I wouldn't consider myself a relaxed homeschooler but there are days where the kids are sick or none of us are feeling like sitting down to do regular paper school. Since Christmas break we have definitely taken a more relaxed approach to homeschool. We are currently between homeschool curriculum and getting ready to switch over to 3rd and 1st grade. In the meantime we are just taking a relaxed approach to keep the kids on track and help them maintain the knowledge that they already have.
Some of the stuff we like to work on daily right now is reading and arithmetic. Sometimes I throw in some writing practice, phonics, or science. We like to play board games and have so many that are arithmetic based, character building, and memory. The boys also have Osmo with coding games, spelling, and arithmetic.
We have started nature journaling as well and the kids enjoy it. We typically go to a local park or even a walk around the neighbourhood. We gather items that they might want to draw in their nature journals, then use our pop up tent to settle in and create. I've actually enjoyed it as well it's turned into a great way to educate about God's creations and as a way to get creative and be artistic. The first few times the boys were struggling with drawing but now that they know their nature journals can be whatever they want them to be they have enjoyed it more. We've learned about the anatomy of plants and some bugs. It's allowed the boys to be more aware of the small details in nature that we quite often don't pay much attention to.
We have dedicated more time to watching documentaries and educational shows. This is the perfect thing for those sick days or just lazy days. We have found several documentaries on Netflix. The boys tend to gravitate towards anything animal or sea creature related. We have watched documentaries about coral reefs, birds, space, and wildlife. Sometimes we will pick shows to watch like Chasing Monsters, Wild Kratts, or The Incredible Dr. Pol. I love that these kind of documentaries and shows give them a bigger understanding of the world around them. It helps them to have compassion for the environment and the creatures living in it.
The other thing we like to do as part of our relaxed homeschool is take field trips. We have memberships to the Atlanta Zoo and the Georgia Aquarium. As I said the boys love anything to do with animals and sea creatures so they love when we go. It never seems to matter the amount of times we go they always learn something new. Jellybean loves to ask the zoo keepers questions. He's picked the brain of the zoo keepers that are by the gorillas and the giant pandas. This past trip to the zoo he learned that 2 of the giant pandas at the zoo are actually twin sisters. I'm fairly certain he won't forget that their birth is September 3rd. When we go to the aquarium he asks the employees all about the different kinds of fish in each tank. They know the name of the resident sea turtle and how old he is. There is so much to be learned on field trips, not even just the knowledge they learn but the social things they learn by being out in public and in large crowds. There are several other museums in Atlanta that we have gone on field trips to as well. While we don't have memberships to them all we do like to visit every once in while.
I know relaxed homeschooling isn't for everyone, and to be honest I don't know that it will be something the we stick to on a regular bases. We will soon be getting our new curriculum books. I tend to pretty particular about finishing up curriculum work on the right days but that doesn't mean we still won't have our lazy days or sick days here and there. I can definitely understand and appreciate relaxed homeschooling and understand how it works for so many families. I suppose we do still take a relaxed approach in a sense, even though I may be a stickler for finishing up paper school or curriculum work daily we definitely don't follow a daily schedule. Most days we just go with the flow and get it done whenever we all feel like sitting down to do it. It helps if with their concentration if we get it done sometime in the morning but that isn't always the case. Bottom line is I guess we are somewhere in the middle and it works for us. While I know my husband would like me to be slightly more organized and on schedule he also appreciates and is aware that it just isn't my nature, and as long as the kids are on track with their education that's what's most important.