I’ve wanted to put out pagan homeschooling cirriculum for a long time now, but haven’t gotten around to undertaking such a thing because of all of the other research and work that I wanted to get out. However, I figured now was the optimal time to start putting out this content because the Coronavirus has left many families unexpectedly homeschooling their children and unsure where to turn. I remember when I started homeschooling, it was difficult enough putting together quality cirriculum, much less finding cirriculum that’s pagan oriented. I am still really working on putting together exclusively pagan cirriculum, but I am hoping to help point people in the right direction.
First, I encourage you to take a look at your local homeschooling laws and requirements so that you know what’s expected of you, and work in these suggestions as they fit. Luckily, I live in a state where the requirements are very flexible and all that is required is 875 hours of sequentially progressive cirriculum in the core subjects (and documentation of those) so I have a lot of freedom here. Here are some great ideas to get you started though, no matter what the local laws are near you.
Choose Your Cirriculum
There is an overwhelming amount of general cirriculum out there for homeschoolers! Which one you choose depends very much on your goals for the child’s education, your own philosophy on education, how your children learn best and what how involved you would like to be in the learning process, your budget, state laws and many other factors. I suggest that you write out some goals based on what you want your child to get out of education.
The beauty of homeschooling is that these don’t necessarily need to be in line with that of public school. I remember when I first started homeschooling my daughter, I didn’t realize how much I didn’t know her from spending so much time at public school. I realized that a lot of the friction and frustration that initially came from homeschooling was that public schools have a different value system and culture than what exists at home: many times these are at odds. Is it important to you that your child grows up to be well read and cultured? A modified Charlotte Mason method might be a good idea. Posessess life skills and can survive on their own? In an urban setting? Survive alone in the woods? Incorporate home economics or copious amounts of nature time. Do you feel that they will need other languages in the future, do you want them to travel the world? Consider foreign languages. (Early childhood is the best time to start children learning other languages.) What do you see them doing as a job in the future, how can you best prepare them for that? Do you want them to get an office job or grow up to be an average person? Maybe you don’t really need to modify school cirriculum too much. Do you hope that they pursue their dreams and passions and are able to make a living from those without working in a soul-sucking corporate job? You can work on copious amounts of arts and crafts, learn a music instrument, teach the mechanics of writing and encourage lots of free writing and poetry, etc. and later teach them how to market themselves in those respective fields. Do you want your child to determine their own direction in life, and want them to direct their own education based on their interests, using life experience as an opportunity to learn? Unschooling might be a good fit for you.
Create a Calendar
After you choose your cirriculum/style of homeschooling, you can then go about creating a calendar of days you plan on doing school. Homeschooling takes exponentially less time than public schooling, because it’s one-on-one. 875 hours (state law) = 72 hours/month = 18 hours/week = 5 days per week = only 3.6 hours per day, as opposed to nearly 40 hours per week in public school. Keep in mind that this isn’t accounting for three months of summer vacation. … I personally don’t think that’s a great idea for helping children retain information anyway, so if you want to take a week long break per month? Go for it. If your family has a vacation scheduled? Make the hours up on a weekend, incorporate the learning into the vacation, or just add an hour per day during the next week or so until you’re caught up.
Create a plan for your day.
How your day is structured is going to drastically differ based on what cirriculum you use. It also depends on your time schedule. Homeschooling is incredibly flexible: so you can incorporate before-bed reading into education, you can homeschool on weekends, you can homeschool at night after you get YOUR work done. For unschooling you might not need a lot of scheduled time per se and can leave things pretty open and child directed, but if you’re intent on hitting certain academic goals you need to divide that plan up into baby-steps.
I personally am in the process of paganizing the Charlotte Mason method, (heretical, I know :P) which is pretty rigorous academically and requires more structure. (This is something I’ve had to adjust to, because I’m not very structured myself.) So, I’m going to lay out how our day kind of looks and you can feel free to adjust this however it suits your family. (And of course will allow you to achieve those academic milestones, however you broke them down!) Charlotte Mason believed in having classes shorter periods of time with plenty of time for physical activity and nature study to accommodate children’s attention spans. … With electronics decreasing the average attention span, you’re now lucky if you can get children to sit in place for 10 minutes. Younger children might be able to sit for only 20 minutes at a time, and gradually increase the time by 5 minutes as they get older. An hour of class at a time probably won’t leave them fresh for learning and their brain will start to wander quickly.
Schedule & Cirriculum Resources
Morning: Core Subjects
- Breif Meditation or Divination. (10 minutes) I like to start off the day with either a short meditation or a divination method of choice.
Insight Timer is a free app for meditation, and you probably have tarot cards or runes for this. If not, making a set of runes is a great craft time activity.
- Copywork. (5 minutes) This is basically cursive/penmanship. Children copy a quote or passage related to what they’re reading, which helps with information retention. You can use spells for these, metaphysical quotes and ideas, alchemical principles, etc.
Dig these off of the internet anywhere. I just started letting my daughter choose quotes that inspire her to practice handwriting.
- Poetry. (1 minute)We read one poem per day. This takes only a minute or two and can help expose them to many famous poets and get an idea of poetry structure and cadence. I like to work in grade appropriate pagan poems if possible. We’re not exactly at the Oddyssey/Illiad reading level though. XD
There are loads of free poetry books on Kindle. The only thing I pay for in the way of cirriculum is Scribd, which is $9.99/mo and gives you unlimited access to books, audiobooks and documents.
- Typing Practice. (5-10 minutes) We use a free website called NitroType which, is a typing game. There’s also a free kids typing website TypingClub.com for more formal lessons.
- Foreign Language. (5-10 minutes) Latin, although it is a dead language is really great for children learning to read, because it makes up so much of the English language. When they see an unfamiliar word, they’re able to better guess the meaning by looking at how it is spelled. (My daughter enjoys this so much she also started learning Swedish and Greek…) Latin and French are great options for understanding old grimoires, Greek if your magickal tradition requires it. If you have a specific magickal tradition that uses folk language or concepts, this is a good time to learn them. We alternate between Latin and German.
There’s an awesome free app called DuoLingo, which is a free way to learn almost any language, including Latin.
- Math. (20 minutes) After our brains are warmed up for the day, we start off math because it expends most of our mental energy XD. Numerology and the significance of numbers are great things to work into math here. Numerology is pretty simple math anyway.
KhanAcademy.com is a free resource that gives math lessons for kids. It’s pretty thorough and contains video lessons that parents can watch too if the child is stuck. We practice math facts or do math worksheets if this gets too boring.
- Gym: (20 minutes) After math I usually have a headache, so this is where we squeeze in gym class. I usually use a free app called FitOn, which has tons of home workouts on it for free. My daughter really likes Pilates (LOL) but we also go to play outside if the weather is nice.
- Literature: (20 minutes) I use AmblesideOnline.org for book suggestions and timing. Sometimes these are a little too Christian-y but it’s easy to substitute those books for others. The CM method is reading intensive and the cirriculum there is far, far ahead of public schools so you need to start at a year or two lower than the grade your child is in. We alternate between a couple books so it doesn’t get boring. I try to integrate Grimm’s Fairy Tales, folk literature and as much mythology and folklore as possible. If I find ones that are challenging for my daughter I will use those instead.
- History (20 minutes) – We do history 3x per week and alternate between a couple different history books throughout. One is world history, the other is British history and also American history. We rely on AmblesideOnline.org for these again, but if they’re too Christian-y we replace them with another book. Usually old mythology books. I’m still working on finding some pagan friendly or secular history books for kids. I guess if nothing else, use the religious slant to point out bias and teach kids how to think critically.
- Science & Natural History: (20 minutes) 2-3x/week. We rely on AmblesideOnline.org again for cirriculum ideas. These usually consist of Nature Study, which focuses on children learning about the natural world around them and the things they know, rather than things they can’t see or fathom yet. As a pagan I really appreciate the emphasis on the study of nature: it really is the best teacher. This is when we also do Geography. Cosmology, Astronomy, Vedic Sciences etc. are all good to work in here too. Herbalism classes, understanding crystals and the significance of animals etc.are also good to teach here.
That seems like a ton of stuff doesn’t it? But really, it only takes about 2.5 hours to complete, so we are done before lunch time! If you have your child’s attention and they’re mostly compliant, this goes pretty smoothly. This is when we break for lunch, after which the second half of our day starts.
After lunch is when we do “informal learning”. This is mostly self-directed and when I usually work on my own work for the day. (I obviously work from home. lol) During informal learning is when my daughter focuses on:
- Art or music extracirricular activities. If we couldn’t squeeze it in before lunch, this is when we listen to our composer of the term (Ambleside’s composers and artists kind of suck so I have to pick other ones.)
- Playing outside, preferably! There’s a huge correlation between school performance and outside “nature” time. This also gives us something to think about for nature study.
- Hiking or field trips.
- Spiritual/Religous Subjects: I work in Herbalism classes
- Pagan Arts, Crafts or DIY
- Drawing in her sketchbook, ideally something from nature but lately we’ve been looking up drawing prompts.
- independent reading or study on a topic of her choice. (I usually have to approve this so I don’t realize she spend an hour looking up… kawaii potato pictures. wtf?)
- Home economics: I try and squeeze life skills into this time.
- Instrument practice. We had like two keyboards at home, so we pull music off of the internet and she learns to play songs on her own. I don’t always approve this. … Maybe I should though. My daughter thought it was funny to learn Minecraft songs so now, not only do i have to hear Minecraft while she’s playing, I feel like we have Minecraft music as some weird backdrop to our life. XD
- Timeline. I forgot about this, this is important. XD We have a binder of a chronological timeline going back from dinosaur times all the way up to the present, as well as world maps. This is called our book of centuries. As we’re reading our history books or reading about a certain place, we add the event to the timeline and pinpoint where that place is in relation to the U.S. This helps them build an understanding of geography and understand which events happened in relation to other ones.
- Vocabulary. This too. We highlight or write down any words we don’t know as we’re reading and my daughter looks them up during informal learning. Since she started learning Latin, she’s been able to figure out the vast majority of these on her own.
Aaaaand that is basically how our homeschool day goes! I know I didn’t cover a lot of pagan specific resources or main this post: I was trying to outline the basics of getting started with homeschooling. Of course you can modify this to fit your family’s needs, goals and values but this is at least a starting point if you’re completely lost as to where to begin homeschooling or how to work it into your schedule.
Pagan Homeschooling Resources
- Little Pagan Acorns: Free/Cheap pagan oriented printables. These are more Wicca-oriented but can still be helpful, if only to get an idea of what kind of Religion