Mindful Homeschooling: the Early Years through the Teens

So many families practice attachment parenting, we try positive parenting techniques. We understand the importance of establishing a connection and nurturing that connection through empathy and example.

What does Mindful Homeschooling look like? Mindful homeschooling is a way to continue to maintain that connection with our kids through their education. It is adaptable through the different phases of kids’ individual development.

What is Mindful Homeschooling in practice?

Mindful homeschooling looks different for every phase kids go through.

The Early Years

Kindergarten curriculum is packed full of reading, number literacy, book reports, workbooks etc. deemed by child development experts too rigid for a 5 year old. If you homeschool a 5 or 6 year old with academics they may push back, be bored and stay bored. Here are some ideas and resources.

4 to 6 Year Olds

  • The bulk of the time they learn from playing on their own, pretend playing, having play dates, or playing with parents or siblings.
  • It is a good idea to set up some “activities” or prompts early in the day and towards the end of the day when they are winding down.
  • Read our post Absolutely Best Games for Preschoolers
  • Offer activities and crafts that kids learn to do with you and then they can elevate the learning to fit their needs, or just simply do these activities by themselves. Here are 22 Favorite Activities for Preschoolers and Beyond.
  • Sure kids explore, ask questions, they have an innate curiosity. They want to know why the sun sets everyday, and they can be fascinated when told that the Sun doesn’t really move that it is the Earth that is rotating. They look at the night sky and ask questions about the stars and can conceptualize that some of those stars are planets! Their questions are very nature oriented, for some reason, and it may seem as if they are little scientists trying out different outcomes, combinations, and trying to make sense of their environment.

7 to 8 Year Olds

  • Allocate time for classes, field trips, and even sports outside the house.  If you can’t afford private organizations for Art classes, Sport activities etc. Look for the ones offered at your local Art Center, Community Centers, The Library, Public pool swim classes, free museum days, free cultural events, Culture Passes, etc.

At this age school kids start 2nd or 3rd grade which is very demanding considering these are still the early years.

  • Don’t lose sight of the play and social factor. Kids that go to school are at 2nd and 3rd grade at this age, that doesn’t mean that they don’t need to spend most of their waking time playing. They do. In fact now more than ever kids start to really trust their physical skills so they require a lot of time at the park playing, climbing, swinging, doing monkey bars, climbing trees, chasing, coming up with games to play with other kids, pretend playing, playing on their own and everything related to moving their bodies and exercising  their minds.
  • You could start establishing a routine to devote a day or two per week on things like reading, arithmetic, some science… Most lessons take way less time to learn at home, such as reading, grammar, math, geography. Our post on How to Start Homeschooling is full of ideas.
  • Kids use Art to learn. I can’t explain it any better, it’s as simple as that. If you can understand that kids learn through play, please understand that 5 – 8 year olds also learn through drawing, painting, modeling. Give them pencils and markers. Allow them to just sit and lose themselves in the drawing process, in the colors, in the details, the story-telling.

9 to 11 Year Olds

9 to 11 year olds tend to become interested in certain subjects, and learning things on their own. But they may ask their parents for help in finding resources to learn certain subjects, get into sports, take classes to learn about the subjects they want to dive into.

Also at this point they will understand or even want to learn more complex math. Khan Academy is big with homeschoolers. Somebody recommended Cosmic Math the other day. There are other math and life skills kids can really get into at this age. Take a look at Best Math and How to Help Your Child Learn It. And Age appropriate Skills kids can learn(Link).

Suggest books that are very good fiction, really engaging classic adventures like Moby Dick, The Lord Of the Rings and sci-fi like Dune, Ender’s Game Trilogy, etc.

These books may spark an interest in biology, science, literature, history.

Just because they are older and their learning has become more sophisticated and targeted, doesn’t mean that they need less play.

While their interest and learning might take them a couple of hours each day, there is still the rest of the day to spend outdoors, have play dates, do house chores, etc.

Mindful homeschooling the 12 – 16 year olds

During the tween and teenage years there are a lot of resources for learning different subjects, such as online courses, and community college. Please read Homeschooling Teenage Years. High School vs. Collerge to get an idea of what homeschooling in the teenage years may look like.

Suggest books that are simply mind blowing non-fiction.

Here are some of my personal favorites:

Alexander of Macedon 356-323 B.C.: A Historical Biography

Biography of Alexander focuses on his life, his father, his mother’s influence, and his conquests. As we read through the battles and conquests we see that Alexander wasn’t “great” just an amazing strategist and was incredibly well educated (he was homeschooled and his tutor was Aristotle.)

The Conquest of New Spain

This detailed account told by Bernal Diaz del Castillo was edited by British researcher John M. Cohen. One of the most fascinating and exciting stories you will ever read.

Castaways

This is the first anthropological record we have of the United States. The book is a letter that was written by Albar Nuñez Cabeza de Vaca to the King of Spain, after he was castaway in Florida and found his way across the United States to California where he found Spanish missionaries. He learned to survive and became to love and respect the indigenous people along the way.  It took him 11 years to journey!

The Sign and the Seal

If you thought that history was boring, hold on to your seat because this search for the Arch unravels secrets, presents provocative ideas and makes correlations about events in history that we would never think of.

America BC

Interesting book about findings of Celtic and European writings and archaeological findings in the north eastern United States, indicating that America had been discovered long before Columbus.

Expedition Faucet

I started watching a movie they made about this on Amazon, but the book is so much more exciting. The things that you find most engaging about the book are not in the movie. It is an incredible adventure through the Amazon in search of a lost city.

The Last Tsar

This book examines Russian history from the late 1800, the last days of Nicolas II’s father through the Russian Revolution. The author does extensive reasearch on what happened to the last Tsar family, and how it all went down. It is related and researched in such a way that is fascinated. Even if you are not a history geek, you will never forget the history of the Russian Revolution after you read this book.

Baudolino

Fiction, but the author, Umberto Eco, has such deep knowledge of history that you may think the character was real. Everything that happens in this book is put into a researched historical frame. Other books by this author are awesome.

These books are such exciting stories that it’s hard to believe it’s not fiction. They can really spark a love for history.

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