Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Our Homeschool This Year

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Because all the other homeschool mamas want to know what other homeschool mamas are doing. Plus it's fun to share!


Our oldest turned six in July. We debated last summer after her fifth birthday if she was ready to start Kindergarten or not. S was born three months premature- so if she had come "on time" and closer to her due date, she would not have started until this Fall.

 Feeling the need to get started, wanting her to be "ahead," I committed to trying. I struggled to know when to push school work and when to back off. Our year was inconsistent at best!

The great thing about homeschooling these younger years is that I don't quite have to slap a grade level on her yet.

At this point we are *probably* at the half way through kindergarten level- she is starting to get more of a knack for reading simple three and four letter words without struggle. Her writing has improved, but she still tires out and grows frustrated quickly, so we limit our hand work.

One thing that really did work well for our family last year was Classical Conversations. It is kind of like a co-op, where kids get to experience a class of their own with a teacher other than their parent one day each week. They memorize tons of great information, most of which is set to music. The one schoolish activity I could guarantee S would not complain about last year was her CC memory work!

You can read more about CC and why I like it here.

Our First Day of Classical Conversations!
Monday is Classical Conversations for us. The kids spend about four hours with their tutor being introduced to the week's science, math, history, geography, latin, timeline, grammar, and Scripture memory work.

That means we are out until after lunch, exhausted when we get home, and ready to just rest. We don't do any other school stuff that day!

Here's what I aim to do Tuesday-Friday:

Math. We started Math U See at the Primer level midway through last year, and we are finishing the book up. Retrospectively, I wish I had purchased the Alpha level instead as the content in Primer is super basic and repeated through later levels. Live and learn I guess!

As a whole I really like Math U See. It explains basic mathematical concepts in a way that both me and my littles can grasp. This is a big deal for a person who quit math as soon as she was able and barely understood what she did take! The hands on manipulatives really shed light on the material.

To cut our costs, I tear out the workbook sheets and have my daughter fill them out in a protective sleeve with a dry erase marker. Then we wipe off, remove the sheet from the pocket, and store it in a binder. That way every sibling behind her can use the same workbook.

Looking for washable, kid friendly dry erase tools? I've been so impressed with Crayolas selection! We love these markers and colored pencils.

My goal is to get through one lesson each week. We don't necessarily finish all of the worksheets for each lesson. There are about 6 front and back pages. If S demonstrates understanding and has had enough practice, I call it good. We might do one or two per day.

I love that the last couple of worksheets for each lesson feature several review problems to keep previously covered lessons fresh.


Phonics. Explode the Code has been a good fit for my oldest. She completes one worksheet each day, front and back. This covers phonetic reading, writing, and spelling; so I love how many bases I can hit with just the one book. We also do these with dry erase to save them for my future students.

Reading. To build her fluency, I usually have her read 1-3 Bob books to me or a sibling each day.

All other subjects. Classical Conversations does a great job of covering the rest of my bases. Because S is still so young, we really aren't doing much extra other than memorizing. But I do try to check out books and videos from the library to expand upon and compliment what we are memorizing for history and science.

All in all, I'm keeping things super simple. Maybe too simple? I don't know. To be a homeschool mom is to second guess yourself.

I'm a big believer in the benefits of reading aloud to kids, so we spend quite a bit of time most days just reading together. I'm hoping this covers the multitude of our educational sins.

Our basic school work of math and reading takes about an hour each morning, and we review our Classical Conversations memory work at lunch each day, and randomly in the car, at my midwife appointments, etc.


If you homeschool, I'd love to know what you are doing and how it is going!

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