Friday, March 16, 2012

How We Homeschool

I hesitate to even participate in the "How We Homeschool" thingy, because I feel like the least of the least among such able homeschool mothers as my fellow bloggers. :) But, here goes.

As of right now, our homeschool is extremely flexible and pretty much unstructured. My older children work on the basics, mostly independently, while I assist my younger daughter. We work on Bible, History, and some science together. I use a multilevel curriculum for these subjects, which I'll explain in a minute. In the meantime I try to keep my youngest child, a rambunctious boy, out of trouble as much as possible. To help with this I'm planning to put together a bin of "school-time-only" toys, puzzles, art supplies, etc, that he can work on during school. I've done something sort of similar to that but I haven't been very consistent with it. To be honest, he has spent far too much time watching something on the computer just so he'll be quiet and let the girls work. :( I know, I know. Shame on me. I'm working on it! I want to start working with him more as well. He's shown some promise and I think he'll pick up fairly quickly. 

Working away from home. Love flexibility!
I was clueless about homeschooling when our oldest child was ready for Kindergarten. I relied almost completely on the recommendations of a friend who was one year ahead of me on her homeschool journey. (I don"t know what I would have done, would do, without the help and support of other homeschool moms.) I was under the impression (and had been warned by someone) that I needed to stick to one line of curriculum. I have since found out that mixing and matching works just fine. I tried some completely different angles this year and they seem to have helped a lot. I've learned through trial and error what works for us, and I've learned that you cannot go by what works for other families. One mother I talked to thought that a certain curriculum was the best there was. It didn't work for us. At all. We're all different, and our children learn differently. Learning to be flexible and creative when choosing curriculum is important.

Just in case you're interested, here's a list of what we use:
For our multilevel subjects:
Mystery of History  Love this so far. It's multilevel with lists of activities/seatwork for different ages. It's very biblically-based.
Apologia Science.  My oldest daughter will start General Science soon, but will also work on Apologia Astronomy along with the younger ones, working in a higher-level notebook.
Who is God? series (Bible). This book works for all three of my children and I'm very pleased with it. 

For my 4th and 7th graders:
A Beka Reading. Mainly A Beka reading books, (I have some of them already and can find most of the others on their reading list at the library) as well as other books that I think will be good for them. My 7th grader is doing A Beka Literature as well.
For my K-1st grader:
She's still working on some of the A Beka Kindergarten Reading Program. She'll start on Rod & Staff 1st Grade Reading, Phonics, and Penmanship soon.

All three girls are doing Math U See. So far I love this program!

I supplement (or will supplement) with:
Science DVDs Moody Bible Institute has an excellent set called The Moody Science Classics Series. (You can see previews of the DVDs at Moody's site. We actually bought them through Vision Forum during a sale event. Incidentally, I'm a Vision Forum affiliate. If you'd like to order anything from them, please feel free to use the link here on my blog! ;))

Besides the Basics:
The girls are taking art and violin lessons from a wonderfully generous and incredibly talented young lady who attends our church. I'm so thankful for her! As far as P.E., um, they play outside or run like wild things through the house. :) We don't do anything structured with that. I probably should, I know.

In my dream-school, I'd also have them learn Latin. Sigh....

Note: I always try to buy our curriculum as cheaply as I can. I'm especially thrilled when I can find nice, used curriculum online for a fraction of the cost of the new stuff!

And that's how it goes at our house. There's a LOT of room for improvement, but I'm thankful for how God has helped us this far!

You can check out the other "How We Homeschool" post here

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Our Daughter's Baptism

Today at Cherish the Call I shared a little about my daughter's baptism. I am so proud of my girl, and so thankful for her tender spirit and her love for God. I pray that she will always be as sweet and as submissive to His will as she is now, and I pray that God will lead her father and me as we endeavor to do our best to make it easy for her and for our other children to walk in His ways!