Posted in social justice, Unitarian Universalist

Homeschooling…not just bookwork

Social Conciousness Childrens Books.jpgOne of the many amazing things we are able to do as a homeschool family is to adapt our curriculum or lesson plans as needed with little notice. This week, we decided to put our regularly scheduled book work on hold and use some picture and resource books of our own and from the library to focus on some other things that have been weighing on our hearts and minds.

We talked about our spiritual values as a Unitarian Universalist family and read through some wonderful books that reflect that. We read about feelings and emotions and good ways to express them. We read stories about caring for the earth; celebrating diversity; & encouraging tolerance and acceptance. We looked at the history of gender roles and how to achieve equity. We talked about basic human rights like food and shelter and adequate affordable healthcare. We read about refugees and endangered species. About different ways families can be defined. About the wonderful things people of all religions, races, and countries of origin have to offer.

When sorting through the books, the kids noticed lots of themes overlapped- so we talked about intersectionality.

Our children have always been encouraged to ask about words they’ve heard and not understood. So this week, we talked about what sustainable means. What misogyny is. What racism and xenophobia are. What rape culture means. How democracy and democratic are two different things.

We looked at idea books for ways they can help make their world a better place.

This is happening gradually throughout the week and will continue. These are not new concepts in our home- we primarily used books we already own. We took breaks to goof off, play silly video games, have a dance party, participate in extra-curricular activities like theater, basketball, gymnastics, & girl scouts, take nature walks, and have fun times together.

What we did not do was talk about political parties or specific politicians. We did not say republicans believe this or democrats believe that. We talked about right or wrong on a human decency level- not who any person votes for. About actions that reflect the character of a person and what having good character can mean. About the roles and responsibilities of elected officials and government offices.

In the end, my amazing children each chose an issue that was important to them and have started to think about specific actions they can do. My husband and I are doing the same. So count us as five more people standing up for what we believe in. We dedicate ourselves to helping community members of all ages be critical thinkers able to comprehend and evaluate information from a variety of sources (age 38); to teaching use of the scientific inquiry process not only directly in the sciences, but also in day to day living (age 41) ; to learning more about endangered species and how to help them both locally and globally (age 12); to increasing our understanding of what life is like for children in other places and how to play with people from other backgrounds (age 9) ; and to trying to be nice & gentle (age 3.5).



Posted in Art, Classes, Curriculum, Garden, Nature, Science, Scouts, social justice, Studio Space, Unitarian Universalist

Hopes & Dream (aka Strategic Plan)

Currently, A Piece of the Puzzle is a single homeschool family living in a small town on a largish lot. We are in the process of making a room of the house into a studio/classroom/project space.

Plans are underway for a move to a rural location within a comfortable drive (30-45 min) of a bigger city. We are looking for 5 or so acres of heavily wooded land to relocate both our home and our programming space (which will get its own outbuilding!)

As we grow, we will offer a variety of programs and classes to different groups like homeschoolers, scouts, church groups, and more. There will be one time events and sessions of programming lasting multiple weeks. Opportunities will include science, art, crafts, nature exploration, badge work for scouts, & literature. A comprehensive list of possibilities, based on the education, experiences, and training of the directors, is being developed.

Longer term, A Piece of the Puzzle will be

-further developing interdisciplinary multi age curriculum on a variety of topics

-creating plans for an educational community food garden

-encouraging entrepreneurial skills by finding or creating opportunities for children and other participants to skills homemade goods, crafts, produce, etc.

-investigating the possibility of establishing a Library of Things

– participating in and providing opportunities & connections for learning about social justice and developing a directory of actionable ideas