some homeschooling things

September 9, 2014

homeschoolinghomeschoolinghomeschoolinghomeschoolingWeek two done and onto week three… whew! Days are much busier with homeschooling the three (we’ve sort of added Soul to the mix), or as they have progressed in grade, their learning material takes more time. Soul’s preschool age, but I’m not one to push kids to learn everything so early. I think children need a lot of play (they learn a lot through that) and when it’s time, and they seem ready, then we can tackle all that vowel, consonant, and number stuff. We’ve changed things up in our homeschool area to accommodate for her though, so she can feel part of it. Most of her “work” consists of coloring and drawing, but we’re slowly going through the vowels. The important thing is now she feels like part of the team, and she likes being right there next to her sisters as they learn. I’ll have a homeschool space tour for you soon, but for now, let’s talk about why (I’ve shared this before and it really hasn’t changed) and what we use.

I’ve tackled some of the whys we homeschool here, but basically, it’s what we feel is best for our family right now. That’s the same reason I gave in the previous post too. We live in an area with a good school district, and while I don’t doubt the teachers there are excellent, we still feel it best to homeschool our children. I have my bachelor’s degree in Child and Adolescent Development, and went on to get my California Multiple Subject Credential, and I used to teach 4th grade at a public school. I loved being a teacher to thirty, fun loving (most of them) fourth graders, and while my career as a public school teacher wasn’t that long, I think that experience really helps enrich my daughters’ homeschooling.

I find teaching my three daughters (still mostly two though) is much more difficult than managing a class of thirty, but it’s infinitely more rewarding (and did I mention hard?!). In addition, these days there’s a lot of pressure for teachers to “teach to the test” because of the standardized testing and what those scores mean for schools. While we still participate in the state testing, I’m free to teach my children with what I feel is best, not just in preparation for the test. We actually get to fully explore science, history, and art, which is something some schools may not be able to do as much due to class sizes, time constraints, and budgets.

While I advocate homeschooling, it may not be the best thing for your family and your situation. Every situation is different and we are all making the best choices we feel would best suit our family. I’m also thankful for the public school system. I still have many friends who are still public school teachers and they are so darn good at what they do. In regards to homeschool, private school, or public school, I don’t think one is particularly better than the other, but it’s to each their own. There are some parents who shouldn’t be homeschooling and they are some teachers who shouldn’t be teaching, you’ll find good and bad ones in both areas.

We mostly follow Classical Education, and while it really emphasizes facts, memorization, and language-based learning, especially in the early grades, I tweak and change it to what fits my kids best, and I give them plenty of opportunities for creativity. The structure of Classical Education is something we do well with, and I believe the learning of facts as a base is very important, but we always extend beyond the lessons to include creative projects. My children are visual learners, so I accommodate for that in our lessons.

Here is our curriculum information…
Math: Singapore Math
Reading: We go through different books through the year, but currently it’s Old French Fairy Tales┬ásince we’re focusing on the Late Renaissance/Early Modern period.
Grammar: First Language Lessons Level 3
Writing: Writing with Ease Level 3
Spelling: Spelling Workout Level C
Cursive: New American Cursive
History: Story of the World Middle Ages (almost done with this)
Science: Adventures with Atoms and Molecules with support from Usborne Sciecne Encyclopedia
Latin: Song School Latin (this our first year)
Art: Child-Size Masterpieces

It’s a lot of stuff, but listing it out looks more than it feels when we are doing it. I will have to break down how we tackle all this stuff, but history and science are taught on alternating days, same with Latin and art. In addition to what we do at home, they go to a full day school once a week (9am-3:30pm) and take a class on the American Girls, Geography, Spanish, and Theatre. They also get to interact with other homeschoolers there. The extra-curricular things they are involved in are hip hop, piano, and swim classes. Our days are full, I feel crazy most of the time, but we all try to find our rhythm together.

Technically, True is in third grade and Brave in second, but we do all third grade curriculum and Brave keeps up just fine. She scores especially high when it comes to informational text (she loves reading informational texts and encyclopedia type books!). I make accommodations for areas where I think they may be different, but they are so similar developmentally, that having them using material at the same level works great for the girls. It will be interesting when Soul joins next year for Kinder (and then Glow the year after) because I will have to become a better juggler. It will be a multi-age school house in our home!


20 comments on “some homeschooling things”

  • Sarah M says:

    We use a lot of the same resources, and I feel the same way about homeschooling: it’s a priority, but some days (really, often, most?) it feels like such a sacrifice and it’s hard.
    Where do you find your book lists? (like the French Fairy Tales book)

    Sarah M

  • christina says:

    hi, its me christina. not sure if you remember me but i (along with my daughter and 5 month son) came to the recent craft event you held in redlands. im the one who works for the city of los angeles…ring any bells? anywho, my daughter is almost of age to start kinder (she starts late due to her birthday). we live on the south side of fontana and the public schools are terrible in my oppinion and like you said want it to be christ centered. i print up things to teach my daughter all the time and do my best to teach her when i get home. i recently been seeing alot on homeschooling and feel like this may be the direction. the only thing is without my income along with my hubbys we wouldnt be able to afford our mortgage so i have to work. i was wondering….would you be willing to homeschool my daughter for pay? if its between certin hours i can have her nana drop off and pick up. no worries if this isnt something you are into, i totally understand….sounds like you have alot going on, thanks

    • Rubyellen says:

      Of course I remember you Christina! I’m not sure I would have the stamina to take on another child, but the homeschooling program we go through might have good options for you. I will send you an email, or if you don’t hear from me by the end of this week, shoot me an email back.

  • Kayla says:

    I so appreciate your posts about homeschooling and your family! I’m currently studying to be an elementary teacher, but I hope to follow a path similar to yours and homeschool my future children after teaching in public schools for a few years. It’s so great to read about your beliefs and experiences.

    • Rubyellen says:

      Initially, I wasn’t for homeschooling because I was afraid of it. While it is hard at times, I’m glad we made this choice.

  • cristina says:

    I think its amazing that you homeschool. I home school my daughter who is 4 so its not very intense but we do Classical Conversations once a week and that is a little more strict but not anywhere near what kindergarden would be. Anyways i wanted to leave a comment to say how awesome it is and even when moms DO NOT have the credentials you have i still believe they can homeschool ( like many moms did in our past). I always tell moms ” you may know your child best therefor you can give them the best education” and of course that doesn’t work for every family but its amazing to be able to help build your children spiritualy and mentaly the way a teacher wouldn’t really be able to because of the one on one. anyways your amazing and i hope i can continue to homeschool as my kids get older like yours!

    • Rubyellen says:

      I totally agree with you! I believe credentialed and non-credentialed parents could certainly homeschool. My mom homeschooled my siblings and she’s a nurse, not an educator, so it can certainly be done. Homeschooling isn’t for everyone, and it really is hard sometimes (and sometimes I just want to throw in the towel), but I see the benefits for our family. We take it year by year and evaluate what we feel would be best. My mom stopped homeschooling my youngest sibling when she was in the fifth grade, so I’m open to when I (we) feel that it no longer serves my children well to teach them at home.

  • What great memories you are making while they’re learning!

  • becky says:

    I love that we have almost the same curriculum at the core. Made me smile!

  • Kim says:

    I just love getting a peek into other families homeschool routines and plans. How far apart in age are True and Brave? My two oldest are 16 months apart, and while we are still in the preschool play phase I am wondering what I will do when we start school in earnest. Keep them mostly together or separate the grades.

    • Rubyellen says:

      True and Brave are 15 months apart. True started a year before Brave, but it didn’t Brave take too long to catch up when she started the year after. I like that they are pretty much in the same grade, and I modify where needed, but I say go with what will suit your children best. Mine just happen to be so similar, but it might not always be the case.

  • megan says:

    Thanks for your posts, your words are always such an encouragement to me through my own struggles as a wife and mother. We just switched from public school to a part-time homeschool (two days in classroom, three days at home) this year, and I thought of your posts often over the six months it took us to make the decision to switch. It was a nice bonus today to see our school uses almost the same curriculum you do, as they also follow the classical model. I think so far it has been the blessing to our family we hoped it would be, with more time together and the ability to have a larger influence in our kids’ lives. Love reading your story, thank you!

    • Rubyellen says:

      Oh wow… thank you for sharing! I like the part-time homeschool programs I’ve seen. Our charter does 3 days in the classroom and 2 days at home, and have heard good things from the parents involved in that. And high-five to the classical model! I really do think it sets up a good foundation for the kids.

  • jessica says:

    yay for Classical Education! I just finished a Singapore Math training at the school I work for and we’re also on the Middle Ages this year (though not so much for the preschool level which I teach). Your book/link list is really great! You might find the information on our school blog interesting…it’s the San Luis Obispo Classical Academy in case you are interested. Love how you are nudging Soul into the fold!

  • jen says:

    I always love your homeschooling posts! Our kids are about the same age and we homeschool as well… definitely a lot of work and our days can e crazy, but I love it!

  • sgrmse. says:

    you’re such an inspiration. i never considered homeschooling for my future children but because of you, i’m now sure i want to. thank you, Rubyellen. what a blessing you are! ­čśÇ

    • Rubyellen says:

      Thank you! And I liked that post you did about how to treat others. It was such a good reminder for me and I’m sure others.

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