This year we changed a few things up. The biggest being that we are schooling year round. I've thought about it for the past few years but wasn't sure I could pull it off. Because the kids and I planned to go with Nathan on his annual September hunting trip I decided this was the year we would give it a try. I didn't want to start only to take a break for camping and I didn't want to start late.
We began our first quarter on July 9th and went through September 7th when we took a three week vacation for hunting prep, hunting, and hunting recovery. We started our second quarter on October 1st and will go to the 30th of November. Our Christmas/winter break will end on January 7th (That's right! FIVE weeks!) and our third quarter will run until March 15th. We will take a week long spring break and be back for our fourth quarter on the 25th with plans to finish school the 31st of May. If all goes as planned, and we like the schedule, we will then have a month long break before starting school for the next year.
Curriculum wise, I have changed a few things from last year but still LOVE what we are doing. We use My Father's World, Exploring Countries and Cultures (MFW) and it seems to fit perfectly. That doesn't mean that we never have rough days. MFW just meets all the criteria for the type of education HH and I wanted to give our children.
HH is big on math and science. Math I get. Science I don't. I never was a huge fan and have always been nervous about teaching it. My things are history, literature, language arts, art, and music. And of course we both want a good Bible curriculum. My personal approach to homeschooling has been more along the Charlotte Mason/Montessori curve (hands on, small amounts of time spent on each subject, lots of literature). I'm learning more and more about this approach as I go, but it seems to work for us and I feel like MFW facilitate this.
The thing I love about MFW is that they take all of these things and bring them together. While we learn about different countries and their locations (geography), we are also learning about different ecosystems around the world (science), the people and missionaries to the different countries (literature and Bible), and cultural practices (music and art). We use Saxon for math. It is a suggestion from MFW for math, but we would have chosen it anyways.
In the past I've always felt like I needed to add to MFW's language arts choices because they seemed light and I wanted to make sure I didn't leave anything out. What ended up happening is that I would use the stuff I added and not have time for the MFW curriculum. Specifically the Intermediate Language Lessons, which is an approach to language arts that I really love. When I actually READ the catalog I realized that if I stick with what MFW has outlined we will cover all we need to. It will just come at age appropriate levels.
For spelling I use Spell to Write and Read (STWAR). I've been using this for years and really love the program. My main complaint is that it is hard to teach if you've not taken their Teacher's course. I have definitely adjusted the program to work for me so it doesn't seem so heavy a work load. I feel like we get a lot of her "extra" stuff in what we already do.
Since last year Abiah has been in a Let's Play Music class learning music theory and now the piano. Hazel was able to join this year. We include their practice into our school day as much as possible. If you have an instructor in your area, I strongly recommend this course.
Hazel is not yet five but she is really ready to start school so she is officially in kindergarten. Amelia has declared that she is in "Pretty" school (Pre-school), although she'd rather be in kindergarten with her sister. For Hazel I am doing Horizon's for math, and Bob Books with STWAR for learning to read. Amelia's Pretty school is made up of random activities and About Three pages. She and I are also working through a pre-reader set of Bob Books.
I am trying to include the girls in Abiah's classes as much as possible. They don't necessarily understand everything, but they love to be included. They may not be able to do projects like labeling maps and such but they can color them. Which will at least familiarize them with them for the future.
My plan is to have activities for Amelia and Jackson while I'm schooling the others. Hopefully I will have time to share some of those ideas here. So far this about sums up Jackson's roll in school:
|This is either an "I hate school" dance or an "I love school so much I had to get on top of the table and dance" dance.|
I would like to think that the posts that I want to write about why we homeschool and what our day typically looks like will happen soon. Chances are it will take awhile. I have so many ideas for the kids to make this year-round schooling work well and be more appealing so I'm pretty busy. I'm also trying to be purposeful about doing the fun part of school. It's so easy to just do what we need to so we can say we did school, but that's a part of why we do this homeschool thing in the first place!
Like I said in the beginning, I'm linking up to Rachel's homeschool post. Click over and check out the other links!