Seafarer Mama/Karen is a joyfully home-schooling parent who holds a B.A. in Psychology and M.Ed. in Elementary Education.
Our Adventure of Exploring the World through the Five Senses
My Home-Schooling Philosophy
For my family, home-schooling is about engaging the whole child – body, mind and heart – in the learning process, and allowing the child to lead the way.
My daughter is five years old now. Her birthday falls after the cutoff date designated by the Massachusetts Department of Education for eligibility to attend Kindergarten. My dilemma is this: she would not be admitted into the Kindergarten class of our local public school, all preschools in the area charge tuition, I am currently under-employed and we do not yet own a car in an area where this is a great disadvantage. We have been managing all this with the help of friends, for whom we are very grateful. They are truly a blessing, as are all our neighbors in our co-housing community.
Let's Start at the Very Beginning...
Despite some of the worries, I believe that my present life is the doorway that has been waiting for me to walk through. Transportation issues aside, I decided that upon purchasing and moving into a new home, I would seek employment online that I could work at in the evenings, when my daughter is sleeping, and during the day I would begin teaching her to read and write at home. She misses having schoolmates to play and bond with, but has close neighbors who include her in their play when they return from their day at school. She loves to have me read to her, and often begs for several books at a time, and enjoys playing with the magnetic alphabet letters on our refrigerator. Woven among the reading and play are short phonics lessons, writing, drawing, building, dress-up, sandwich-making, baking, and observation of diverse wildlife in their natural habitat. Just last week, one of her playmates found a "walking stick" insect on our property. That was very exciting for both of us, for I had never seen one up close myself.
Our Initial Reading List
Now that I have finished reading Les Miserables by Victor Hugo, I am looking forward to reading The Well-Trained Mind: A Guide to Classical Education at Home, by Susan Wise-Bauer and Jessie Wise (a mother-daughter team), published in 1999, with a more recent reprint in 2004. In the meantime, I have been "winging it," using my experience, knowledge and hopes for my daughter's education as my guide. The books I have been reading to her since her birthday in September include:
What Makes a van Gogh a Van Gogh, a description of a group of van Gogh's paintings and what his life was like when he was working on them.
When They Were Children, a book about the childhoods of great people in history from all walks of life.
Children's Bible Stories from the old and new testaments.
The Juniper Tree , a collection of fairy tales by the Brothers Grimm.
I give her phonics lessons with the magnetic wooden letters I bought her, which live on our refrigerator. She likes to make words of her own with them when I am cooking or working on the computer. She practices spelling simple words with those letters, and writing the beginning letters of the alphabet on paper with pencil, markers, crayon, or paint, or with her finger in flour, and sand. We make collages out of natural objects and count with her set of blocks, from which she is also learning about the basic geometrical shapes.
Five-Year-Olds Learn Kinesthetically
Culinary science is also a subject of study for us. Cosette is already a pro at breaking eggs into batter without any of the shell dropping in. She may be young and not yet ready to grasp the concept of fractions, but she is learning about relationships between basic measurements and having a wonderful time enjoying the results of her efforts, whether they are apple turnovers, cookies, pizza, or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. She also enjoys helping me load the dishwasher, sweep, and water plants and flowers. In between these experiences, I work to give her an appreciation for the change of seasons. She often tells me how much she misses Spring and Summer (flowers, light clothing, more daylight, running around barefoot), but I hope that she will soon experience things to enjoy about Autumn and Winter, too. Such pleasures could include sliding through piles of fallen leaves followed by a warm cup of mulled apple cider, or building snow people and making snow angels followed by a cup of hot cocoa by a fire in our community's Common House.
Visiting Fun Places That Engage All the Senses
Throughout the seasons, we will visit places where we can touch, smell, taste, see, and hear the wonderful world around us. Those places include Tower Hill Botanical Garden, DeCordova Sculpture Park, and Indian Head Farm. We will visit places close to family in other states, too. My Mother lives in Williamsburg, Virginia. My daughter loves history, and has become familiar with the events around the American Revolution through watching the "Liberty's Kids" series on Netflix, and will benefit from a visit to the Colonial Village. My husband's family lives in Missouri, close to Hanibal. She will learn about Mark Twain and the culture of the Midwest region of our country when she visits them.
Homeschooling Information and Resources
- John Root - Musician - Naturalist
A very knowledgeable naturalist worth paying attention to. He is very generous with his time, and recently offered an edible plant walk at Indian Head Farm, down the road from where I live. My daughter loved it and now enjoys nibbling on "sour leaf."
- I Can Read
Images and descriptions of stories graded to a variety of reading levels from Beginner (1) to Advanced (4). These include stories built around familiar characters such as Amelia Bedelia, the Berenstain Bears, and Fancy Nancy.
- The Well-Trained Mind A Guide to Classical Education at Home
A website and blog with resources and a discussion forum around a variety of approaches to home-schooling. Based on the book, "A Well-Trained Mind," which outlines an approach to home education using literary classics in every subject.
© 2009 Karen A Szklany
Karen A Szklany (author) from New England on September 08, 2014:
Thanks for stopping by and reading, Au fait. I also checked out your home-schooling hubs and enjoyed them. Have a great year! :0)
C E Clark from North Texas on September 07, 2014:
Sounds like you're on the right track. I home schooled my daughter start to finish and I've never regretted it. She will be 26 next month. I have several articles about home schooling too. Glad you are making the time to educate your daughter and that you seem to have a well rounded curriculum.
Karen A Szklany (author) from New England on March 14, 2012:
Thank you, Jamila! thanks for stopping by to read my hubs, and for your encouraging thoughts...very much appreciated!
jamila sahar on March 13, 2012:
what a beautiful story ! your daughter is so lucky to have you for a mom ! i am sure she will treasure these lovely memories for the rest of her life and most importantly pass down this valuable education to her children in the future. so your wisdom will live on !
your daughter is lovely and i enjoyed the enchanting photos ! i look forward to reading more hubs voted up interesting, useful and beautiful because it is ! :-)
Karen A Szklany (author) from New England on September 24, 2011:
Kitty, thank you very much for stopping by to read my home-schooling hub and for your encouraging comments. I am glad that it was informative for you. :0)
Kitty Fields from Summerland on September 24, 2011:
Voted up and awesome. I've never considered home-schooling, as I always felt it kept the kids from engaging in the world socially, but you've identified some great points as to why home-schooling is quite beneficial for children. Great job.
Karen A Szklany (author) from New England on August 27, 2011:
Thank you Asmaiftikhar. I'm glad that you enjoyed both of my home-schooling hubs. Hope you'll find some of my more remotely related hubs useful, too. :0)
Thank you for stopping by and leaving me your thoughts. :0)
asmaiftikhar from Pakistan on August 27, 2011:
that is really interesting.And full of information and shows your efforts for your daughter.the sequel is also interesting.
Karen A Szklany (author) from New England on August 19, 2010:
If you enjoyed reading this article, you may also enjoy its sequal, "Our First Year of Homeschooling: How Far We Have Come."