Kindergarten Homeschool Reflection #2: Forest School!
Updated: May 13, 2022
In my last post, I mentioned how we are finally getting into a homeschooling groove. Since then, things went in an interesting direction. Huxley started to get bored with my schooling and I started to feel burnt out and lost again. And that makes sense. Utilizing random curriculums, online videos and apps was a great way for me to just get started but I lingered too long in the unplanned world. As you probably know, kids can sense when their parents are lacking confidence.
So in popped a saving grace: FOREST SCHOOL.
Now, why am I mentioning school if I am supposed to be homeschooling? Well, if you have started to dabble in the world of HS, you have probably already heard about the importance of Enrichment classes/programs. I really believe no matter how amazing of a teacher you are, it helps to have a variety of influences. I often find that if I let another person INTRODUCE something to my kid, I can often take over and Hux will be more receptive in the following lessons.
And I have to say Forest School is a Homeschooling-working mom's dream. It is everything I want for my kid and myself. It provides me with time to work and rest and provides Hux with a way of learning I don't think I would enjoy or be great at doing. It's a school that involves outside play ALL DAY for him and has introduced skills like sewing, harvesting and caring for the planet. It's a school that my highly sensitive boy feels conformable going to with the small class size, tree therapy, and calm teachers.
Putting him in this enrichment program gave me the buffer I needed to gather my thoughts and do the next step:
Stop talking and start listening.
Now that I took the first step and got started, I felt like it was time to put things in perspective. I stopped following the curriculums online and stopped making Hux "go to school". I started observing. What was he already learning naturally through his day to day experiences? It's hard to see all that a child learns naturally when it is outside the context of the "sit at a desk and learn academics" type of learning we think of. And even though I love the unschooling idea, my brain has been culturally taught another way.
So I took my lesson plan notebook and wrote down every night what he learned (on his own or by me) naturally throughout the day. It only took a few nights of doing this to shift the way my brain has been judging things. One of my entries was this:
Petcare: Grandparents' dog got sick.
Responsibilities: Remembering to feed the fish.
Music: making up silly songs including...
Counting: 1-100 then up to 600 in groups of 10 in song format (during bath time).
Lego Building (so many learning opportunities there!)
Byeteko Breathing: Counting while mommy held her breath then tried it himself.
EFT Therapy: During a moment of anger, I did play this video then this video and guided him through releasing his anger. (I also guided him, without the video, when he was scared to go to school the next day.)
When I read this I was elated. Not only did I see how much he is learning on his own (way more than I wrote down) but because I wasn't thinking about how to cram phonics into his brain, I was able to introduce things closer to my priorities like emotional intelligence and stress mgmt.
I also started doing my research on what a 5-year-old is developmentally going through, how they learn and what is culturally expected of them.
This blog by Raising WildFlower Kids helped put things in perspective.
INSPIRE Charter has these I CAN statements that is their guide to what a Kinder might typically know at the end of the year. This allows me to know what to focus on FIRST when I want to introduce academia.
I just downloaded HOW CHILDREN LEARN by John Holt and can't wait to get started on that.
I am finishing up with the audiobook: TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR LIFE by Mel Robbins. It is SO good. I find that it also helps with homeschooling like understanding the fixed mindset vs growth mindset. I see this in Hux. With a fixed mindset, you might view yourself as STRONG so when someone comes along and is stronger than you, your world crashes down. This can lead to perfectionism in adults. A growth mindset would think, "no problem, I just need to work harder and get stronger." like what the legend, Michael Jordan, did when we didn't make his sophomore basketball team. I've explained this (the best I could) to Huxley and I'm using this in the way I parent as well now.
I've noticed Huxley has gotten really into PRETEND play lately. He wants to do this all day whether it be a naked dog at our window, barking at strangers walking by or when I have to sit at a table next to him in a coffee shop, pretend to be strangers and have a conversation with him for 20 minutes (so awkward for me I might add). I want to nurture his imagination and use it as a possible way of schooling. I also plan to use some of my INSPIRE funds to sign him up for acting classes and see if he likes it.
Now that the school year has officially started, how are all of YOU doing?!