For homeschooling families, May is generally the month that we start to look forward and plan for the next school year. It’s the time to evaluate curriculums, attend homeschooling conventions, talk to more experienced homeschooling families, and do a lot of soul searching. It’s when we figure out what will be a good fit for us, our children, and our families. That usually means a blend of many different resources, I’ve found few “curriculums in a box” that are a perfect fit for every family. Most families I’ve talked to have taken more of an a la carte approach where they cherry pick from a variety of different available options. Some families are even driven enough to develop a curriculum all their own, but I’m not experienced or confident enough to take that on yet.
I decided a while ago that we were going to take a Charlotte Mason approach to homeschooling. Charlotte Mason was an educator in England during the late 19th century. She believed in educating the whole person, not just their mind. It’s an approach that focuses as much on creativity and imagination as it does knowledge and fosters a lifetime love of learning. The method is not a curriculum in itself, but there are many based upon it. It focuses mainly on literature, music, art and history, but easily allows for the inclusion of other resources for math, science, and social studies at the developmentally appropriate times.
The 2016-2017 school year will be our first year truly homeschooling. With the Charlotte Mason method, kindergarten is considered a “0 Year” where the focus is on playing and exploring the outdoors. We did some memory verses, but mostly we read and created stories, took care of our homesteading duties, and studied wild edibles. I did buy a workbook for practicing letters, numbers, and basic reading skills, but it’s been pretty low key. I’ve found that too many worksheets just cause stress and anxiety, which I’m really trying to avoid. We also have a subscription to ABC Mouse, but it’s use has also been pretty low key. Farmboy mostly uses it to play games and play with his virtual hamster.
So, here’s where Little Passports comes in. First of all, Farmboy loves to receive packages, unfortunately most of the packages that come in are baby wipes and vitamins, not very exciting. Receiving a package that is just for him makes him excited to open it and learn about what’s inside. It also contains something different each month and things that he’s probably never seen before, keeping him interested.
I like that he’s learning about other countries and cultures in a format that is different from just reading a book. It gives us a chance to have a conversation and dialog about what is in the box, which I’ve found helps him to retain the information. I can also incorporate my own travels to foreign countries, making the lesson more in depth. It’s important to me that he learns as much as he can about the world around him. Hopefully, we’ll even be able to visit some of these countries some day.
Little Passports knows that homeschool families love their subscription materials, so they’ve also developed free study guides to go along with the World Edition subscription. They go hand in hand with the packages so parents can easily build a lesson around their contents. The guides include engagement activities, bonus content, pop-quizzes and printables. I like that I can easily see what’s coming in the next box so I can plan my lesson ahead of time. It’s also flexible, so I can use as much or as little of the guide as I like.
All in all, I’m really looking forward to receiving these monthly additions to our studies. While the school year doesn’t technically start until August, we’ll probably be starting our subscription sooner so we can start enjoying the lessons right away. That’s the beauty of homeschooling, we can opt to study year round so we can have more flexibility for our family life.