There are several ways to homeschool. Let's chat about two.
One begins with what NEEDS to be covered.
The other starts with the child's INTERESTS and then looks at what that covers.
One looks like your child is directing their learning.
The other reminds me of when I used to play schools. And I'm not against schools at all. Please know that. I'm just saying that one feels more like me *trying* to make learning happen. Does that make sense?
Say you have decided to create your own program of learning for your child. I am convinced that you can meet almost ALL the outcomes (if you felt compelled to) by starting with your child's interest.
Please know this upfront: we are eclectic homeschoolers which means we do a lot of child-led learning but we also do things that I suggest from time to time too. It's kind of a middle ground between really structured learning and unschooling. It's not for everyone but it is for us. I mention it so that you can understand that whilst I share the example below, Minecraft is not the only thing my kids do. Trust me there is LOTS they do beside that but with that said we'll launch in. MINECRAFT: AN EXAMPLE
Ok. I'm choosing to use Minecraft as an example (because at the moment I have 2 kiddos in that). Please note that is not extensive this is just an example of some of the things that could be covered by one single activity of Minecraft.
They are playing Minecraft. What are they learning? Are they *just* playing and having fun? And *how* can I use this interest to help them deeply-dive into learning?
ENGAGEMENT VS BOX TICKING
When my kids are interested in a subject, I don't have to coax them into things. They naturally gravitate towards immersing themselves into that particular thing. I'm the same (even as an adult!) I don't actually want to waste time doing things that just DO NOT INTEREST ME! I love soaking myself in the things that I WANT to. I'm all about that! Sure, we have a responsibility to the regulatory bodies to make sure our kiddos tick boxes for their learning but (and here's the kicker!!!) HOW YOU DO THAT IS UP TO YOU!
Yep! You can get there a MILLION different ways so why not get there via your child's interest? It's like taking a free ride. Let's call it a free ride on the train to-easier-learning.
If you prefer to print out the stage statements and outcomes and assign random activities to them you can totally do that. I know though that RANDOM activities didn't hold my kiddos interests. So what happens when you START WITH THEIR INTEREST INSTEAD?
My kiddos love planning their Minecraft activities that they want to do ahead of time. Now if I was to ask my 10 year old son to do some random copy work (unrelated to any of his interests) would he do it? Yes but not with any kind of peace or joy that's for sure. There'd be tears, writing refusal and general frustration. How do I know? Because trust me, we have tried (remember I have 5 kiddos and have been doing this a little while now).
Instead this is how a conversation might play out about writing for my son:
Me: Hey mate, what you are thinking of building next time you are in Minecraft? Him: Oh I was thinking about (insert something to do with a nether portal and obsidian.....)
Me: *Genuinely listening even though I'm not great at remembering things to do with Minecraft* Why don't you grab one of the Minecraft templates and write about that? Him: Oh yeah! *Goes and does it* I am not even joking. This is how easy it has been to get him to write about something based in his interests (shameless plug: you can download the Minecraft template packs for writing in our Paid Membership). If you don't want to pay the $7 a month, just get them to write their ideas down on lined paper or tell their ideas to you. Now before you say: "Well great for you Lusi but my kid isn't into Minecraft..." just remember that Minecraft can be substituted for WHATEVER IT IS that your kid ABSOLUTELY LOVES! Is it AFL? Star Wars? Baking? Flight Path Schedules of planes? (Yep! I have met a kid who has flight paths memorised)...WHATEVER IT IS for your kid....START THERE! Do they have more than one interest that they LOVE?! EVEN BETTER! You have CHOICE over where you guys start!
SO YOUR KID LOVES MINECRAFT. HOW CAN YOU COVER ENGLISH?
What my kid does: * Reading signs and instructions in Minecraft game play*: What is he learning? Here's an example of how a stage statement for English could be covered: Zeeki uses an integrated range of skills, strategies and knowledge to read, view and comprehend a wide range of texts in different media and technologies.
What my kid does: * Creates signs in Minecraft game play*
What is she learning? Here's another example of how a stage statement for English could be covered:
Zippi draws on appropriate strategies to accurately spell familiar and unfamiliar words when composing texts.
What my kid does: * Plays on a safe server* What is he learning? Here's an example of how a stage statement for PDHPE could be covered:
Zeeki selects and uses interpersonal skills to interact respectfully with others to promote inclusion and build connections.
What my kid does: *Learns about rocks, materials and environments of different kinds*
What is she learning? Here's an example of how a stage statement for Science/Technology could be covered: Zippi examines how the environment affects the growth, survival and adaptation of living things. She explains how food and fibre are produced sustainably in managed environments for health and nutrition. She explains how the properties of materials determines their use for a range of purposes.
What my kid does: * Tells me all about how fun their Minecraft world building is going, reflecting on the things that they have just built*
What are they learning? Here's an example of how a stage statement for Stage 4 English could be covered:
My child uses, reflects on and assesses their individual and collaborative skills for learning. Also makes effective language choices to creatively shape meaning with accuracy, clarity and coherence. I'm sure you are getting the picture by now and I have only briefly touched on a few subjects or key learning areas as we call them in NSW ;) We haven't included Book Week dress ups, video recording, historical re-builds of ancient architecture, oral presentation reports to the fam bam and friends, researching skills at the local library, use of indexing and alphabetical ordering, reading for pleasure PLUS all the extra content that can be covered by something like Minecraft Education Edition.
(A 3D recreation in Lego of a Minecraft build) Does it mean you don't parent them or that they call the shots on life? No that's not what I'm saying at all. What I'm saying is that there is a way to have happy learners who can be engaged and excited, learning about things that interest them because we have the time and space at home to be able to logistically enable this. I hope what I've shared makes sense. Again, you do you but I'm just sharing what has worked well for us. I hope it might help someone taking the time to read this too. Happy learning, Lusi x