I homeschooled Cami last year and we both loved it so much that we are continuing this year. I have this silent rule here on the blog that I don’t usually write about: politics, religion, or public education. Mostly because I have a passionate dislike of all three. But– I’m going to break my own rule because I wanted to make a few notes based on the overlap of homesteading and home education.
We are switching from a classical curriculum (Calvert) to a more artisticly-approached curriculum (Oak Meadow). As much as we loved the lessons, the ease of use, and the challenge of Calvert, we just cannot afford it this year; especially when the Oak Meadow curriculum is 1/3 of the price.
I knew someone would ask what we were using, so I thought it a good idea to just stick it in here.
While I was typing up all the tree guild lists for a blog post, I had my Fungi Perfecti catalog out. It would have been quite unfortunate to spell “King Stropharia” incorrectly for the world to see. Cami was flipping through the catalog asking what all of the equipment listed in the back was for. I explained that mushrooms produce seeds that are so small that they are too difficult for human eyes to see. Mushroom seeds are called spores and people use special equipment to keep their mushroom tools clean so that it is easier to grow them.
Then I thought: How cool would it be to grow mushrooms through a full cycle as a science project? My mind wandered to all kinds of crazy experiments and lessons that could stem off of simple mushrooms. I already planned to start a straw mushroom patch in a couple weeks so why not set it up together? Planting methods, growth charts, measuring, spore prints, “still life” drawings, elementary shapes, record keeping, all can be taught and practiced using a $20 bag of mushroom spawn.
This all led me to start a list of different subjects I want to cover through the future years of homeschooling my daughter. Sure, you can do all this with kids after a day of public school, but–
Here’s the thing…
I don’t want to. I want my kid to learn about using a ruler from measuring how tall a mushroom grew, or counting from collecting eggs (actually did that one), or how to use a scale by weighing baby animals, or about astronomy by staying up late to map the constellations, or the parts of a plant by growing one, or even about anatomy by dissecting something once alive. I want my kid to be able to ask as many questions as she wants. I want her to get one-on-one instruction. I want her to be confident enough in herself to laugh and be silly while learning about the life cycle of a toad or about the American economic system.
If you went to a public school that had unique methods of learning like this, tell me where you grew up and I’ll hop on a plane tomorrow.
Many people work long shifts or cannot afford to educate their children at home. I totally get it. We are also on a very tight budget because I am blessed enough to have a husband that works hard so I stay home with the farm and our daughter.
Regardless of the financial limitations, I have found this last year of homeschooling to be beyond rewarding for our family. I see the faces my family makes when I say that I plan to continue homeschooling, but whatever. I’ve seen that humpf face before when I wanted to go to a holistic healing school; or travel to Russia to study old, crusty art; or when I brought Trevor home. I’m used to it. Thanks to homeschooling on the farm, Cami has learned more than was ever expected from her. The kid has all the preschool stuff and most of the kindergarten stuff down pat. She even knows how to milk a goat and make a chicken nest. Next we’ll tackle the SAT’s and a high-tech aquaponics system.
It works for us. Sure, we don’t have money to go out to dinner every week or go see movies in the theater as soon as they come out, but we get to do better things. We are trendy in the fact that we eat, live, and learn “hyper-locally”. That’s what the
hipsters cool kids call it, right?
Got fun homesteady-homeschool lesson ideas? Grammar perhaps? (Just kidding.) Leave a comment!