We decided to take a new approach to homeschooling this year, something I’ve named Experience-Based Homeschooling. I’m not sure if that was a term before, but it is now! Here’s a quick run-down of what it means to be an Experience-Based Homeschooler and some of our plans for 2015.
I have set up a couple of rules for my family, mostly to keep my budget and schedule in check:
1. Experiences are based on interest and are not required. Meaning, if my 11 year old wants to skip yoga she can. I have 6 kids of vastly different age (18 all the way down to 1) and there’s no way they’re all going to have the same interests.
2. Experiences are going to be a major part of our homeschooling but we’re still covering the basics. They’ll keep doing their math and reading, and my teens still have their heavier course load. Additionally, experiences cannot overtake our lives, they must fit in with our doctor appointments and other obligations.
3. The experiences have to fit into our budget. For us this means a cost of no more than $10/person, with the occasional exception for a really good deal or super awesome experience.
4. Experiences can be fun but they have to have some sort of educational merit and most of them should be hands-on. The trips we have scheduled span the subjects, from career exploration to musical exploration to science days.
5. Experiences must be baby-friendly.No, she can’t participate in most of it but I need to be able to have her present. For this reason we’re skipping all of the great plays and some other quiet activities.
I’ve put together a list of 19 experiences we know we will do this year, and they’re all already scheduled and on my calendar. Some of these we’re doing solo while some are being done with friends so we can get a group discount, and I’m sure as opportunities present themselves we’ll be adding more. We’re including dad as much as his work schedule permits. All are going to be super fun and I look forward to sharing them with you this year!
Auto Mechanic Workshop
Fire Department visit (we have two scheduled!)
Dog training (more like training for people who own a dog, amiright??)
Police Station Tour
Aquarium class and tour
Zoo (using Wild at the Zoo!)
NASA Space Exploration class and tour of Astronaut Hall of Fame
Interactive ocean life presentation and tour of SeaWorld
Beach exploration day
Amusement Park Physics
Tie Dye Chemistry
History & Holidays
Renaissance Faire Student Day
Civil War Reenactments (we have several in our area to pick from)
Medieval Madness (a project and creating day!)
Winter Solstice Presentation
Art, Music, & Physical Stuff
Monthly Art Co-op
Weekly Drama Class
Aerial Yoga (this was their first experience!)