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Gosh......I have to remind myself where I hang out and get some minds out of the gutter! :tongue_smilie: I posted on a thread about tea time and got some PMs......YES, I mean actual tea parties!! :lol: (but I will get to that later) I have had several people ask me to explain what interest driven education looks like in our house and after KIN's burn-out post, I thought I'd attempt to describe it. I am a minimalist in the younger yrs. Academics is limited to math, phonics/reading, handwriting......I add in beginning grammar/mechanics via copywork for 1st and 2nd grade. Bedtime stories are typically classics like wizard of Oz, The Secret Garden, etc. alternated with historical fiction or biographies (my kids love the lives of the saints, etc) Nature study occurs but it is a free-flowing type of thing not associated with school or a schedule or specific time, etc. It is simply something we do b/c we enjoy hiking, etc Once they are in 3rd grade, I talk to them about what they want to study/read via guided discussion and limited selection. For example, this yr my 5th grader really didn't get to choose her history topic b/c last yr we did early American history through pre-Civil War, so this yr was already expected to be the rest of American history. However, the reason we got so far behind last yr was b/c of bunny trails and areas she wanted to explore more. We spent weeks learning about Roger's Rangers and the life of settlers near the Canadian border. We spent time reading about the New Orleans and Napoleon and the Louisiana Purchase from perspectives that I had never read before. We read about the animosity amongst the Founding Fathers of our country, the shenanigans of Aaron Burr, the life of John Adams overseas from Abigal's perspective, etc. We sort of went wherever an interesting topic lead her to want to pursue. It was one of the best early American history studies I have ever done and I learned tons that I had no idea about. Science is more in their hands. They can pick whatever topic they want. Then either off our shelves or on the library's website, we will investigate what titles we/they have on that topic. Then depending on the age, I will select the final title for them to read or let them. History in elementary school is a combination of my reading aloud to them for about 20-30 mins and their reading silently about the same from a different book. Science is 30-45 mins of reading. I don't use writing curricula when they are young and even when they are older, I never use canned writing assignments. Writing always follows the same pattern every yr. They write one paper per week on a topic selected by me from typically science or history when they are young and also from lit when they are older. Monday is topic and gather supporting info (or details when they are younger), Tues is organizing and outlining or first 1/2 of rough draft (depends on how much they actually accomplish on Mon), Wed is either 1st or 2nd 1/2 of rough draft, Thursday is finishing whatever they need to and meeting me for revising and improving, and Fri is final draft due. By making school interest driven, we all enjoy what we are doing. Not using a separate writing program's assignments means writing is doing double duty. We don't spend huge amts of time doing experiments, etc for science. They spend more time reading whole books on the topics instead. (and sometimes they do go overboard on a topic. One child had a fascination with bees and read every book our library, I think around 15, that were on his reading level. My 5th grader this reader spent months reading and drawing/classifying birds, etc) Academics is really limited to the basic subjects.......no artist studies, no composer studies, no Latin, etc. Not until they are much older. Fun.......something that I have to make sure I make myself schedule in our days now that I have so many older kids and outside activities. We love having tea time. It can be as simple or as complicated as we make it. Sometimes we just buy refridgerator sugar dough and roll it out and cut it into different shapes and decorate them with icing, shoe string licorice, and m&ms. Other times we might make little sandwiches or have fruit. But mostly it is a time to sit and talk and relax in a fun time during the school day. (This is not a daily activity. ;)) We also love family games. I have posted before that the value of strategy games is highly undervalued. I think they help form better critical thinking skills than any curricula. But most of all.......I think the most important decision anyone can make is decide what is really critical to their view of education. It simply can't be everything. I mean what goes to the core of your educational philosophy. Start there and work forward. Anything that isn't vital drop until you have the day you want that even has time to spare and gradually add in the bonus topics you want but aren't essential. Hope those ramblings help someone. :001_smile: