It’s a homeschooling post that some of you have been patiently waiting for. Sorry for being so late in it! We’re in year 3. Year 3! Sometimes I thought I would never survive pass day 1. When we’re in the daily grind of schooling, it can feel overwhelming and then there are other times and I’m like, “Oh, I’m so glad I get to be here for this!” I get to see it all connect and click together, and watch as their curiosity continues. I’d be lying though if I didn’t mention that sometimes I want to throw in the towel and send them off to traditional school.
We have many whys of why we homeschool, but the main thing is this is what we feel is best for our family right now. Just like you will have some good and bad teachers at a traditional school, same with homeschooling, you will get some who are doing it right and some who might be better off sending their kids to traditional school. I’d like to think we’re mostly doing it right. I love having charge over what my kids learn and how they learn it. I have the time and flexibility to cater their learning to what best suits them. Also, we have the time and flexibility to explore subjects deeper because I don’t have to cater to the needs of 28 other students in the room. It’s just True and Brave. Besides homeschooling to build their knowledge and desire for learning, I love that it also gives us additional opportunities to build their character. Frankly, it builds mine as well. Homeschooling is also our way of holding (and shaping) their hearts a little bit longer.
Though I learn more about homeschooling every year we do it, I’ve had a lot of exposure to it in my past. I’ve seen my mom homeschool my younger siblings in their early elementary years and I was homeschooled part of my high school years. Not only that, I studied Child & Adolecent Development at a local state university and went on to receive my Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and taught at a public school, so being a teacher is kind of my cup of tea.
I like that I’m able to utilize the skills and techniques I learned in college to help making learning fun and interesting for my girls. We are in a good school district, but our choice to homeschool is more of a calling for us. It is what we feel is best in how we want to shape the character, knowledge, and love for learning in our children. It’s the best choice for us right now, but it may change later. We’re not opposed to that possibility either.
I’d like to document more of what we do in our homeschooling, but when we’re in schooling mode, there isn’t time to snap pictures… I’m teaching, the girls are listening, we’re discussing, we’re writing, drawing, or doing things to help drive our learning home that I don’t really think about taking pictures. You will catch a few snapshots on instagram here or there when they’re doing some quiet work, but that’s been it so far.
We mainly follow the Classical Education model of learning and teaching (read about it here). That philosophy resonates well with me and the learning styles of my children. I recommend this book if you’re interested in learning about this particular method of homeschooling, as it has really helped shape our curriculum and our schooling. This one is a good one too. I also like to integrate a lot of books and literature into our learning and we base projects off of that. I think books are a really good way to connect subject areas together. I was totally all about that when I was in the classroom and I’m still loving it in our homeschooling.
How do my girls get social interaction? They go to swim classes, dance classes, we have a group of kids in our church family, and they go to enrichment classes for a full day (9-3:30pm) once a week with other homeschooling kids, so they get plenty of interaction with peers and other adults.
Here is a list of our curriculum choices (you can see last year’s curriculum in my FAQ page)…
Math: Singapore Math
Language: First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind Level 2
Writing: Writing with Ease Level 2
Reading: Ordinary Parent’s Guide to Teaching Reading (Reading level is where True and Brave differ slightly since True is technically a grade older, but we’re almost done with the book)
Science: Usborne First Encyclopedia of Our World (It’s basic but we throw in other resources and projects to beef it up)
History: The Story of the World Ancient Times (We’re almost done and will be heading to Medieval Times soon)
Cursive/Printing: New American Cursive and Handwriting Without Tears
Art: Let’s Make Some Great Art (It’s not a technical art curriculum, but I supplement it with additional books and projects to dive into the artists)
Through the program we are part of, we have a credentialed teacher meet with us monthly to make sure that we’re meeting our goals and to give support, we also have to turn in attendance. Though we homeschool, the girls are required to participate in the California standardized testing, and since True is now in second grade, this is the first year she will do it. Schooling is serious stuff, so the regular business side of it that is done at a traditional is also done in our homeschooling.
True and Brave are technically in different grades, True’s in second and Brave in first, but I do the same lessons with both of them, and I adjust things for their particular levels. The main difference between the two is that True has a bit more coordination in her writing and slightly ahead in reading levels, but Brave isn’t far behind. It’s great seeing them work together and help each other. They really bounce a lot of learning off each other and I love seeing them engaged and excited about a subject together.
We’re thankful for homeschooling. It isn’t for everyone, but it is for us (at least right now). If you have any questions about it, I’d love to try and answer them for you. I’ll share what a typical homeschooling schedule looks like for us in another post soon.
What are your thoughts on homeschooling? I’ve seen it done well and not so well, and I’m sure you have too, so people usually have a lot of commentary about it based on what they’ve seen in real life and in the blog world.