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back to homeschool week

It is hard to believe we are at the end of the week already of Randi’s wonderful Back to Homeschool Week and Tiany’s Homeschool Open House. Please join me in giving these 2 ladies extraordinaire a virtual round of applause for their efforts in coordinating these wonderful events that have afforded many of us to share what we are doing, what we have learned, how we do it and to glean the same from others…..bravo, bravo, bravo!!!

Today is about curriculum….it’s a dirty word in some circles and it doesn’t work for everyone so like with anything else, find what works for you and your family. 🙂 I shared more in my Day 2 post.

This year we will use Math-U-See for math as referenced here. This program works for my daughter and it works for me, so we are sticking to it.

Reading – The Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading combined with the McGuffey Readers, Reading Teacher’s Book of Lists, and heavy use of the library. I also have some books from Reading A-Z books during their free teacher appreciation week. I also use many of these items for copywork/handwriting.

History/Geography and Science – Unit Studies

We utilize the library heavily and like to use different library reads to enhance our current course of study and I hope to start sharing some of those items here in the weeks ahead.

back to homeschool week

I am not a veteran homeschooler but I think that no matter what stage of homeschooling you find yourself at/in, there is something that you can share with someone else.

If I knew then:

1) My learning enviornment does not have to look like the government funded school systems. That is an eye-opener to many but especially to many in my extended family. Many are educators or former educators so they have a biased and often limited view of homeschooling.

2) Schedules are not masters but suggestions. In an ideal world, everything may flow via a schedule, but my world is not ideal and yours probably isn’t either (sorry to break that to you). Fact of the matter is that somedays thing need to be adjusted, enjoy your homeschooling freedom and just adjust, it will save you a lot of frustration and your kids will be happier because you aren’t in a constant state of being freaked out. 😀

3) The library is a treasure just waiting to be discovered. Even if you didn’t enjoy it as a child, it is a wonderful place, trust me, you will see. It if full of books for the young and the old and everyone in between.

4) If at all possible, review a curriculum before purchase and do not make impulse buys based on what such and such said. Such and such doesn’t live at your house and doesn’t have your kids. 🙂 I really recommend, reviewing and reviewing, praying, listing it out and putting the list away for 2 weeks to make sure that you still feel the same way and think it is the best purchase for you and your children.

5) In the end, remember why you are doing this because you will need to call on that often when days and situations are not as ideal as you hoped they would be but please don’t give up, keep perservering, the rewards are so worth it!!! 🙂

Check out what others have to say:

back to homeschool week

Today is Day 3 and it’s about getting out of the house and sometimes my hubby thinks that is all we do… 😉

We are blessed to live outside of the nation’s capital so historic places abound as do all of the free Smithsonian museums. Even in all of this richnes, we have a tendency to sometime not venture out which I am working on changing because I feel it is a shame to waste such great learning opportunities. Hence the borrowed Nike slogan as the title of this post. 😉

Sometimes the biggest obstacle to getting out is justifying it in the realm of defined education. The truth is learning doesn’t have to take place within the confines of the education system – that is why we homeschool….yippee!!! Everyday activities are learning opportunities and that is the binocular to be used as the kickstart to getting out of the house more often. Does it mean that sometimes work will have to be finished after school hours – yes it does but the learning and the memories from the fieldtrip last a lifetime.

The library is another place that should not be overlooked because you can truly travel the world. 🙂 Get to know the local business people in your area as they are often willing to share about their trade and who knows your child might like it and get an internship/job there and what’s better than some hands-on learning. Local farmers and co-ops are also open to visits and get to knows and many are willing to do it for small groups.

In my state, some churches serve as umbrella groups and many allow you to go on their field trips even if you are not a member of their co-op. Also, if you do not have co-ops or you aren’t a member, step out of your comfort zone and ask that mom that is in the library with her kids during the day just like you, she probably homeschools. 🙂

back to homeschool week

How do we homeschool?

Such a loaded question that is…basically we homeschool like I cook – a little of this and a little of that. 🙂 For the most part, we are following the broad outlinesof the classical model of homeschooling but willing to veer off course and hop down rabbit trails if our hearts desire.

I am the type of gal that needs some sort of structure or I will hop down too many trails so for scheduling we use Homeschool Tracker. I do use the Plus program but there are few software programs that you can purchase for $39 with free upgrades and able to be used on more than 1 computer in your home. I find it a great help and being that my state requires a review, the reporting feature allow me with a few clicks of the mouse to have a summary of everything. Of course, first the information has to get into the program which is what I spent a large chunk of today doing hence my late posting. 🙂

Like I mentioned in the beginning, we are following the broad parameters of the classical method as outlined in the Well-Trained Mind (see sidebar). This year, I am going to do an overview of all 4 periods as exposure before delving deeper next year in the ancients. For this overview, I am developing my own unit studies that will cover history and science and I hope to share here in the near future.

For Math, we use Math-U-See. I absolutely love this program and so do my kids. A will be finishing up the Primer and starting Alpha come mid-September. We have both sets of blocks and they are in a fishing tackle box and they work well for my visual daughter and my tactile son. 🙂

For Language Arts-Reading, I use the Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading. I did purchase the combo pack and the kids love the magnetic board and will often just want to sit and make words with it without any prodding by me, which is just wonderful. Another item that I use to supplement is the Reading Teacher’s Book of Lists. I picked this up at Barnes & Noble with my teacher’s discount and it is a must for every bookshelf. Being that my daughter is very image driven, I find that books without images or few images work best and unfortunately many of the learn-to-read books have a lot of images. I downloaded the FREE McGuffey Eclectic Primer from Project Guttenberg. They work lovely and they are great for copywork as well. For her afternoon reading, I use some Dr. Seuss and early reader books because it is fun to read with your mom on the couch.

My son, while 3 1/2, is involved in some aspects of our daily learning but there are times when he must go have some structured play so I use ziploc bags and fill them with different things for him to do like mazes, coloring sheets, scissor activities, etc. He likes this plus it helps his skill development.

I do use some DVD/VHS tapes like Magic School Bus for further understanding and to this day, a how our food grows video has been their favorite and they know all about farm equipment. These tools have their place but they are not the bulk of our learning as they pretty much only get 1/2 hour of tv/video a day.

I use the library as much as possible to fill in other items and I find that thrift stores are often a treasure trove for books that can be used in a homeschool environment. We do field trips especially to the Smithsonians and I love the fact that they are free. 🙂

This year we are looking at a co-op for Fridays just because we are in the process of a church plant and our old church had a lot of activities for the kids and A is very social. I have not done our schedule justice but check out the archives for some other items and thoughts and check back in the future. 🙂

The time is quickly approaching and while some are already ‘back to school’, others are preparing to go back to school. I am participating in 2 homeschool related weeks so I am combining them into 1 here.

i have to say is hosting Back to Homeschool Week and Less of Me~More of Him is hosting a Homeschool Open House for the 2nd year.

back to homeschool week

open house

Both weeks referenced above have a set of questions to answer regarding the 5 w’s and h of homeschool. I will primarily follow the schedule below for Back to Homeschool Week in that it anwsers all of the questions of the Homeschool Open House. 😀

Monday, August 6—What led to your decision to homeschool?
Why do you do what you do? What brought you to homeschooling? What factors played a part in your decision?

I have answered most of these questions in a Homeschooling Meme.

If you homeschool, feel free to join both of these homeschool weeks and make sure to link back and spread the love by visiting as many sites as you can as there is encouragement and inspiration abounding. 🙂

The schedule for the Back to Homeschool Week is as follows:

Tuesday, August 7—How do you homeschool?
Scheduling, classical education, unschooling, getting the kids to help with chores, how to be “mom” and “teacher” at the same time, special needs, teaching an advanced child, how to teach the tough subjects, teaching high school, teaching with babies and preschoolers in the house, budgeting for homeschool supplies, notebooking, etc., etc., etc…

Wednesday, August 8—Getting out there…
Extra-curricular activities, community involvement, volunteering, sports teams, music lessons, making sure your kids have opportunities to be social, co-ops, etc., etc., etc…

Thursday, August 9—If I had only known…
What have you learned on your homeschooling journey? What would you/did you change? This is an opportunity to encourage others who are just starting out or who are struggling with issues that seem unsolvable. It is also a perfect opportunity to tell us about one of those days made you want to throw in the towel. A funny story? Perfect!

Friday, August 10—Curriculum
What curriculum do you use? Where do you buy it? Have you found a “gem” that you must share with others? Was something in particular a complete failure for you and your kids?

Check out what others have to say:

Our Scripture

He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers. ~Psalm 1:3

Something to think about…

"I never teach my pupils: I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn." ~ Albert Einstein
August 2017
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