I am very excited to partner with Oak Meadow today to bring you this post. I have been a proud Oak Meadow Ambassador for 5 years now!
One of my most favourite things about homeschooling is the flexibility it gives my family. In fairness, I have about 20 most favourite things about homeschooling though.
But the flexibility is amazing.
When we first started homeschooling we used the Oak Meadow curriculum and followed it to a T. But over the years I have become more comfortable with the idea of being flexible in our learning.
It all started with Friday Funday. For the last few years Friday has been our day of learning out in the community. We go on awesome field trips, visit amazing places, and just generally enjoy life.
Once I started this, it was sort of like opening a can of worms. But a wonderful can of worms. A can of delicious gummy worms.
It helped me to look at things very differently. Pretty soon, when it was a gorgeous day outside, we would simply head outside and enjoy it. I knew our school work would be there for us the following day.
I gave us permission to join a wonderful weekly co-op. And then we joined a second. Could we really do ‘school’ just 3 days a week? Yes. Turns out we absolutely could – in fact, we don’t even do ‘school’ in the traditional sense anymore and I believe that is truly the point of homeschooling. Homeschooling becomes life and life becomes homeschooling in the most beautiful of ways.
Our days have become very different then they were when we first started homeschooling. We have changed things to work for what we need as a family.
So, how do we make this work?
Well, we do our core skills (reading, writing, and math) 4 days a week. On Friday we have our Funday where we go on a field trip and learn something new or see something amazing with one of our co-ops. The other 4 days we do our core skills which takes us about an hour, give or take.
After this, it depends on the day. Our second co-op day we simply do that one hour of school work. On the other 3 days we plan accordingly. Some days we have lessons or classes. Other days we are home for the whole day and dive into the other aspects of our Oak Meadow currciulum.
Since I know that we get our core skills done throughout a typical school year, I feel really good about being flexible with our ‘other learning’. These other skills happen at various times throughout our year. Evenings, weekends, summertime, holidays, during the week, anytime!
For example, right now, since all of our activities are cancelled and we are all home, it is the perfect time for us to dive in! My youngest son has been enjoying learning the recorder and knitting – two areas of our curriculum we had not began for him yet. My oldest son has been enjoying cooking – an area of his curriculum we had not yet gotten to.
In the summer, we love to dive into science and art. In fact, my children don’t even see these as school subjects! They are fun hobbies we do when schoolwork is ‘done’ for the year.
It is amazing how homeschooling can truly become a lifestyle. I love how Oak Meadow so naturally accommodates this with their flexible curriculum.
I realized this more than ever after I had little Norah. Homeschooling with a newborn is tricky. And, as I am learning this year, homeschooling with a toddler is even trickier! Sometimes we are doing school work at the supper table as Daddy plays with little Norah. Sometimes we are reading a little longer before bed to ensure my youngest little guy gets enough practice. Sometimes we give ourselves a lot of grace and simply let it go, knowing it will be right there for us to pick up after the ear infection is gone.
We are simply living our life together and learning together every day. Sometimes this learning comes in the form of a pencil and paper, and many times it doesn’t. A book outside on a gorgeous day. Bedtime stories that teach us about brave knights on amazing quests. Planting and tending our vegetable garden. Taking care of the chickens and sheep. Learning to nurture a baby sister. Developing empathy and understanding as plans need to change since we are a part of a family.
I have had so many of you reach out to me to share that you are so excited about these current school closures. You are testing the waters to see if homeschooling is right for you. It makes me so happy to think of other families discovering this magical world! I want to encourage you to tread lightly and start nice and slow – I know that is a very hard thing to do when we are excited to dive in.
Know that there is a ton of flexibility in homeschooling and that there will be ample time for all of the skills and learning you want to accomplish. As for right now, perhaps you could start with a bit of the ‘other learning’ that comes with homeschooling.
Bake together, read together, or perhaps learn the recorder!
Grab a copy of Oak Meadow’s Crafts for the Early Grades and choose an activity or two for the week ahead.
In fact, Oak Meadow is currently offering free homeschooling bundles, which is a wonderful way to get a feel for the Oak Meadow curriculum and see how it could fit into your lifestyle.
If I could go back and start homeschooling all over again, I would tread much more softly. I would focus on nurturing our relationship more and worry about coursework a heck of a lot less. I would do more crafts and games, and less core skills. I would follow my child’s lead more, and my ‘plan’ less.
I am so excited to hear more from those of you who are on this homeschooling journey alongside me. If I can answer any questions or support you as you begin, please don’t hesitate to reach out!
And if you are looking into curriculum options, I would strongly suggest you check out Oak Meadow.
Thank you so much for reading friends. I hope you and yours are staying safe and healthy!