, science, and social studies.  You can teach anything that you want.  Today, the Seeds of Wisdom panels answers the question: "What nontraditional subjects do you teach as a part of your homeschooling curriculum?"

We cook and work in the garden.

Right now we incorporate Bible and ASL(American Sign Language.) As the kids get older, and their interests and abilities develop and become more clear, we will tailor our homeschool experience to best meet their gifts.

World Religions. We believe that it is important to teach our children about other faiths, because simply put people fear what they do not understand. We focus on the similarities; not the differences.

We have a whole separate agenda in our home that we consider under the umbrella term of "life skills." It includes cooking, cleaning and running a household, along with things like laundry and grocery lists. We also take every opportunity we can to include the children in our family business (we are farmers) or expose them to confidence-building life experiences. These tasks and activities range from helping fix engines or hitch up trailers to volunteering to help with a funeral dinner for a family who lost a loved one in our church. Taking full responsibility for our children's education has made us focus on fully seizing every learning opportunity we can, when before we looked to the school to educate and considered it our job to be sure they had play time.

We start our daily homeschool work with Bible lessons; we do a devotion, read bible story, do an art project related to the story, and work on our memory verse.  Additionally, on the side of my weekly lesson planning page, I make a list of "extras" for the week that we do whenever we have time in the day.  For Charlotte (10 months old), I plan at least one sensory activity each week - playing with cool whip, chocolate pudding, oatmeal, pasta, etc.  Abigail's (3 years old) extras include at least one cooking project, as well as fun art projects.  Abigail also has daily chores and helps make dinner every night, but I don't consider those part of our homeschooling curriculum (just a part of parenting).

We also have a whole separate "subject" for Life Skills. This includes cooking, cleaning, etiquette training (Etiquette Factory). We also have a CD of 41 weeks of Unit Studies (Amanda Bennett US). So every week or so, we have a focus study using the Unit Studies. Right now the kids aren't old enough to incorporate too much beyond that. We do Bible studies  too.

Right now, I'm not doing a whole lot out of the ordinary with my kids. We do study art and music together, and they help with cooking and cleaning around the house. But at 4 and 2, we're limited on extra-curricular. I thought, instead, I could share what my mom did with me during my homeschool years. My mom was awesome about finding outside opportunities for us. When I took a health elective in highschool, she found a nurse in our church who let me come up to the hospital and practice taking vital signs. When I was interested in journalism, she called our local newspaper and set up a volunteer opportunity for me that later worked into a part-time job. I think allowing some time for your child to develop their own interests is a huge asset to any homeschool.

What nontraditional subjects do you teach in your homeschools?

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