Tuesday, August 7, 2007


The official question of the day - Tuesday - from Randi's back to Homeschool week is:

Tuesday, August 7---How do you homeschool?Scheduling, classical education, unschooling, getting the kids to help with chores, how to be "mom" and "teacher" at the same time, special needs, teaching an advanced child, how to teach the tough subjects, teaching high school, teaching with babies and preschoolers in the house, budgeting for homeschool supplies, notebooking, etc., etc., etc...

I read the question. I re-read the question. I Thought about it and I've decided something.

I don't know what I'm doing.

I was shocked to realize that this is going to be our 4th year to homeschool. I've been around some homeschool moms who appear to have it all together - I'm not one of them. I've never been one of them. About the only thing I have together is knowing who I am in Jesus.

Well.. and my kids names. Most of the time I even get their names straight.

Don't get me wrong - knowing who I am in Jesus solves a lot of problems. Especially when you're sitting next to a "perfect" homeschool mom.

I can not answer the "How Now" without tell you about the "When Then".

When we first started homeschooling, the Professor wanted us to be under the umbrella of a certified school. Okay. While this wasn't what I originally wanted to do, I started looking around. We opted for the ABeka Academy. Mini-Me was starting Kindergarten after 2 years at a Christian school while I attended a local Bible "college".

Their program was full of the basics: reading, math, writing (cursive). They had the lessons listed by the 6 weeks. Memory verses. Tests. It was school at home. Which wasn't bad for the first time out. The thing that got us was the fact that J-man was new at the time. G wasn't in school at all. And then someone got sick.

By the end of the year we hurried to get things done. We did First grade with Mini-Me in ABeka Academy, but knew that G would not be able to do the cursive writing they required through the academy. So we waited to put him into the academy. We got him books and we did as much as we could. We got through half of the phonics program and he just couldn't grasp the concepts. He couldn't get his brain around them. So we called an end to the school year knowing we'd do our official year of Kindergarten the next year.

Again - we had time of sickness.

In Mini-Me's 2nd grade year and G's official Kindergarten year, we decided not to go with ABeka Academy. We had a series of illnesses this year which put us behind. So we did some school work through the summer. Oddly, while I'm bummed about it, I'm not stressed. We'll keep trucking along.

So that's my long story of the "Then When".

So now - to answer the question - How do we homeschool?

We have a pretty laid back style. I try to make sure we cover the basic 3.

Our curriculum this year looks like this: ABeka for Phonics (for G), Language (for Mini-Me), Math & some writing. (I've learned that designated writing pages every day is a complete drag. Mini-Me really enjoyed copy work. so While I have the penmanship book, we'll be using it just as a guide. )

We'll be using Adventures in My Father's World from My Father's World for History, Bible and Science. I'm rather excited about this. I'll be modifying it for G as it requires writing. We did some over the summer, but with swim lessons and this and that - we never really got as far as I wanted to get.

What I'm going to try to do this year is to schedule the generics of our day because Mini-Me likes to know what to expect. Here's an example. What I do know is that interruptions are really hard to overcome...even with a laid back teaching mom - because you lose the kids attention. I think I'll probably be more stingy with our time. I'll have to keep myself off the computer unless it's necessary. We'll have speech therapy this year to contend with once a week.

For chores, I'm using Choreganizers. Mini-Me & G both have chore charts but J-man does not yet. He likes to help with unloading the utensils from the dishwasher and he can help pick up. His favorite thing to do is make messes.

Oddly enough, it's Mini-E's favorite thing to do, too. Which leads me to homeschooling with preschoolers.

I'll be utilizing much play-doh this year for J-man and I'll be looking to invest in some more pre-school computer software. I have not mastered the ability to teach the two big kids and handle the two younger ones to optimal levels. My J-man is pretty high maintenance. He likes attention. Really, Who doesn't?

Mini-E last year was quite young. This year she'll be 1.5 when we start school, she's already got an ear infection, and she's my social butterfly.

What worked best in the Laundry Pile last school year was for me to teach one big kid and have the other big kid play with J-man. I would try to get him interested in something else, and teach the other big kid. It may not have been optimal, but it worked for us.

With their combined school work, this won't work again this year. I'm still trying to find my groove in teaching 2 grades at once. Hopefully I can find it before I have to teach 3 grades. I have about 2 years.

My weakest area, I think, is introducing other ways to brighten the school day - like lapbooks or unit studies. I realize much of what I see as a weak area is probably due to the fact that I've had babies the last two school years. It will get easier as time goes on.

That's how it's done in the Laundry Pile.
Homeschooling isn't just about teaching the kids, that's for certain. I have to learn as I go. What works and what doesn't. It's been an interesting year - I wonder what this year holds for us.

One thing about it - it's never dull.


Kimmie said...

lol- well your one up on me...I don't even know what to post and I have been doing it for 10 years now!

thanks for sharing...I really enjoyed reading your post, walk in joy on your homeschooling journey, don't let the devil rob you of all the blessings God has for you (and yours)

mama to 6
one homemade and 5 adopted

randi said...

Having babies always made my homeschool years seem a little off, but in looking back I know that they weren't. We just had to cut back the academics and the house-cleaning to focus on the important things---the people in the house! ;)

Things get easier as the kids grow and mature, but these busy-baby days will be missed. Believe me, I know!

ThoughtfulMom said...

"Homeschooling isn't just about teaching the kids, that's for certain. I have to learn as I go. What works and what doesn't."

That's the truth. I've been trying things and throwing them out left and right - and now I've just decided to stick with what I've got.

I've learned some interesting facts lately, though - today's was that a snowstorm is considered a blizzard when the visibility is reduced to 400 yards.

Henny Penny said...

Finding what works for your kids, and the family as a whole is the most important part of the journey! :o)

A perfect homeschool mom? Where? LOL

Mrs. Darling said...

I just realized this was going on. Great post. My sister has 12 kids and she does like you do with the baby. She has the kids take turns in half hour shifts for the morning. Of course she's always holding the baby when she can but she says this is really helpful at the toddler stage when they're getting into everything.
Loved reading this!

Pam in Colorado said...

I say, let them play, let them play, let them play. It is amazing how much they learn when they can color, look at books, watch Magic School Bus, have their own writing tablet and pencil and a chart to look at that shows how to make the letters (which you don't even have to correct so they can get the hang of the whole thing), use playdoh, build with what ever you have - legos, blocks, bowls, boxes...

My girls do a lot of painting, gets messy, but worth the learning that goes on - although I do caution letting them paint their legs, inevitably they will step in paint and track it across the carpet. Not that I'd know anything about such an event. ;)