Hello Beautiful Momma!
I was recently asked by several of you to share about our homeschooling life. So here’s a snapshot of it along with some principles we hold.
We chose to homeschool this year because we noticed our son was ready for more rigorous academics in certain areas and needed growth in others. So we thought; why not take this year to focus on that? At that time I was already sitting down in the mornings with them to do Devotions for Kids. Adding academics to our routine seemed natural.
Being that we were involved in extracurricular activities, piano school, soccer (my husband coaches it) and church; socialization was not a concern.
We did join a homeschool co-op that met once a week and I started listening to podcasts for ideas. The Homeschool Solutions Show with Pam Barnhill is great. Her other channel, “The Homeschool Snapshots” is also good. The Busy Mom by Heidi St. John is another great one. Teaching from Rest was an inspiring homeschooling book as well.
“We have been charged to cultivate the souls of our children, to nourish them in truth, goodness and beauty, to raise them up in wisdom and eloquence. It is to those ends that we labor.”
Homeschooling is not a tool for shielding children from the bad things of the world. Homeschooling in itself will not bring salvation. (Nor will a Christian school, for that matter).
However, choosing non-public/homeschool for family values or academic needs, is great!
As a parent, your life will have the biggest impact on your child. The environment in your home. What you do with your time, how you treat people, how you treat your spouse and whether or not you have a personal relationship with God or merely go to church out of tradition…
I grew up attending average public schools (after which I went on to higher education) but what left a big mark in my faith, is seeing my mom reading scripture and listening to her praying. She wasn’t a perfect parent. Single-parent, actually. But her faith is legit and it showed.
So, you see…I don’t swear by homeschooling. There are many different great avenues to a child’s education and homeschooling is not for everyone. But the fact is, individualized teaching has proven to be very effective and homeschooling simply provides opportunity for that.
We are loving this year with the kids at home and our 2nd-grader has made tremendous leaps in reading, spelling and mathematics. It’s pretty mind-blowing!
With homeschooling, our mornings feel less rushed.
Everyday I try to get up before my kids. For me, this is important and was one of the hardest thing to tackle with the time difference after our big move. Sometimes I turn on a sermon from Times Square Church podcast, listen to my Bible app, or enjoy worship music. Ideally, I like to sit down and physically read the Bible.
I also give myself the gift of a clean kitchen every morning by cleaning it thoroughly before I go to bed. This makes a big difference in my mood.
For curriculum we chose an eclectic approach for 2nd-grade:
Mathematics: Singapore Math Workbook & Textbook semester pack
Spelling: Spelling By Sound and Structure
Grammar: Daily Language Review
Reading: Busy Times Pathway Reading Series Workbook & Reader set + weekly library trips
Handwriting: All of the above workbooks require a form of writing. I check my son’s work and ask him to re-do anything needing correction. We also do free-writing in a notebook — usually I give him a prompt.
Science: Various hands-on activity books & science videos
History: Various library books. (Most states do not require history in 2nd grade by law).
Art: Coloring & various Pinterest crafts.
Music: Formal piano lessons
Faith: Devotions for Kids & weekly memory verses after discussing them.
Exercise: Soccer, basketball, visiting parks. Sometimes I have the boys do fun drills in the backyard. Recently I’ve invited my kids to start jogging with me. (Perks of moving to a sunny state).
Since our preschooler is his big brother’s shadow, learning is naturally occurring for him so for formal education he completes a couple pages a day of Scholastic Success Pre-K workbook. We also use learning cards and Reading Rainbow Skybrary app to further literacy development. There are many great learning apps out there.
With my 2nd grader we are averaging 2-3 hours of structured school time & 45 min with pre-k. Did you know that’s about equal to the teaching hours a child receives in a 7-hr formal school day? Based on progress I’m seeing, I decide myself how far we will go with schoolwork that day. We try to get our studies done by noon so we can enjoy the rest of the day learning through other means.
Playing is a child’s classroom. Yes, schoolbooks are important but don’t forget that a child (especially pre-school age) needs room to use imagination and explore. If your child is constantly stressed mentally he may struggle to retain information well. (Check out this video on Finland’s Education success).
In regards to chores we have a basic daily routine. I tell the boys we need to make the house nice for daddy and this is usually enough of a motivator. (They love to please momma but daddy is a whole new level)! Completing chores provides kids a feeling of accomplishment and boosts their self-esteem.
There is so much life and learning happening in our days it’s impossible to fit it into a blog post. What I described here is simply a glimpse at the framework. If you’re considering homeschooling be sure to research your state’s non-public schooling regulations. There are different requirements for each state and it’s very important to know them.
And remember: no education system is perfect. This includes private, public and homeschool. Think back on your own experience. You didn’t learn every single thing under the sky. There were areas that were strong and some that were flawed. But we all like to think we turned out okay.
“For from His fullness, we have all received grace upon grace.” John 1.16
Blessings and love to you all!
Some snapshots of our studies, courtesy of the iPhone…
That’s it. Thanks for stopping by!