Greetings from the islands! It’s been awhile!
I hope you’ve been well and busy with wonderful new adventures!
We’ve been keeping very busy here with a new adventure of our own…Homeschooling!
My oldest son is 5, my daughter is 3 and my youngest son is 1, so we are VERY new to the homeschooling universe, but we’ve been going strong for about 9 weeks now and it’s been a heck of a ride!
I’ve gotten a lot of questions from friends and family about the curriculums I’m using, how I’m using them and supplies I’ve purchased so I thought the easiest way to answer those questions would be an all encompassing post.
Let’s start with the curriculums. I’m currently using 2 different programs that I fell in love with during my research…
The Playful Pioneers is faith-based. If you know me, you know that I am not a one-religion-fits-all kind of gal. I don’t read the Bible or sing hymns and that’s OK! What really grabbed my attention about this curriculum was that it was organized exactly the way I was trying to organize my own material for homeschool. When I saw a preview of the Playful Pioneers I was thrilled that it was so simple (a HUGE deal for me). I choose to skip the religious blocks and start the day with our read aloud and then I incorporate nature study.
Exploring Nature With Children is a year long curriculum that you can fully commit to or simply jump in and out of when it suits you. That’s what I loved. I knew I wanted to incorporate nature study so this made perfect sense. The program is beautifully done and has been the highlight of homeschool for me personally. The kids are so happy, so joyful when we’re on a nature walk, looking for specific things, listening for sounds of mini-beasts, etc.
Here’s a quick look at a typical school day using Playful Pioneers program with my own changes/additions:
Poetry and copy-work are included with both curriculums as well as a book list and weekly supply list. The curriculums are digital downloads, so you’re responsible for printing and binding. I utilize my Big Happy Planner to house all of my homeschool content.
Neither curriculum includes math, however The Playful Pioneers offer recommendations on a few different programs. As math (numbers in general) seemed to frustrate my 5 year old more than anything else, I decided to look for something that wouldn’t “feel” like a math program. I found what I was looking for in yet another faith-based program called Math Lessons for a Living Education. This program utilizes story-telling to teach math. And as the story is set on a farm, it aligned perfectly with our Playful Pioneers read aloud of Farmer Boy and the Little House series. We’re only a quarter of the way through our Math program, but the improvements in counting, recognizing numbers, writing numbers and WANTING to learn more has been astounding. I’ve had to re-write a few lines here and there in the story that are just a bit too religious for me, but that’s simply my preference.
I don’t have a specific science program that I use because there is so much science covered in Exploring Nature with Children.
Supplies for our Homeschool:
A good book stand! I love the one I purchased on Amazon!
A good watercolor set. You can definitely get away with buying the super cheap kid sets (which is what we did at the start) but we’ve since graduated to a slightly better quality set and it really makes a difference.
A small notebook for nature journaling and a good set of color pencils!
A notebook of some sort to hold all of the copywork and artwork. I purchased a Happy Planner hole punch and extra rings to make my own notebook.
One series of books that I’ve also stumbled upon for helping my 5 year old with his nature journaling is the Draw-Write-Now series. They have copywork and easy instructions for drawing that my son has taken to quite well!
Because we’re in the process of a move AND I’ve become more of a minimalist at this stage of my life, we have very few toys. The toys we DO have serve multiple purposes. They’re used for free play, they’re used to play out scenes from our read aloud (which really helps the kids remember what happened as well as improving their oral narration) and they’re used for counting and sorting. Because our read alouds are all about farming and the woods, a bucket of farm toys and some woodland creatures made the most sense for us. We also have some peg dolls coming that we will try to paint ourselves to be the main characters of our read alouds (wish me luck!).
A nature pack for the little ones is essential! All it needs is a magnifying glass, a clear cup and spoon for capturing and exploring mini-beasts, a few baby wipes to clean up messy hands and a bag of some sort for collecting things on your nature walks!
That’s about it!
I wanted to keep this school year (especially since it’s our first official year) as simple and as fun as possible.
So far, it’s been an incredible adventure!
We’re extremely blessed to be able to do this.
If I haven’t covered something here that you’re interested in, please do let me know! I’m happy to talk about everything we’ve been up to!