My son and I have been easing into homeschooling for the past several months. Initially, we started purchased a few, sparse, inexpensive curricula, and plunged in. We started off in April and progressed on to may with very few ideas. We had a few songs and stories and craft ideas but nothing to really inspire or guide us. That changed when we purchased both the Live Education and Earthschooling curricula. The Earthschooling curriculum gave us the breadth of content we needed, and Live Education gave us the structure we needed. Further exposure to and experimentation with teaching methods brought about a further innovation: Focus Months. After a summer of experimentation, we finally settled on our homeschooling style and are implementing it with great success!

My son is four, and we are Waldorf and Montessori-based, so our initial lessons are all focused around general nature, weather, the seasons, and animal life cycles. We employ the typical Waldorf verses, circle time, story telling, puppet shows, nature walks, and so forth. However, having scene a “Focus Table” in another homeschooler’s blog, we have added a focus topic for each month. This month was mushrooms, and my son fell in love with them immediately. We’re studying everything about mushrooms from biology and ecology to representations of mushrooms and mushroom themes in popular fiction. The constant focus on mushrooms through stories, coloring, puzzles, and other activities has really ensured that my son has learned and retained the most knowledge that he possibly can on the subject. As we move on to leaves and trees during the next month, we will persist his mushroom knowledge using a custom game based on a classic, fictional story about mushrooms; Elizabeth Cameron’s “Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet.”