This is about our 13th year homeschooling! I say “about” because I definitely eased into it when our oldest was about 4 years old. She is almost 17 now. Over the years I have cherry picked from various curriculums to make up one that suited us best for that time. You can see more homeschooling posts HERE.
From 2013-2017 our family participated in Classical Conversations. During our 4th year I had my 2 oldest girls in the Challenge levels, my 4 oldest boys in Foundations then in the afternoons the 2 oldest boys were in Essentials. I also tutored for Foundations for the first 3 years. I love Classical Conversations and it filled a gap for me during those four years, especially with the younger ones.
This year we are not doing CC and instead opted for an extreme year of rest. While I wouldn’t say we are completely Unschooling, there are definite aspects of our days and weeks that some may say lend themselves to that category. It feels and looks like Interest Lead Learning to me and this has been one of the best years ever of Home Educating!
Here is a breakdown of our 2017-2018 Homeschool Year:
All 7 children: We meet up after breakfast at 9:00am (ish) in the family room for Morning Time. I still use the Apologia What We Believe Series. We are on Volume 3 this year. I only read from the hardcover and don’t have the kids do the journals or coloring books. We discuss and chat….it’s awesome and I can’t say enough good things about this amazing series. It answers general questions about several religions, addresses issues I may not have remembered to discuss and solidifies Christianity with an apologetic method. I really want my children to choose what they believe on their own then know WHY they believe that. I also read aloud to them during this time, a chapter or two. I just pick books I want to read aloud and don’t follow a certain list. So far this year we’ve read Across Five Aprils, Five Little Peppers (I found my copy at a used book store), Trumpet of the Swan and The VanderBeekers of 141st Street . For additional enrichment of our Morning Time I loosely follow the Simply Charlotte Mason Enrichment Studies Volume 1. I really appreciate the way this is book tells me what to do each day. I just put a check mark in the margin once we complete something and pick up where we left off when I decide to add it to our day. I keep all of our Morning Time supplies in the Ikea Raskog Cart (mine is turquoise but I like the cream one!). Also, I’ve seen similar carts at Target, Michaels, World Market and Hobby Lobby.
Number 1. Oldest Daughter (Junior in HighSchool) – Enrolled in the Liberty University Online Dual Edge Program. By the end of her Senior year she will also have earned an Associate of Arts Degree. In addition to full time schooling she is working 12-18 hours/week at a local hair salon at the front desk gaining business, time management, conflict resolution and customer service skills (and a paycheck!). Piano, babysitting, volunteering at church and Soccer round out her schedule.
Number 2. Second Daughter (Freshman in High School) – Saxon Math at home, she utilizes youtube and Kahn Academy tutorials if needed. Abeka Keyboarding. I learned to type correctly in High School and find it a valuable life skill, this is why I have her do this. I wanted a textbook (not an online program) and a top bound book that would stand on its own while typing. She can type correctly and is honing the skill. A Reason for Handwriting D. She has great handwriting but never finished this level so she just works on it here and there. She loves music and sings, plays piano, guitar, ukulele and violin. This year she has a was cast in our Homeschool Performing Arts performance of Annie. Rehearsals are once a week from the Fall through early Spring then it ramps up during Tech Week…they will have 7 performances. Babysitting, volunteering at church, reading, cooking and baking bring her joy as well!
Number 3. Oldest son (13 years old) – Saxon Math at home. Abeka Keyboarding. A Reason for Handwriting C. He is an avid reader, and when I tell you avid I mean he read Murder on the Orient Express one afternoon. His book count since January is well over 100. So I let him read. As much as he wants. He also really really likes basketball. He bought a program online called EGT (Elite Guard Training) and on his own followed it to a T. He is outside shooting hoops and practicing whatever the program tells him to daily. His game improved trememdously due to his hard work and he is a joy to watch on the court. Basketball season with 3 boys playing this year was so fun! Piano is also a favorite of his.
Number 4. Second son (11 years old) – Horizon Math at home. A Reason for Handwriting. He is our outdoor enthusiast. Seriously. It doesn’t matter the weather, he wants to be outside. Playing or working. He has mowed our 4 acres of yard on our huge mower since he was 9. He can drive our tractor in the snow to plow or the summer to move dirt, he moves limbs, dig holes, fixes his minibike, and is interested in any kind of hands on work. He knows how everything in our house works by watching professionals work on it (plumbing, heating, cooling) and asking tons of questions. He reads to our 2 year old and loves to put him down for a nap. Basketball was a highlight this year and he continues to jam it out on the piano.
Number 5. Third son (9 years old) – Horizon Math at home. A Reason for Handwriting. He has rhythm and a contagious laugh! His drum set was new this year and he loves to jump on when another sibling is playing the piano and it sounds good! He loves to dance, sing and just keep a beat. Piano is also mixed in there. Basketball was fun this year and he played up with his older brother for quite a few games.
Number 6. Fourth son (5 years old) – Horizons Math at home. Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons (with me). My first goal with each child academically is to teach them to read. Once they can read, they can read instructions which leads to independant learning, and the sky is the limit! I always make a 100’s chart for the child learning to read. After each lesson he chooses a sticker and puts it on the number lesson he just completed. He loves to play inside, outside, anywhere and having books read to him.
Number 7. Fifth son (2 years old) – We all read as much as possible to him. He loves playdoh and currently these Rainbow Pebbles.
Those are the main resources but just imagine mixed in to each day: breakfast and lunch, lot’s of basketball card trading and basketball chatter, house cleaning, music, dinner prep, outside play, errands and life! As always, let me know if you have any questions. I hope this was helpful!
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