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Translating Natural Learning into Edu-speak!

A demonstration of how simply by interacting with our kids, being interested, talking and doing things with them in a natural way, ticks many curriculum boxes!

© Dana Hennessy, Aug 2021
first published in The Educating Parents Homeschooling and Unschooling, reprinted with permission

I'm posting this as I'm guessing there are numbers of families considering homeschooling who are concerned about covering the curricula and who are also interested in a more 'natural learning' style of homeschooling. They might be concerned that those two objective are mutually exclusive. I wanted to share what my daughter (5) and I did in just 1 week !!! of homeschooling. (I even astonished myself when I collated all of our activities).

I've made a list and ordered it loosely according to subject area. All activities I've listed are to be found on the NSW syllabus (and many others I'm sure). It's roughly worded so please forgive that.

The method I use is to begin the day with a few things on the table to initiate my daughter's interest. For example I might have a map of the world and we take it from there. From that point we follow a meandering path of her interests (massaged to curriculum outcomes by me behind the scenes). We go here, there and everywhere and I basically run to keep up with all the learning opportunities we are making. I also suggest some work in certain areas, for example, we do air writing to improve symbol imagery - I do not force my daughter to do anything though. She is fully able to opt out of any activity. If she does that, I feel assured anyway that she is meeting outcomes just by doing her own thing like drawing or dancing or roller blading or copying words, or listening to an audio book etc etc etc.

The list is a bit hard to decipher in places but you will get the idea of the breadth of things we cover.

I also do want to strongly point out that I work exceptionally hard behind the scenes to enable this to happen and I also have the privilege of many resources and I have time to work full time homeschooling. Not everyone has those luxuries, but I'm wanting to reassure those new to homeschooling or concerned that 'academic' goals might not be met when you follow an interest-based learning philosophy.

I hope it's helpful.


* Verbs: Choosing verbs from a list of words.

* Learning about the verb 'to be' (am etc)

* Proper nouns

* What are eulogies, elegies and hymns.

* Plurals: adding an 's' to the end of words; 'ed' ending for past tense

* Symbol to sound and air writing practice: REC: slop; slip; slipe; pom; pome; crib; creb; pram; prams; spook EXP: bot; blot; soon; spoon; begs, bags; pets; pigs; men; man/ SWB: Red and yellow categories x 3

* Reading: EXP: The Cat in the Hat Comes Back pp 3,4; Reading REC: The Cat in the Hat Comes Back.

* Independently suggested from whose perspective the text was

* Writing: Letter formation revision: Ll; Tt;

* IXL Vowels and consonants revision

* Workbook Year1: Reading and Comprehension pg 10

* Touch typing: 1470 Score; 15WPM

* Writing: 5 Sentences from memory: show card and take away - Sam ran to Mat; A bird can fly; Mat has a can; Sam can hop; Hop on top

* Reading: Norse Myths and Legends.

* Myths v Legends definition.

* Reading EXP: Sentences: Sam ran to Mat; A bird can fly; Mat has a can; Sam can hop; Hop on top

* Air writing practise: SELPHABET: LEVEL 1: (VC/CVC) REC: am, at, mat, Sam, sat, Tam, tat; EXP: an, man, map, Nan, nap, Pam, pan, pat, sap, tan, tap

* Symbol to sound practice

* Sight words: SWB: all red and yellow categories and: but, with, they, for, her, had, that, of - AW all

* Texts - informative, persuasive, imaginative

* How to write a children's book and have it published

* BOOK PROGRESSION: IDEA = a story that invites readers to predict what will happen, and think about the consequences. ?*Philosophical dilemmas. But not too sad. Kids are immune. Deadly fungus that is transmitted from person to person by touch.

* Text concepts: ideas; perspective, characterisation, repetition, theme, chapters, illustrations, voice, text type, editing

* SS: Groups 1, 2, 3 added ending 'ment' AW: CV/CVC: Selfabet Group 3: Work Magic 'e' REC: bag bam ban bap bat cab cad cam/e can/e cap/e cat gab gad gag EXP: gap gas had hag ham hat/e mag nab nag sag tab tag SWB: red + yellow categories; AW unstable

* Open v closed syllables - table/ tabble etc

* Writing: Card writing to dad; texting message to dad

* Reading: Poetry: Shel Silverstein: A Light in the Attic

* Reading: My Cousin the King

* Reading: All Pigs are Beautiful

* Audiobook: Rumplestilstkin ?*Reading: Subtitles from movie

* Reading: A Light in the Attic: 30 Poems

* Autobiography: What is an autobiography? Reading: Autobiography - Matthew Mitchum

* Reading EXP: Frog and Toad, whole chapter: The Letter

* Reading: Monopoly instructions

* Audiobook: David Walliams: Slime

* Audiobooks: 13 Storey Treehouse; 26 Storey Treehouse

* Reading: A Light in the Attic: 25 poems

* Audiobooks: David Walliams: Slime


* Fractions: 8ths, 5ths. Why does 5/5 = 1, eg

* Shapes: Pyramid

* Typing numerals: 1- 27

* TIME: 3 attempts at precise hour and minutetime: not quite stable, but almost

* Pounds v Dollars

* Measurement: Cups (rice, water)

* Coding Awbie

* Money: Recognise dollar and cent signs; how many cents in every dollar;

* Numeral recognition cards with cents/dollars; 1-100: 26 cards

* Jumping up in 5's; add and count in 10's

* Differences between US and AUD money - can you have 79c in AUD eg.

* Counting in 2's REC

* Concept of randomness: picking cards out of a pack

* Time: Analogue and Digital time challenge. Not yet stable

* Ordinal number: 9th, 10th, 11th

* Day, date, time, temperature, month, season

* Budgeting for purchases at Vinnies.

* Avo: App: strategy and reasoning game

* Add/Subtract: Place Value; Counting in 10's, 5's; counting facts to 12; numeral recognition to 500; doubles + and -; subitise (dice).

* Money: recognise $ symbol; count money to 500 add and subtract; change;

* Workbook: Year 1: Word problem; Addition pg 13

*I XL: Place Value: Year 1: B.1; B.2

* AW numbers to 200

* YT: Place Value explained

* Maths facts + and - to 10; doubles to 12

* read and use the ordinal names; *identify the number before and after a given two-digit number?*count forwards and backwards by ones from a given two-digit number

* Numeral Imagery: Numbers to 20

* NL: counting in ones from 27-40; down NL from 40-20;

* Jump up down NL: 2's from 1 and 2; 5's; 10's on and off decade

* Time: hour/minute hand: how many minutes in an hour; looking at 5 min intervals on a clock face

* Maths facts + and - to 10; doubles to 12


* ANATOMICA: The bowel - small and large intestines; diarrhoea; constipation.

* ANATOMICA: Breast Cancer - causes and images

* Gathering a nature collection:

* Considering what is the worst disease in history - adding this to research list

* Experiment - how craters are formed (using flour and cocoa).

* OUTSCHOOL: Science - The Moon.

* Documentary: Catastrophe: Birth of a Planet


* YouTube: The Human Ear and its Parts

* YouTube: How the Ear Works

* Recalling parts of the ear - Outer ear, middle ear, inner ear

* Research: What are arthropods?

* Research: What are spores

* Game: Brain Quest

* Research: Children in Victorian England

* The signing of the Magna Carta

* OUTSCHOOL: Children Throughout History - The Victorian Era

* US money system as opposed to Australian money system

* Significant Events and People: Chatting with Nana and Poppo with relevant questions*?*Daily life in a West African Village based on Kirikou et les Hommes et les Femmes

* Immunisations: YT: A History of Immunisations


* Looking at our house on an interactive map - finding local points of interest

* United States: is it a country, planet or continent. North and South America.

* Which is largest? A Street, avenue or highway

* Where is the Louvre museum located: Paris, France

* West Africa: Setting for the movie Kirikou et les Hommes et les Femmes

* Why concept of North and South are arbitrary when a ball in space. How North and South and the top and bottoms of maps are a matter of convention

* How countries etc are represented on maps: Inherent bias racism etc


* Boxing - self paced

* Swimming class

* Bike riding in the park

* Skateboarding self paced

* Acrobatics class

* Cycling/ skateboarding/ Rollerblading at the skatepark

* Shopping. Selecting, budgeting and doing transactions

* Freeplay in the park


* French - watching short animated sequences in French with English subtitles

* French Movie Night - Kirikou et les Hommes et les Femmes

* French: Pronunciation of crocodile in French using Google Translate

* Phrase practice: Bonjour, salut, ça va, bonsoir, bonne nuit, out


* Ballet - self paced

* Dancing: Free dancing

* OUTSCHOOL: Singing - I'm Walking on Sunshine

* Ukelele practice - I'm Walking on Sunshine

* Free practice different dance moves experiment

* CLASS: Musical Theatre

* Drawing

* Singing: accompaniment to Ukulele (songs learned in Outschool music class)

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Beverley Paine with her children, and their home educated children, relaxing at home.

Together with the support of my family, my aim is to help parents educate their children in stress-free, nurturing environments. In addition to building and maintaing this website, I continue to create and manage local and national home educating networks, help to organise conferences and camps, as well as write for, edit and produce newsletters, resource directories and magazines. I am an active supporter of national, state, regional and local home education groups.

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We began educating our children in 1985, when our eldest was five. In truth, we had helped them learn what they need to learn since they were born. I am a passionate advocate of allowing children to learn unhindered by unnecessary stress and competition, meeting developmental needs in ways that suit their individual learning styles and preferences. Ours was a homeschooling, unschooling and natural learning family! There are hundreds of articles on this site to help you build confidence as a home educating family. We hope that your home educating adventure is as satisfying as ours was! Beverley Paine


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