It can seem so overwhelming. There are options everywhere! Where do you even begin when trying to determine your homeschool curriculum? What do you teach? How do you teach? What do you do with their siblings in the process? Let me introduce you to Buckets homeschool material.
Here at Buckets & Berries we first we Immerse ourselves in a subject or theme. This is done by daily readings of high quality, subject specific literature. High quality literature does far more than transmit basic facts about a topic. It expands the vocabulary. It develops wisdom and empathy. It provides meaningful connections between topics. It educates the heart as well as the mind.
Step two is exploration. There must be an element of playful exploration to sort out the finer details within a topic. If this exploration can be done with a friend, so much the better! In botany there is the passage of time and the fine balance of sun, water and soil. Seeds must be planted and accidentally flooded, and planted again and left to dry out, before a true understanding of what a plant needs is acquired. Exploration is done through hands-on manipulation of a theme and it's related subtopics. The Buckets homeschool curriculum recognizes that a child's hands must be involved if the child is to learn. “The hands are the instruments of man’s intelligence.” – Dr Maria Montessori
Finally, we formalize our knowledge. We write about what we have learned so as to document the experience for ourselves. There is a pride that develops naturally from being able to say, "I know this. I learned this. This is what I can now do." Unlike many methods which test so that the teacher may know what the child has learned, what we really want is for the child to know what he or she has learned. This is their education, after all. Careful observation on the part of the teacher is necessary for continued direction, but it is far less important than what the child sees they have accomplished, and where the child believes they must continue growing. In public schools this can look like a test or a worksheet. Worksheets are great! But they are not our primary mode of learning. We must first play.
So those are the steps we take. The beauty of these steps is that they may be undertaken by many ages at once. A group of siblings may all jump in on the same topic together, fully aware that what the 2 year old gleans will be different than the second grader. The Buckets & Berries units contain worksheets and Montessori works for PK-1st grade, so that a young family first learning the ropes of homeschooling can keep everyone on the same page... making life much easier for the teacher.
Each unit contains a small read aloud list. I know it is very popular to write articles titled "60 best bird books!" but the truth is many of those books are not worth reading. As much as possible, we must aim at literature. I have done that footwork for you. Set these in a consistent spot on your shelves so that everyone knows where to go for this month's immersion.
Many families find that keeping every sibling on the same theme creates a fantastic opportunity for themed adventures. Why not travel to the closest beach in June? Is there a better way to explore the ocean unit? The limit is your own imagination, simply use the monthly theme as a guide!
To formalize learning, and to help focus your efforts each month, the units includes a collection of worksheets and a handful of clear goals for your child.
This provides you and your child a clear picture of what their responsibility is within the theme. If you need any help or have ANY questions, or would just like community input on a topic, hop on over to the Buckets and Berries page. We are all here to support each other!
After you pick up the packet and take a quick check at the first unit, all you need to do is sit back with a cup of coffee and enjoy those Sweet Joys. You can do this!!