Many thanks to Tiany for this online event—I’ve learned a lot and I’m hoping to do the same for others!
A short intro about you, how many blessings? How long have you been Homeschooling etc. Just in case this is someone’s first visit to your blog.
I am a wife to a wonderful husband of 15-1/2 years and mother to three children ages 12, 9, and 4. We have homeschooled for five years. Our older two children were in a private Christian school (2nd grader and K-4 level) before we brought them home.
Your Homeschool Day, what does it look like?
Our day begins around 9-9:30 a.m., although I’m up earlier preparing and getting my husband fed and off to work. I work with the youngest while the older two are preparing, and they begin on their own with several subjects. A “homeschool day” for a four-year-old takes about an hour at the most, with a focus on phonics, numbers/counting, and lots of reading (we are currently enjoying the Laura Ingalls Wilder “Little House” series together, and the older two enjoy hearing it again). We use A Beka with her, primarily because that’s what the older two used in school with great success in the early stages. I also purchased a couple of unit studies from Hands of a Child since the youngest already loves the science experiments of her older brother and sister (hats off to Apologia!) After she’s finished, she can play at her leisure. Sometimes she’s on the computer, sometimes she makes her own art and crafts, sometimes she watches TV, and on most days, she does some combination of the above. Once I finish with her, I work with the older kids, first on the Bible, reading poetry/literature for both read-aloud time and history, and science, dependent upon the day. We take a brief morning break for a snack, a longer break around 1-ish for lunch, chores, etc., and the older two are finished around 3-3:30.
What curriculum will you be using? Do you not use a curriculum? Do you homeschool for FREE? Tell us about it!
We approach learning from a Charlotte Mason point of view, so I don’t buy too much curriculum, but tons of good books. We use the Bible with a couple of reference books for illustrations, and this year we’re re-introducing poetry (Robert Frost right now) and music (Sebastian Bach) using the Opal Wheeler series. We use Making Math Meaningful, and the Apologia series for Science. With the oldest now an “official” middle schooler, this is the first year that I’ve not taught both older kids from the same curriculum. Thus, we use General Science for the older child and Zoology 1 for the younger of the two. We’re finishing world history using Susan Bauer’s History of the World, and we notebook and develop timelines from what we read. We will wrap up this history within the first couple of months, and we’ll transition to Early American History using “This Far by Faith”, a literature-based curriculum that I developed. Right now, we’re reading the Chronicles of Narnia series (we started The Voyage of the Dawn Treader a week or so ago) in the evenings, and we’ve been reading Opal Wheeler’s Sebastian Bach: the Boy from Thuringia as a read-aloud during the day. We just began this year with a formal vocabulary curriculum, Vocabulary from Classical Roots. Previously, we were very Charlotte Mason-y in our approach to vocabulary, developing a list from unfamiliar words and using them to spell and master dictionary usage. The kids have enjoyed critical thinking puzzles with the Mind Benders series, and this year we’re covering more informal logic with the older one using the Bluedorns’ Fallacy Detective. Perhaps the place where I deviate the most from a pure Charlotte Mason approach is the use of Rod and Staff’s Christian English series. The kids started formal grammar studies in third grade, and after experimenting with several other products, I love the straight-forward and thorough approach of this curriculum and you cannot beat its affordability for such high quality content. As an aside, I teach college students part-time, and I see the issues many adults have with sentence structure, so I am a firm believer in any product which teaches diagramming of sentences.
Do you schedule your day to the minute or go with the flow with no real structure?
I am a planner by nature, so I definitely have a schedule, goals, and detailed plans written down, but they are mainly guidelines to keep me pointed directionally toward my goals. Although this was a learned process for me, I am at this point not locked into my planner or a curriculum driving our day. We also take advantage of family and/or group events that further what we’re studying, so I’m learning to be increasingly flexible to how learning occurs.
Do you homeschool in a homeschool room, at the kitchen table, at a desk, in the park on the grass?
We homeschooled for years at the kitchen table, but now the older kids like to move around, so they start in the dining room and may hit the floor at some point. I still use the kitchen table for the youngest so that we have space for projects, and her toys are in the kitchen—this was critical when she was smaller and needed something to avoid distraction while the kids worked.
Do you have any “must share” tips?
Must share—Hmmmm…I don’t think so, but I’ll happily answer any questions from what wisdom I do have!
Do you have a question or concern? Throw that in there too!
I don’t have direct questions, but I’m always looking to improve, so if there is anyone who can speak to homeschooling with two different “sets” of children, I’d love to hear from you!