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  • Writer's pictureMara Shanahan

Our Leap into Homeschooling

Updated: Feb 3, 2021

Guys, I did it it. Exactly a month ago today, I took the leap and started homeschooling J, my wild, nature-loving, 6 year old, 1st grade boy. It's been a great adventure so far, filled with planning and organizing for me, and fantastic experiments and discoveries for him. I love it, and I hope to continue indefinitely.

We had started the school year participating in our public school district's "remote academy". It did not go well. As I wrote in a previous post, the hours of online learning time did not do my little guy justice, and it did not work well for our household style. After three weeks of watching my son devolve into a pile of anxiety and tears, zombie-faced and unable to think, on a daily basis, I jumped ship.

I had already looked into homeschool curriculum plans, and I found a wonderful nature-based program by Blossom & Root. Her well-written and easy to follow curriculum is full of wonderful nature studies and science projects, aptly called "Wonders", as well as a language arts curriculum brimming with delightful stories and well laid out weekly lessons. This is not an advertisement - I truly love this curriculum. She also includes a lovely "Math in Art" curriculum, though I do supplement with additional math work through Khan Academy and other various online resources. My main goal for this school year is to help J become a confident and eager reader. He's really just in the beginning stages of reading still, but I'm happily guiding him through at his own learning pace.

I find that the Blossom & Root curriculum for year 1 can be easily completed in just a couple hours a day, leaving room for, well, life. It gives us time for household endeavors, play (which cannot be discounted as frivolous at this age. What is play, other than the greatest method of learning?), outside adventures, trips to the library, local museums or nature centers, and deeper dives into topics that we find to be more interesting. In the past month, we have visited the Vermont Institute of Natural Science, Parker River National Wildlife Refuge, Seacoast Science Center at Odiorne Point State Park, local small farms, and, of course, our local library. We've studied the Autumnal Equinox and harvest time, we've begun to study Earth - it's layers, plates, mountains, volcanoes, and rock formations, we've listened to beautiful music, searched for woolly caterpillars under logs, pressed flowers and leaves, gone on a treasure hunt, learned about Native Peoples for Indigenous Peoples Day and, this week, the history of Halloween! The best part is, he's loving it. I'm loving it. And he's learning to READ. We read and write about everything that we do. The languages arts are incorporated into every part of the curriculum.

I've cataloged our time in homeschool so far on my Instagram here Now that we've gotten into a rhythm with our schedule, I'll be writing more posts specific to our homeschool journey. I'd love to have you follow along!

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