THE WHOLE CHILD
The idea of intentionally nurturing the 'Whole Child' as part of their education is one that comes to me from the Montessori world.
Of course as parents and as PEOPLE we know there is much more to life than academic success. The beautiful thing about doing school differently is that you can intentionally incorporate all of the facets of life naturally into your child's day.
Educating the 'Whole Child' encompasses all the aspects of this growing person, including physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development. Encouraging this development will of course look different at different ages. I will work to get specific resources up here! In the meantime, here are some ideas to keep in mind.
Physical development: This includes fine and gross motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and sensorial development. Traditional education is often lacking in addressing the senses besides sight and hearing. Think of using art for textures. Cooking for tastes and smells. Nature for smells and textures. And music and foreign language for hearing different sorts of things.
Social development: The question I get the MOST about homeschooling (from non-homeschoolers anyway!) relates to socialization. The thing is: this idea that MANY kids of the exact same age should spend all day together - as is done in traditional school - is actually really bizarre. And as a former classroom teacher, I can say from first-hand experience I believe it is detrimental to childrens’ development. So the first thing to do is not worry so much that your child won't have the same school experience that most of us survived. Instead, you can provide an environment in which they can THRIVE. Of course kids need friends their own age, but they also benefit enormously from deep relationships with individuals older and younger than they are.
Emotional development: At every age kids are learning how to manage their feelings and interpersonal relationships. An emotionally healthy caregiver is KEY here. Without that healthy, steady reassurance and guidance, kids are left rudderless. I can't overstate how important being aware of your child's emotional state is. Their emotions (and ours) have a function: to make us pay attention to something. Please pay attention to theirs.
Cognitive development: This category is the only one that closely aligns with the 'academics' of traditional schooling. And I listed it last here on purpose. Without taking into account the other areas of development (physical, emotional, social) kids are not going to make good progress in their cognitive development. It is cognitive development that you’ll address by selecting materials for your child related to reading, writing, science, math, history, music, art, and any other subject you choose.