Jesus' Precious Little Lambs

A Charlotte Mason Christian Home School: Preschool – 2nd Grade :)

Less is More Homeschool

on August 8, 2015
IMG_0280

Our 2014-2015 Yearbook. Click on the pic to look inside!

.

“Instead of spending over 1,200 hours each year in school, [homeschooled] children can devote time to what more directly builds happiness as well as future success. Things like innovation, hands-on learning, and meaningful responsibility.” –Laura Grace Weldon

As I have been reading Laura Grace Weldon’s blog, author of Free Range Learning, I have been reminded again of why I love homeschool. To me, homeschool promotes a “less is more” mindset–less materialism, less structure, less entertainment and stimulation, less performance pressure, less conformity. I think all of us who grew up in school still fight the “more is more” school mindset to differing degrees. We want to pack as much as possible into a child’s day, buy them a lot of educational stuff, and make sure they have as many experiences and opportunities as we can afford to give them. And we think that its our job to keep them occupied, busy, entertained, happy, etc outside of “educational hours.” We have an innate distrust in a child’s power for natural learning during free play and self directed pursuit of interests. However, homeschool life can be very different than the norm, and very freeing. We needn’t model our homeschool hours, and after homeschool hours, to look like the alleged “more is more” school kid’s life.

If you decide to visit Laura Weldon’s blog, you may realize, like me, that your mind is still thinking a lot less free, and lot more structured by school methods, than it could be. Laura believes real learning happens in a natural and playful context. That sounds very possible in the early years, especially preschool, but how does that look as kids grow up? Well, have you ever thought of math being taught naturally like this, or how about teaching business sense like this?  Check it out, I think you will enjoy her “free thinking” ideas.

Here in bold are some of the things I have come to love the most about homeschooling with the “less is more” philosophy, and underneath are some of Laura Weldon’s related comments on each topic:

 Homeschool allows children to be self-directed

“The school mindset leads us to believe that children benefit from lessons, the newest educational toys and electronics, coached sports at an early age, and other adult-designed, adult-led endeavors. Well-intentioned parents work hard to provide their children with these pricey advantages. We do this because we believe that learning flows from instruction. By that logic, the more avenues of adult-directed learning, the more kids will benefit. But there’s very limited evidence that all this effort, time, and money results in learning of any real value. In fact, it appears too many structured activities diminish a child’s ability to set and reach goals independently.”

“We’re so committed to structured, top-down instruction that we impose it on kids beyond the school day. Young people are relentlessly shuttled from the classroom to enrichment activities to organized sports and back home to play with educational toys or apps.”

“This isn’t to say that all instruction is bad, by any means. It does mean that six long hours of school-based instruction plus afterschool adult-organized activities in sports or recreation or screen time supplants the kind of direct, open-ended, hands-on activity that’s more closely associated with learning. Most of the time this kind of learning is called play.

Homeschool allows for long play periods daily, which is critical to learning

“Unless they’ve been raised on a steady diet of ready-made entertainment, children are naturally drawn to free play and discovery-based learning. They make up games, daydream, pretend, and launch their own projects–freely seeking out adults for resources and guidance when necessary. They are naturally drawn to achieve mastery.”

“Often kids are gone at lessons, after school programs, or play dates. When they get home they sit staring at screens. Toys in their carefully decorated rooms appeared to be tossed around as if the small owners had no idea how to play, only how to root restlessly for entertainment.”

“Rather than developing the subtle awareness fostered by time spent in nature, in conversation, and in play, they instead are wired to expect overstimulation. Without it, they’re bored.”

“Ask the oldest person you know to share some memories about play from his or her childhood. Chances are you’ll hear about pick-up games, handmade toys, and free time that spun long summer days into marvels of imagination.”

Homeschool allows for real life work together

“In a way, doing household tasks together puts parent and child on more even ground. So often we parents are rushing to schlep our kids to practice or lessons or other kid-oriented events, making them the pivot around which a family’s activities revolve. Taking part in regular tasks together, even if we’re pulling weeds on opposite sides of the garden, affirms the sort of mutuality that advertisers tell us is only found in pricey vacations. Of course time afterwards for a nice game of hoops and some cold lemonade builds bonds too.”

We tend to spend a lot on activities and products for our children assuming this enriches their lives but if they don’t get the chance to take on real responsibilities, we’re depriving them of key components of adult competency.”

Homeschool allows for maximum creativity

“In today’s test-heavy schools the emphasis is on coming up with the correct answer, but we know that the effort to avoid making mistakes steers children away from naturally innovative perspectives. Divergent thinking generates ideas. It’s associated with people who are persistent, curious, and nonconforming. Research going back to the 1970’s shows that this generation of children are less imaginative and less able to produce original ideas. An extra whammy may very well be coming from increased participation in organized sports: more than a few hours a week appears to lower a child’s creativity.

This is dire news, because creativity is actually much more closely linked to adult accomplishment than IQ. In fact, 1,500 CEO’s listed creativity as the leading indicator of “leadership competency.”

.     .     .     .     .     .     .     .     .      .      .     .     .

Our butterfly life cycle study

This was definitely our best nature study experience so far!!! It felt like a real gift from God as we were able to witness so many miraculous moments throughout……

IMG_0297

Faith’s Nature Journal Page

IMG_0306

Noah’s Nature Journal page

IMG_0308

My Nature Journal Page

One day in June we brought home a Monarch egg that was laid on a milkweed leaf. The next morning a tiny caterpillar hatched and began to eat its egg.

IMG_0844

Our Monarch caterpillar grew big and fat, and ate lots of milkweed leaves and flowers. We ended up raising two monarchs when we accidentally brought another egg home.

IMG_0022

We also found a Swallowtail caterpillar when it was small and black (this is a pic of when it had grown much bigger).

IMG_0128

Our Swallowtail caterpillar made a chrysalis and hung for 3 weeks, but then the butterfly emerged deformed. 😦

IMG_0210

Noah caught the moment our Monarch started to become a chrysalis, and so I snapped some pics! It was a caterpillar for a total of 14 days.

IMG_0156

Monarch chrysalis’ are a beautiful green and gold.

IMG_0207

Our Monarch chrysalis became clear the morning it emerged. The Monarch was inside its chrysalis for a total of 10 days.

IMG_0022

Then, as I was taking pictures, it started to emerge!

IMG_0036

IMG_0040

IMG_0047

We were so excited! The kids ran outside and were able to witness the butterfly coming out of its chrysalis and then drying its wings.

IMG_0067

We released our butterflies the next day. A final special moment was when Faith got to hold her Monarch for a few minutes before it flew away. Thank you God for all your blessings on our nature studies.

IMG_0269

Beach day at Half Moon Bay

IMG_0134

All 3 kids happily engaged in the sand

IMG_0207

Playing in the waves

IMG_0241

IMG_0191

A family photo attempt

IMG_0128

A moment of asking for forgiveness

IMG_0350

A cozy morning devotions moment

IMG_0400

The harvest is eaten as soon as its picked 🙂

IMG_0301

We love our littlest helper. He loves to help spray the table or set the table, and shadow the older kids as they do their work around the house.

IMG_0224

You are so funny daddy!

IMG_0226

IMG_0025

So cute

IMG_0063

Singing at VBS

IMG_0100

Noah plays dolls with the girls so that Faith will be happy (she doesn’t want to play without him)

IMG_0123

Make something out of foil

IMG_0129

Awww, Daniel feeding Faith his avocado

IMG_0134

Faith is little mommy

IMG_0189

Loves her baby bunny

IMG_0169

BMX with daddy (riding Noah’s bike)

IMG_0201

For Uncle Buz after he preached on Matthew 8 (the wind and the waves obey Jesus)

IMG_0235

A field trip to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge

IMG_0273

A new tradition: Sunday morning kind thing, with a not very creative name. A note for our persecuted brothers and sisters in Nigeria.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: