The start of our homeschooling exploration

by Tsh Oxenreider

Tsh is the founder of this blog and just finished traveling around the world with her husband and 3 kids. Her latest book is Notes From a Blue Bike, and believes a passport is one of the world's greatest textbooks.

2244760737_a2e031ac6b.jpgIf we are still living overseas by the time our three-year-old daughter starts kindergarten, we will be homeschooling. There’s actually still a chance we’d be doing that even if we’re back in the States – we’re still not sure. But regardless of what educational path we take, the topic of homeschooling fascinates me, so I enjoy learning about it – and there are resources all over the internet.

My daughter has an insatiable appetite for learning right now, and I love this early stage, when it’s fun to make every experience into a learning one. Letters, numbers, shapes, textures, songs, animals, sports, art, nature… everything is interesting to her. And she wants to soak it all in.

Needless to say, I want to take advantage of this interest and do what I can to expand her horizons, yet do it in a casual, everyday way that doesn’t pressure her academically. She’s only three, after all.

So I’m still exploring, but here are some useful tools I’ve found around the internet lately.

First off, I love this simple yet thorough explanation of why this one family homeschools. (It’s also a fun blog written by someone who owns a store in Oregon that I absolutely love.)

I’m fairly certain we’ll take a Charlotte Mason approach to homeschooling (all plans subject to change, of course). And oddly enough, one of the tenets of this method is to not start formal schooling too early – that the preschool years should mostly be spent playing (outdoors, preferably), helping around the house, and pointing their natural love of learning towards life skills.

Ambleside Online has an amazing slew of resources – including all this info on preschool stuff. Granted, the interface is a bit muddled and difficult to read, but the content is great.

Here’s another free curriculum, though I haven’t yet researched it.

And Simply Charlotte Mason is a great resource, complete with a wonderful database, but for some reason, I can’t access it at the moment. (I’m sure it’s temporary, since I was able to get there yesterday.)

These are some really helpful articles about how to do the Charlotte Mason method well.

In the meantime, this site has a lot of good preschool activities for the home.

More good ideas and resources can be found here, here, here, and here. Really, there’s no end to the good info out on the internet. What did we do before the internet?

And finally, there are lots of good links for rabbit trailing here.

This is just the tip of the iceberg as to what I’ve found. I’m not yet ready to defend my position on education, what we will and will not do, or what method is ideal. I’m a baby in this homeschooling world, really. I loved my public school education, so I’m not opposed to that, either. In the meantime, however, no matter what route of school we’ll take, I want to prepare my kids well for a lifetime of learning.
Art by Jana Christy

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  1. I am brand new to your website, but interested in many of your topics. If you land in the U.S. sometime, and are still interested in homeschooling – Charlotte Mason style, you might be interested in I am a first year homeschooling mom of a fifth grader, with two other children as well. Son1 LOVES getting together with the other families each Friday.

    We both love the Essentials of the English Language course. He has learned to begin writing and polishing his projects without the frustration and tears of previous years. It always seemed strange that a boy who could talk his way around the world would have such a terrible writers block, but this program is pushing him through that problem. EEL has been extremely helpful. At this higher level, they also work on learning a timeline from Creation to Modern America. (There is a video of William saying his timeline on the CC website under videos.) Doing memory work with other children each week adds incentive to a task that he would rather skip.

    Have fun with your little one. Our 2 year old has such lovely exclamations and agreement sounds when we explain new things. “Ooooh! Riiiiigh(t)! I luuh dat!” The Usborne- First Book of Knowledge is an early book that all my children loved.

    I just found the Ambleside Online website this week as well. It will bear some more study, but I am really grateful for the reading lists.

    Thank you

  2. I suggest that you give your overseas preschool a try. We are currently in China and our two kids attend a local preschool/Kindergarten. They love it! And the progress they are making in the language is totally mind blowing. Check out our blog if you like: What country are you in?


  3. @michele – Glad to “meet” you! I’d love to hear more from you as you explore homeschooling this year. Do share your wisdom.

    @AMBA – Yes, I’d love to try preschool here if we’re able. In our country, it really depends on each school whether they’re quality. Unfortunately, the cost of living is pretty high, so the bettter schools are pretty spendy. We’ll see within the year or so.

  4. avatar
    V. Higgins says:

    As someone who was homeschooled through all school years (until college) I have to say that it’s a wonderful, amazing experience and it gave me a truly unique and beneficial outlook on life. My mom wasn’t a teacher, she didn’t even have a college education, my dad didn’t finish high school and received his GED later in life. They didn’t do it all right, and I struggled, especially with a mother who is very dis-organized. But even with all that, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. If you have any questions about homeschooling and the effect it has, the benefits and pitfall, please feel free to contact me. Homeschooling is a passionate subject for me and I love to educate people about it.

  5. I’ve been homeschooling the past eight years and think that Charlotte Mason’s philosophy works, particularly for preschool to grade five. A couple books that I’ve appreciated and which helped clarify some of her ideas (and inspire me) are “Charlotte Mason Companion,” and “Pocketful of Pinecones,” both written by Karen Andreola. I thought you may be interested in reading them.

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