This being our first year of homeschooling, there are bound to be challenges as we discover what works for Ethan and for us as parents. We wanted to follow a learner led approach, like unschooling, and combine that with some structure when it comes to math and writing.
It’s not so hard finding ways to practice math, especially since Ethan loves math. Pretty much anything we do for math keeps Ethan engaged. But it’s a different story for writing and reading comprehension.
Ethan loves to read, but isn’t so keen on writing and demonstrating comprehension. We know that when he’s motivated, writing is fun and easy, as demonstrated by his comic books and the fun, creative writing he did for the BC Grade 4 Foundation Skills Assessment (FSA). But it’s getting him to practice comprehension that’s been met with resistance and some degree of frustration on our part.
Research and discovery
So, Dong Eun started doing more research because we knew there had to be a better way. Ethan is enrolled in SelfDesign and although they provide support through a Learning Consultant (LC), we feel that ultimately, it’s up to us to find a way that works best for Ethan. This led Dong Eun to revisit the Charlotte Mason (CM) homeschooling method and it’s looking like we may have found an answer.
Charlotte Mason’s method is gentler and uses books as the main source of materials and learning. But not textbooks. Instead, we’re to use what Mason calls “living books,” books that use stories about people, as opposed to textbooks that just restate facts.
Using books seems right up Ethan’s alley because he loves reading so much. And instead of using worksheets for comprehension, conversation with us and retelling of the story is what’s encouraged.
But what about the religious part of Charlotte Mason?
We don’t practice any form of religion but we also don’t try to judge or pigeon hole CM. Instead, we’re looking at the principles behind her method and find that they align with us and Ethan.
So starting today, Dong Eun implemented aspects of CM to see how they would work; in particular, the part about not needing Ethan to use a workbook for language arts, but to use living books, instead.
We started the day by taking a stroll down to the beach, something we haven’t done since we’ve been back from the trip. It was a nice way to burn off some energy and hopefully, make it easier for Ethan to stay focused when he had to do his work.
First bank account
One thing we’ve been meaning to do is open a bank account for Ethan. We finally did today, as well as getting him set up with an RESP so he can receive money from the Canadian government for his education.
One thing that was cool was how well behaved Ethan was, even though we had to be at the bank for an hour. He didn’t bring a book or anything to pass the time, but instead, he sat patiently and waited. It probably helped that I talked to him while we sat there, but overall, his behaviour at the bank was stellar.
Applying some CM
We got another book from the library about nature and keeping a journal about things Ethan sees in nature.
Here’s a drawing that shows where we went today.
And he played some Rush Hour, which has always been a favourite of his.
Ethan practiced some division and seemed to enjoy it, as he become more familiar with how to divide.
Ethan made some more cards, as we need them for a family gathering and we wanted him to make some thank you cards for the people who contributed to his laptop fund.
At night, we wrote in the cards and Ethan added some games, puzzles and jokes to customize the cards. One of the puzzles was inspired by something the learned in the Korean math book.
He enjoyed it
Ethan was positive about today’s learning because he didn’t have to do the reading passage and worksheets. Dong Eun mentioned that the day seemed to go well, too, so we’ll see what it’s like for Ethan as we learn and incorporate more of the CM method in Ethan’s learning.