So after telling you all last summer that we were going to bravely jump on the homeschooling train, I thought I better fill you in on how it’s going. Are we actually doing it? Are we ready to tear our hair out? Do we have kids begging to go to real school? Well, bottom line is…I LOVE IT! And I think the kids do too for the most part. I’m so relieved. I’m so thankful everyday to have the opportunity to do this with my family. This was the right choice for us in this season. I’m not ready to say we will always do homeschool with every one of our children every year, but I am a HUGE believer in the gifts that it is giving to our family at this time. WHEW!!!
Some of you have been asking about how it’s going and what we do, so I’ll give you a brief outline of how our day looks. (There is also a video above that shows some of our space, curriculum, and favorite things!) Just as a reminder, we have a 6 year old boy who is the one that we are focusing on the most with school. His younger brother is 4, and sits in on most of what we do. The littlest member is a busy girl at almost 2.
Each day we try and hit 3 things at a minimum. Those 3 things are math, reading, and writing. Typically we get things done back to back to back. For time of day when we get these done, it depends on what we have going on. In a typical day I think we do most of our work in the afternoon. Mornings seem to slip by… We eat lunch and then the boys head to quiet time and the littlest takes a nap. (One of the biggest self discoveries I have made with this adventure is that I NEED my alone/quiet time. If I don’t have my down time I get crabby rather fast. Not an excuse to behave nasty if I don’t get it, but certainly some good self awareness things.) At about 2:30, quiet time is over and we start school stuff. There is snack at about 3:15 which we couple with our Bible time. I noticed that Bible was getting the short end of the stick most days, so we combined it with snack and now it is one of our favorite subjects. Imagine that! :) After that we might do a science experiment and then it is time to start getting supper ready.
So back to our main 3… For math, we use Horizons kindergarten level. Each day Elias has a tear out worksheet that he completes. For the most part he can do this all by himself unless there is something new being introduced. He doesn’t always love math. At times I have to set a timeframe in which he must get it done. It usually takes him 2 minutes to actually complete. I try to explain that if he would just do it instead of complaining, he would already be done! (I actually believe I got that same lecture often as a child… Sorry mom and dad!)
For reading we do a LOT of read aloud work. That means I read out loud to the children. I LOVE books and reading and this has only added to my addiction. Our book collection has probably tripled since last fall. Thankfully I find a ton of great used books at local book stores, Goodwill, and Amazon. We read aloud poems, short stories from different books in our curriculum (Sonlight), and other chapter books. We just finished Stuart Little, an A to Z Mysteries book, and a Magic Tree House book. Elias also has to do reading on his own. He is doing great with his reading and devoured the Dick and Jane books. He can also do a fair amount of the Dr. Seuss books…Go Dog Go, The Cat in the Hat, One fish Two fish Red fish Blue fish…that level. I have quickly come to realize not all easy readers are the same. Some use very few words, but the words they do use are not early reader friendly. It has been a learning experience for me as I wade through books at the library trying to pick ones that I think will challenge and yet not frustrate him. (And speaking of library, Elias just turned 6 and we got him his own library card! I want him to have a LOVE of books and think the library is an AMAZING resource. We get there at least once a week.)
Writing is pretty simple around here. Basically tracing a series of words or a short sentence. He traces it and then writes it on his own. Writing is an area where we have to remind him that it is important to focus and do our best work.
Overall homeschool has gone better than I expected. I love the community of people I’ve gotten to know locally and also virtually through podcasts, websites, and facebook. One of my favorite podcasts right now is The Read Aloud Revival. It is fabulous! And you don’t have to homeschool to be inspired to read aloud with your family. There are also LOADS of fantastic book recommendations. Sarah also has a book that completely re-energized and transformed some of what our homeschool loooked like. I highly recommend it if you are homeschooling!
I’d like to post more about our homeschooling adventure so moving forward, I will post most of my homeschool content on ingridbarlow.com. Here you will find snippets from our life that involve formal homeschool and also all the natural learning that just comes with living on the homestead. You will see resources that I use, books we love, school projects and activities, experiments, etc. I will keep thehandmadegirl.com a bit more professional and not as personal. At thehandmadegirl you will find all things handmade. Projects that I’m working on, ideas for you on things to make, recipes, patterns…more that kind of jazz. You can subscribe to one or the other or BOTH! Whatever content interests you! Yay!!
Here are some additional links to things I mentioned.
Asia Citro’s creative website on easy/fun kid projects.
Classroom Friendly Supplies. Great pencil sharpener!
Sonlight. Request a free catalog just for the awesome book recommendations for every age level. They’ve done all the work for you! Use it. :)