PDA

View Full Version : Bare Bones



Busygoddess
04-03-2011, 12:36 PM
Some of the conversations of late have me thinking about the differences between homeschools. So, I was wondering, what do you consider 'bare bones' - the absolute minimum that you expect done for your schooling?

This is just out of curiosity, I don't want to cause any insecurity or competition. I honestly am simply fascinated at the differences between us all. I love the diversity here and enjoy learning about the different things we find important & our different ways of doing things. It's part of my interest in Psychology.

So, who will be willing to share? What do you consider absolutely necessary for school and what are you willing to let slide? Also, if you share what you consider bare bones, will you also share why?

Gem
04-03-2011, 02:31 PM
Theoretically: Self-directed play, indoors and out. Learning to read. Being read to. Consistent training in mathematics.

That is bare bones to me. I don't think I could pare it down any more. Everything else could be accomplished by them on their own schedule/according to their own interests, if those things were facilitated by myself as the teaching parent.

Now we do more than that, of course LOL. But if we had to go without our normal routine for a couple of weeks - or months, or a year(s)? for whatever reason, I would not feel regret if these things were maintained.

Now, in practice, on a bare-bones school day in our household, we do a family read aloud, each kid work in their Queen's Language Lessons books, each kid does at least some math practice (could be playing an online practice game) and 7yo does a reading lesson. I don't do this unless we have had too many days off recently - if we have been working hard I am more likely to take a day off completely than to do a minimal day.

Aandwsmom
04-03-2011, 02:40 PM
We are accidental homeschoolers, though I wanted to homeschool since my oldest son started Kindergarten in PS.
We pulled him from 6th grade, 5 weeks in and it was scramble to find what to use, etc. as we had no plans!
We started with Time 4 Learning for our 1st year and did nothing but that for our school that year.
Over the past 2 years we have added much more to our days but even on cruddy days here, sick kids, etc. the absolute minimum is to do your T4L work.
So basically Math, L. arts, Science and/Social Studies. Math and L. Arts are an every day thing so that is a guarantee every day no matter what.
Free reading time is a 24/7, 365 thing here as well. Weekends, Summer break, holidays, etc. they still do 30 min. minimum of free reading.

There are times I hear what others are doing, whether on this board or in person and I feel like we are so inadequate in our homeschooling. Then I remember that many of those exuberant homeschoolers do not work and have the time to do all that stuff whenever they feel like it. I get to be a SAHM because I run a daycare out of my home and while that is great, it does limit what we do and when we do it. We are also a 1 car family, so DH has the car for work which limits us getting out.

My wish:
To be able to homeschool my kids like some of our friends do. To be able to take my boys wherever, whenever their homeschooling needs require.

But, I am satisified with the homeschooling we do right now because I know that it is a lot better than the garbage we would have to be dealing with if they went to public school.

dbmamaz
04-03-2011, 03:14 PM
I guess bare bones is writing and math for Orion, reading and math for Raven. Thats pretty bare. Oh, and some screen-free time.

In practice, we are on a pretty good schedule, but it still feels light to me: Orion has a full LA program (which we are unlikely to finish in a year, sigh), a math program (also might not finish in a year), reading assignments for most of science and history and fiction reading as well, plus occasional french (self-paced computer learning) and some Khan Academy, and martail arts.

Raven reads with me, does T4L (totally self direted there) and some Khan Academy, some handwriting, a little history reading, and we recently added some Lab of Mr Q. and martail arts.

It still often feels like its not enough - no latin, no critical thinking, no drama, no art (tho i did art last year), very few field trips, no reports or tests or . . . sigh. idk.

jess
04-03-2011, 03:25 PM
For second grade: 2 pages of math (one facts practice, one of whatever we're working on), a handwriting/copywork sheet, and some sort of reading practice. Me reading aloud to them also happens daily at bedtime at least. I suppose that counts.

I think I need to make a brief review of whatever we're learning in Latin and memorizing at the moment part of "bare basics" as well.

Why are these the bare basics? Because it's the stuff I consider most academically necessary that progresses best if practiced consistently, and which isn't likely to be self-initiated (one or the other of the kids is likely to ask for something science or history-related at some point during the week).

AddlepatedMonkeyMama
04-03-2011, 03:52 PM
For second grade: 2 pages of math (one facts practice, one of whatever we're working on), a handwriting/copywork sheet, and some sort of reading practice. Me reading aloud to them also happens daily at bedtime at least. I suppose that counts.

About the same here--the "three R's", basically--on days when we have to be out of the house most of the day. I feel like if we do those things, my conscience is satisfied!

dottieanna29
04-03-2011, 04:35 PM
Since ds is working at least a year ahead and Vicki isn't even 4 yet, my bare bones would be reading everyday, playing games to keep at least the current level of skills and trying to play outside as much as possible or at least, limit screen time as much as possible.

We are about to start building a house about 10 feet outside the back door of our current house, while we live here. I'm sure we are going to be down to pretty bare bones while that is going on, if for no other reason then we will be trying to be away from home frequently.

StartingOver
04-03-2011, 05:16 PM
Bare bones is reading, wRiting, and arRthmetic. Everything else is gravy, but I love gravy. ;-)

Hampchick
04-03-2011, 05:30 PM
Yep, I guess I agree with Jana. But, a lot of our reading and all of our writing is integrated into history and science. So it would be very difficult for me to separate it out to make it bare bones and still interesting for us. Generally if I'm going to have a really light day I'd stick mostly to reading and games on the computer or iPhone, which the kids do on the weekends anyway, or just take the day off.

hockeymom
04-03-2011, 05:52 PM
Bare boned days around our house happen generally if DS just isn't going to be engaged that day, like if he's tired or his brain just needs a break. I figure there's not much reason to push something he's not going to get anything out of anyway, so things like history or science (gasp!) get tossed aside on those days. Like other people have said, on that kind of day we'll still do a little math (games, if worksheets won't do it for it him) and some spelling or grammar (they are quick lessons) and he's always encouraged to read. On tired days, he'll likely be found upside down on the couch reading for hours, which to me is as good as anything else. He'll also watch National Geographic or Discovery shows, which he usually only wants to do on that kind of day anyway. He comes away from those with a treasure trove of facts so it's hardly down time for his brain, but he loves them. I often find that exercise wakes him up more than anything, so we try to get the bikes out or head down to the rink, or whatever the weather allows for us. Games are usually pulled out too, like UpWords or Rat a Tat Cat (thanks to Farrar for that suggestion--big hit!) or Scrabble.

Stella M
04-03-2011, 06:32 PM
I know bare bones well; thankfully, I haven't been really sick for a while but it goes in phases and I know well what it looks like.

Bare bones to me is some maths, some reading, some being read to - by me if I'm not too breathless, by an audio CD if I am - some time outdoors or at least in the sunniest and airiest room, decent food.

farrarwilliams
04-03-2011, 08:26 PM
What Melissa said.

I think there's two ways to think of it though. On the daily basis, reading and some math. In the long term... That they be life long learners, confident about themselves.

Miguels mommy
04-04-2011, 12:01 AM
one math lesson (8-10 questions), 1 easy grams page, and playing w/ friends when they knock. That's it that's all I expect anything else is only attempted if he's having a great day. On a good day he does his science at 1x a week and listens to bed time social studies chapter. If he's feeling particularly creative he may write a story or something. He's always reading so I don't include that. He feel's he didn't read enough books this year :)

Firefly_Mom
04-04-2011, 04:40 AM
Um, does getting dressed count?? LOL

We've had plenty of bare bones learning this year. I won't go into the details, but since January we've dealt with several illnesses, an injury requiring surgery and several deaths in the family. Needless to say, we haven't done a whole lot of "studying" this year! Our bare bones typically consists of reading (lots and lots of reading) and outside activities. During all of the above craziness, ds still managed to rehearse and perform in a community theatre production of Twelfth Night, a weekly PeaceJam (http://www.peacejam.org/about.aspx) class (for which there is various research and presentation work that needs to be done every week), weekly volunteering as a physical therapy aid, a monthly homeschool book group, etc. He also typically looks up This Day in History on the History Channel website, APOD (http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/), plays history games on his computer, and he's in charge of taking care of "the girls" - aka our chickens. :)

Pefa
04-04-2011, 06:05 AM
Interesting question, I initially read it as a philosophical not practical but of course the two are intertwined. Philosophically if my kids can think about what they're reading, write a coherent sentence, do math through calculus, and run a household they can go in any direction they want. Or at least that's what I hope. We've been doing a minimum for longer than I like (depression makes too little time even less productive) ie math for both boys, sporadic spelling for BOO. I hope it will all work out.

Vashti
04-04-2011, 08:49 AM
We are definitely doing the bare bones right now. I have three daughters, 4,3 and 1 year on Thursday. Obviously, we don't even really need to do formal schooling because they are so young. However, they are HUNGRY for learning and really enjoy anything I throw at them. I'm writing a novel right now, so I don't have as much time as I'd like to devote to homeschool. I had started doing letter of the week activities, Kumon books and other preschool workbooks, some of the materials here: http://www.classicalcurriculum.com/ModelCurriculum.htm and things like art, cooking, Muzzy language, etc. Once the novel hit my brain though, hubby is really encouraging me to get it out so I'm taking a break while I can. Our bare bones right now consist of my reading to the girls daily, and taking them to play groups a couple times a week and outside to play whenever the weather is nice. They also still enjoy watching Muzzy from time to time, and play with a lot of manipulatives like bead stringing, blocks, lacing cards, etc. and help with gardening.

Once I begin formal school again, and throughout homeschooling, I think that the three Rs are definitely essential. I'm one of those moms who doesn't quite understand the whole unschooling thing (although I think that self-directed learning is amazing and valuable), and really feel that I need to take an active role in making sure that the kids are getting a well-rounded education. I'd like them to have more of a highbrow education, but I may be planning more than I can handle and change my mind as time goes on. I feel that at a minimum before Highschool graduation, they should have mathematics through calculus, have mastered at least one foreign language with at least some Latin study as well, be able to communicate eloquently and articulately via speech and text, and read any material they come across with full understanding. I'd also like them to have familiarity with art and music, but if I were unable to provide those things they are the least important to me.

Wilma
04-04-2011, 09:04 AM
Math. My kids read all sorts of stuff on their own, write all the time, but don't do math for fun!

MrsJones98
04-04-2011, 09:04 AM
I love this one! It's also something I often wonder :)

It looks like we're pretty much the same - math of some sort (sometimes our workbook, sometimes online), handwriting (b/c that's more our issue than reading) and journal. For journal, we generally have a writing prompt, picked by the kid but sometimes tweaked by me, unless they have something they want to write about. My kids read like fiends, so they'll read unless I tape their eyes shut. Usually it's "am I done with seat work? Great! Now I can go read!" I don't seem to count reading as a basic b/c it's such a part of our daily lives.

Lately, we've been doing a lot of "basic seatwork" as we call it. It's springtime! Soon it'll be hotter than blazes here, and we'll be hiding inside our air conditioned house - so we are outside a lot with this weather. I LOVE not feeling the pressure to "school" when it's perfect play outside weather. I know it'll be more than basics in another month or two :)

As to the extras...I could go on, but I will say it seems to vary with the way the wind is blowing!

-Heather

Cerri
04-04-2011, 10:26 AM
As someone who has taught History at University level and is married to a Scientist and has a Mathematician as a brother... sigh... I want my children to (1)have a curiosity about the world around them and know how to go looking for answers (2)not be scared to try something they haven't done before (3)be able to read a text interactively/critically (4)be able to write clear, concise English (I saw far too many papers that were not just poorly written but BADLY written -- some from PS kids and at least one from a kid who had an 'International Baccalaureate') (5)take care of themselves without me there.

schwartzkari
04-04-2011, 11:02 AM
Some of the conversations of late have me thinking about the differences between homeschools. So, I was wondering, what do you consider 'bare bones' - the absolute minimum that you expect done for your schooling?

This is just out of curiosity, I don't want to cause any insecurity or competition. I honestly am simply fascinated at the differences between us all. I love the diversity here and enjoy learning about the different things we find important & our different ways of doing things. It's part of my interest in Psychology.

So, who will be willing to share? What do you consider absolutely necessary for school and what are you willing to let slide? Also, if you share what you consider bare bones, will you also share why?

For my family, bare bones is reading, writing and math. I feel like if you can do those 3 things well, you can pretty much take off and study whatever interests you. We decided to give unschooling a try last December until this past February and that was too bare bones for me, plus my daughter kept complaining that she was bored. We've been back on our regular schedule since March and a typical day for us is reading, writing, language and math. We do Science and History each once a week because my daughter just isn't interested in that stuff yet and my son is too young to understand it.

albeto
04-04-2011, 11:38 AM
I want my children to (1)have a curiosity about the world around them and know how to go looking for answers (2)not be scared to try something they haven't done before (3)be able to read a text interactively/critically (4)be able to write clear, concise English (I saw far too many papers that were not just poorly written but BADLY written -- some from PS kids and at least one from a kid who had an 'International Baccalaureate') (5)take care of themselves without me there.

This is my "Bare Bones" too.

Martha
04-04-2011, 12:22 PM
4 Rs are minimum mandatory here:
Reading
Writing
Math
Religion

Especially in the younger years, any history and science can be incorporated in the reading and writing. Everything else can take a backseat. Or even be left out entirely.

Dutchbabiesx2
04-04-2011, 12:30 PM
Reading (english)
math- number manipulation
science and curiosity
Dutch language (we are a bilingual household and travel often to NL)
Piano, for learning the piano allows for the love of music in any form
exercise - bike riding, hiking, playing outside
self discovery time

Hampchick
04-04-2011, 12:53 PM
Philosophically speaking, my long term goals for my kids are:

1. love of learning, desire to always learn more about the things we don't yet understand
2. the ability to find the answers to things you don't understand
3. the ability to think critically in order to:
a) make connections
b) separate out bad information from good information.
c) make good decisions throughout life and make corrections when mistakes are made
4. Be capable of creative and flexible thinking (willingness to break with tradition).

I feel like even if my kids forget 90% of what they learn in school (like most of us do) these are the things they need for the best chance at a successful as adults.

fbfamily111
04-04-2011, 05:11 PM
Math and writing, I feel must be learned daily. Both IMO, are not skills easily picked up in daily life. We have long discussions daily on topics in science, history and logic just for fun. We've even discussed some grammar (what IS a gerund anyway?). But Math is a sit down and figure it out then memorize it "every single stinkin' day" (my sons' words). Writing is a skill that needs to be built over time, nurtured and grown through repeted use.

TamaraNC
04-04-2011, 07:16 PM
3Rs and exercise. Everything else is negotiable. :)

Ariadne
04-04-2011, 09:48 PM
Self-directed play, indoors and out. Learning to read. Being read to. Consistent training in mathematics. .This, except I don't have any more who are learning to read.

The only thing I would add is critical thinking in the form of some sort of science, even if it's just discussion of ridiculous things over breakfast like, "What would happen if a bowling ball were rolled down our street, but our street were made of something that caused no friction?" (Asked by my 6yo last week. The discussion that followed was pretty funny.)

I'm big on play, reading, math, and good critical thinking.

On a practical level, my bare bones do a rotation. Right now our basic day includes math, spelling, piano practice, and Spectrum LA.

Busygoddess
04-04-2011, 11:59 PM
Wow, a lot of responses! It seems that the majority consider Language Arts & Math to be the bare minimum. Thank you everyone who has responded. I really enjoy reading them. :)

ondreeuh
04-05-2011, 01:02 AM
We also fall into the "math and LA" camp. At the very least, math, spelling/dictation, and reading are done. Math because I don't want to slow progress or let skills lapse, spelling/dictation because it is his weakest skills and the most critical to push forward with, and reading because it's so valuable (he does not read for pleasure).

We really don't have bare bones days, though. Even when older DD has a day off of her school, we still do a decent amount of schoolwork. Handwriting and grammar are fast & easy to do, and Bill Nye often makes a guest appearance for science. I can queue up a Netflix video for history too if I don't have time to do much. I don't have strict timelines for science & history, though, so I don't worry about getting "behind."

laundrycrisis
04-05-2011, 11:40 AM
DS1 just turned 8. He has struggled with reading and writing and memorization of math facts due to some visual processing and memory issues; he recently completed a year of vision therapy; and he sees a tutor once per week. The ground he has gained in the 3Rs has been very hard won, and very expensive, and so I am not willing to let any of it slide at all. So daily "bare bones" for him often ends up being the entire school day because it requires pretty intense effort from both of us to accomplish:

reading (instructions, or a short reading comprehension worksheet)
writing (in a writing workbook or doing language arts worksheets)
math (several pages from a workbook that sometimes mixes reading and writing in too)
violin practice (it is doing something goooood for his brain)


Several days a week I also like him to work on typing (Type to Learn), online spelling (Click'n Spell), and typing some dictation sentences from Spelling Plus that I enter into the typing program. I consider typing very important for him because he struggles so much with writing and written communication in general, and typing is helping him with that. I really do consider typing part of the "bare bones" but just can't get it done every day.

Weekly, but not daily, I also consider reading some history and science and looking at something on a map to be bare bones.

Cheryl
04-07-2011, 08:26 PM
math and reading.