Week 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 since 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!