Our Life: We Live It, We Love It, And Most Of All We Enjoy It!
Growing up in a small town I was very impressed with the amount of activities there are for children and homeschooling families. With Tuesday swim lessons (Port Hope), library Wednesdays (Cobourg), Forest Friends Thursdays (Welcome) and sport day Fridays (Baltimore), there are lots of opportunities for families to get together. Can’t make a weekly commitment? No worries. Most programs are drop-in friendly or offer a short weekly session so no long-term commitment is necessary. Monthly field trips (Northumberland County, Durham County, Peterborough County, GTA), summer camping (Kinark Outdoor Centre), and track and field meets (Oshawa) are also offered throughout the year. With all of these social opportunities, how can families not feel connected?
As far as academic requirements are concerned, Ontario has few guidelines as to what is deemed appropriate for a parent/caregiver to teach their children. This offers every family the opportunity to teach what their child loves to learn, at an age-appropriate level, and help foster a love of learning right from the start. Being Catholic, our family decided to choose a religious curriculum from Virginia. Seton offers a wide variety of materials that cover all your basic subjects (math, reading, history) as well as a few others (art, music). Since the curriculum is based in the United States, we have opted to also incorporate Canadian history/geography, local sciences, and French.
Considering that our children are still very young, free play is still very much a part of our daily routine. The children wake up and play until breakfast. After a quick morning prayer and breakfast, our oldest chooses what subject he wants to do first. This is either an independent lesson like journaling or spelling/English or an instructional lesson such as science, history, or math. After the 10-20 minute lesson is complete, he engages in free play, either independently or with his younger sister. During this time, I either review the work he completed or begin preparing for our daily outing. We complete 2-3 lessons in the morning before heading out to our daily activity. These activities vary every day but are usually the same every week, with few variations depending on the occasional field trip or the need for a “down day.” Upon returning from our activity, the children play or nap (only the youngest), depending on the time of day, while I attempt to complete some household chores. Afterwards, we complete the rest of our academics, usually 1-2 lessons depending on how many were completed in the morning and then it’s free play the rest of the day until suppertime. After supper, when Dad gets home from work, we share with him our completed school work, talk about our daily activities, and have family time. This involves grocery shopping, playing games, reading books, or watching TV. This is also the time we speak the most French and incorporate other daily lessons to ensure comprehension and understanding.
Our lives may seem very structured, but for us, it is this type of routine that helps us grow and learn together. The children know what is expected of them every day, and we know that they are getting the social interactions necessary to become successful and independent teens and adults. Our days do not always run smoothly. Our weeks are not without the occasional meltdowns, temper tantrums, or sibling rivalries; but it’s our day, our way, and our life. We live it, we love it, and most of all we enjoy it! Live in Northumberland County, Ontario? Visit www.northumberlandhomeschool.com to learn more about local opportunities for your homeschooling family.