Sovereign Schooling and the “New Normal”
* Sovereign Schooling is Article 2 in the Sovereign Series. Read the first in the series: What is Sovereignty? Claiming Freedom in All Areas of Your Life
Judging by the comments and questions that are circling the internet and in my mom groups, there are mixed reviews regarding the homeschooling experience for the new and uninitiated. Those new to the homeschooling community are beginning their journey in the age of COVID. This presents some unique challenges. Here I’ll discuss sovereign schooling techniques that will aid you in taking control of your child’s education.
I want to preface this article by stating that this “new normal” is ANYTHING BUT NORMAL, even for experienced homeschoolers. We are used to being out in the community, learning with mixed ages, and many of our children take classes or programs outside of our homes.
Back to Basics
Many new homeschoolers may be trying to implement schooling procedures and techniques typically found in the classroom. Yet, what if we had it all wrong about the current system of education?
What if those things we are expected to teach aren’t really necessary at all? Imagine if our children’s natural disposition for learning made educating themselves in the necessities of life as natural for them as learning how to walk and talk. What if our interference as parents and educators is actually inhibiting that from happening?
In the following article, I will go over the way I structure our homeschool environment and how I allow my child the freedom to follow their interests and learn at their own pace. We use strategies that work with their style of learning. We don’t try to fit them into any unnatural boxes.
Sovereign Schooling Means New Beginnings
At the start of each school year, I print out the grade-level expectations for our state. I use it as a guide to loosely follow where my student falls, what we need to focus on over the year and align our educational opportunities with their grade-level expectations.
Each season, and especially at the beginning of the school year, my son and I have a family meeting where we come up with a bucket list of things that he is interested in learning. We discuss the topics he wants to cover, the classes that he is interested in taking, and the adventures that we want to go on. It is a flexible list and evolves as his interests evolve.
Variety is the Spice of Life…and Learning
We are eclectic homeschoolers. We use a variety of curriculum and tools for education. I don’t fall into a particular educational philosophy, but rather pull things from different philosophies. Waldorf, unschooling and Charlotte Mason are just a few educating philosophies that guide us.
I love using rituals and routines mixed with child-led learning for my student. He would definitely be a classic unschooler, but as I am a former teacher, old habits die hard. We both need some structure and accountability to feel like we are accomplishing things.
My son is a kinesthetic learner who is very bright. However, he is resistant to being taught anything. This means that he needs to mix movement into his learning. So bouncing a ball and spelling words, as opposed to a worksheet, works well for him. Some strategies that I use are strewing, gameschooling, and carschooling in our home. He loves spending intentional time with me and playing games, so it allows learning while playing.
In our home, I create a basket that I strew with a reading, writing, science, and math activity. This allows my student a level of his own sovereignty. I currently have playdough with huge word tracing cards, magnetic blocks, alphabetic beads, and a math game. It’s perfect for independent work during breakfast. I also make up a basket of activities that I use in the car.
Sovereignty and Accountability
Each week, I print out a tracker and record daily activities and the subjects we are hitting each day. This helps me keep track of the learning that is occurring. It also ensures that we hit subjects and activities that we haven’t been working on much.
The following curriculums are some that we currently use or that I have used in the past and that we have enjoyed.
- Exploring Nature with Children
- Homegrown Preschooler
- The Waldock Way (they have a Harry Potter curriculum!)
- The Magic Schoolbus science curriculum
- Wee Folk Art
A friend of mine LOVES Blossom and Root, so I’ll add that one in, too.
More Resources for Your Sovereignty Journey
Some favorite books that incorporate learning into our day: You can find the list in my Eclectic Homeschooling with Books Pinterest board.
Some of my favorite websites for child-led learning are in this Pinterest list Best Sovereign Schooling Websites
Some favorite Youtube channels for homeschooling.
Pinterest Board on Books to Research Unschooling