Some basics about our days as relaxed, secular homeschoolers.
First things, let me explain that I don't call ourselves out as "Secular Homeschoolers" because I have an issue with non-secular homeschooling. In fact, we have lots of friends who are not, but who also may or may not use secular materials for a variety of reasons. However, secular homeschoolers still number far less than their counterparts and it can still be really difficult to connect with other like-minded families; and more importantly, to find good secular curricula. Because of this, I want to be sure to point that out for other families like ourselves, who are looking for certain types of information. Just know that it is in the spirit of inclusion, not exclusion!
“We are relaxed, secular homeschoolers who love to take advantage of all that San Diego has to offer!.”
I also consider us relaxed homeschoolers because I just can't abide the idea of sitting at home for hours and hours trying to replicate school at home when we live in San Diego! We have the most amazing zoo, tons of museums, parks galore, mountains, and our favorite...the beach! This means we have, at our fingertips, multitudes of options for amazing real-life learning every single day. And we take advantage of these weekly! We keep active Zoo memberships, as well as a special pass for the amazing Balboa Park which allows us access to most of the museums there. These give us options for hand-on history and science any day we choose.
We are not unschoolers though, so we do have some set curriculum that we try to get through on most school days (I'll talk more about that in my next post), but since my kiddos are still on the young side (Kinder and 2nd this year) we don't spend more than a few hours on 'sit down' work. We leave the rest of the day for exploring or play!
But two grade levels?!
And how do I school two kiddos in two different grades? Everyone's journeys will look different for this but for us, this happened really organically. As little brother got older, he took more and more interest in what we were reading or doing. Of course... he wanted to be just like big brother! Knowing that we had our Kinder year approaching, and that I wanted it to be a nice, gradual intro, I tweaked our curriculum last year so that we had something he could be more included in. He pretty much began sitting down with us for our daily work consistently about halfway through last year. And not because I made him! Because learning was really fun. And knowing that he LOVES all things ancient Egypt, we essentially paused what we had started with that last year, and saved it to begin again this year to really give us the best possible intro for our first combined year. So we do history/social studies, science and language arts as a family 'classroom' basically, and I just adjust activities and expectations (the key here) per kiddo. Math is the only thing that they do separately and they either just work on different sheets at the same time or I teach 2nd grade math while the little has run off to play. Again, this works for OUR family. Larger age gaps, or families jumping into homeschooling at a different stage will probably have a completely different experience than this. But this being my 3rd plus year of being a home educator also means I've worked out a lot of kinks already. So all of that really set the stage for a really smooth transition into teaching two kiddos at once! Because I also strongly believe the curricula itself has a huge impact with this, and our overall enjoyment of our days, I'm saving that for a separate post. So look for that one shortly! And please let me know in the meantime if you have questions about our homeschool life!
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