I've spent the better part of six months researching curriculum. Every time someone mentions something in a forum or on a Facebook post I rush over to Google, desperate for a program that I think will be a good fit. Many have come close, but they mostly seem to have the same thing in common—they mimics “regular” school. Companies are advertising worksheets, tests, quizzes and spelling lists—all for FREE.
I guess that’s when it hit me. I don’t want this experience to be about grades and tests. Right now, I just want my boys to enjoy acquiring new information. Learning should be fun. I don’t want them burdened with test taking and score sheets. Not at five or six and maybe not even at seven or eight. When we were still considering private school, we toured a nearby Waldorf school. I remember being surprised that they didn’t begin academics until age seven, but now I understand. Kids are meant to be kids. They learn through play and discovery. They don’t need to sit at desks and complete worksheets to learn. They can learn to count by fives by sitting in a circle on the floor and counting fingers and toes. Max would put most adults to shame with his knowledge of the states and their capitals, knowledge he acquired simply by studying his US placemat at mealtime.
Everyone does homeschool differently. I get that and I know that as thy get older, their studying will begin to look more like "real" school, but I’m finding that my kids are learning a TON just by playing and observing the real world. Max has learned to read and I know because he reads to me. Isaac can count backwards from 20 and I know because he counts down for launches when they play astronaut (hilarious to watch, by the way). Being the one in charge of their education means that I get to asses their learning all day, everyday and that too, is totally free.
(Unless you count the toll it takes on my sanity.)