The Many Seasons of (this) Homeschool Family

6 kids (5 boys, 1 girl);
27 years of parenting

14 years of homeschooling

1 public school graduate (2007);
2 home-school graduates (20011, 2015).

3 homes-schoolers to go,
just completed 2nd, 4th, and 8th grades.

We just finished our school year. 
It happened to be long, a bit crazy, somewhat fun,
and full of many challenges as well as joy.

Seasons of Homeschooling

Year 1 & 2; classic boxed curriculum (Abeka)
Basically imitate the public school classroom by using texts and tests, desks and schedules.
It was great for beginning.  Expensive had it not been gifted to me, but great to feel like I had everything covered.

Year 3; Unit studies
Teach on a particular topic and cover multiple subjects.
This was particularly a great boost to our morale.
It took more planning, but we learned more together as a group.

Year 4; Charter School
This was a crazy year for me as a mom.
We had 4 children, one on the way,
2 being homeschooled,
ran a full time daycare of 6 additional kids.
The Charter was nice; they provide the books and homework assignments one day a week, and the boys completed during the rest of the week.  I soon realized I like having our own schedule and flexiblity, but we completed the year out as a commitment.

Year 5; Waldorf education
Specifically using Oak Meadow curriculum which provides structure of lessons while giving the student the flexibility to use various learning styles to implement their knowledge.  Basically, to educate the head while reaching the heart and using the hands of a student.  A holistic learning of sorts.  It was a peaceful year of progress.

Year 6 & 7; Eclectic approach
Knowing what works but always thinking there is something better out there;
a little bit of this (unit studies)
with a little bit of that (Oak Meadows)
splashed with the other (SRA reading program)

Year 8; Charlotte Mason Method
Using rich literature and hands on activities in a calm learning environment.
Good books while introducing the beauty of life such as music (composers),
art (artists), poetry, nature studies, and even foreign language.
Loved this year.  Slow, steady studying that created thinkers.

Year 9 (through 14); Classical learning splashed with some Charlotte Mason flair
This was the year I discovered The Robinson Curriculum.
To read, write, and do math…well
Self-led learning at its finest.

This has worked well for us, so I don’t change from it.
RC mornings of independent studies; read, write, math
Charlotte Mason style afternoons; group studies together as a family.

Year 10;
Added a special needs (6th grade) student to our days this year.
She was on the autism spectrum and happens to be one of the 6 kids I mentioned I did child care for up in year 4, although in reality I watched her from infancy til she entered public school, as well as her two younger siblings.  We had a great year with her.  I did her core studies with her and worked on social skills (yes, I know, sounds funny from a homeschool academy, but she thrived none the less), and she ended her school day with a special class at the local pubic school.

Year 11;
Co-schooled with a neighbor; This was new and a bit exciting.
My kids were 4, 7, 10, & 14; hers were 3 & 13.
At this point I was a seasoned homeschooler and she was a novice,
and it all worked out very well…
I provided the structure of reading, writing, and math;
she offered supplies, corrections, and hands on activities.

Year 12 & 13;
Same neighbor; began to homeschool a high school student.
I provided the structure, supplies, corrections,
spending one day a week at our house for guidance (and social outlet),
and she made sure he implemented the assignments as needed.

Year 14; yep, this finally completed year!
Added childcare and a preschool co op to our days.
Some things I loved, some things I’ll change.

Each year has been a blessing!
I’ve found a rhythm that works for my family, a curriculum we favor, a style we love…
but all in all, there is no perfect choice.
Steady consistency and a calm, caring environment is the biggest part of homeschooling success. 

Homeschooling; where curiosity and knowledge collide.

 

L.I.F.E. Academy~ September wrap up

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In all honesty, we played around with our daily rhythm a bit for September.

With adding a preschool co op to our Monday and Wednesday mornings,
along with having after-school care kids show up mid afternoons,
we’ve had to reestablish our routine.

You may take a look at Our School Day Schedule to get a gist of how are days flow.

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So my kids happen to have free time on Monday and Wednesday mornings,
in which they often find things to do together.
Katie (13) has taken to helping one of her younger brothers write a book, one chapter at a time. 
Andrew (10), who is overcoming dysgraphia (lack of hand coordination) often has endless stories to tell, but rarely could get it all out on paper, thus sister began to encourage his thoughts and creativity by being his hands for him.  I’m pretty proud of them both.

Other activities during this free time is outdoor play, board games, playing battle, and exploring self-led interests.

Fridays have been fun for adding field trips and fine art projects.

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After reading about Baby Moses one week,
we did a color resist project with water colors.

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Another week we explored the 10 plagues.
As I had the kids color and cut out the number (of plagues) for a craft project,
we all got sidetracked playing with the numbers.
My younger boys seem to have a slower time connecting place value in mathematical equations, but after learning how to read really big numbers (to the billions), they enjoy it much more.  I love “ah ha” moments.

History-
We began Exodus late in the month and expect to probably take the whole month of October to finish it.  Moses had quite the journey!

Science-
The changes of Autumn with a bonus early field trip to a local pumpkin patch.

Literature-
Frankly?  to finish up some books that should be done by now.
Getting ready to issue the next book for the month of October.

Language Arts-
We are working on phonetic word families;
Long A sounds such as with the ~ay, ~ey, ~eigh sounds; as in hay, whey, neigh.
The kids quickly recognize that the most common use is the ~ay.
bonus points; learning the i before e rule while learning the long a/”eigh” sound.

We wrapped up our penmanship review and will begin our writing structure for October.

I am excited for October as I see our days falling into a more peaceful (less chaotic) place…

Gotta love homeschooling!

 

 

Week 2 Homeschool wrap up

It was a floating week.  no set schedule, but just treading through our days.

We did some school work while also having extra kids over.
3 kids came in the mornings as a warm up to my home before I begin caring for them afterschool.  A way for them to get to know my family before all the school and sports activities take off.  They are great kids that I look forward to having in the afternoons.  Both boys are around my boys ages; the girl is 9 and full of creativity like my Katie-girl.

One of the days was a bit more busy; just another random day really.

Anyways, my kids did their core work during quiet time (early afternoon), and the extra kids did some projects with us.

HISTORY– Old Testament Ancient history
We read through the story of Jacob;
from trickery, to deceit, to being deceived, to forgiveness…
all great topics to discuss with the kids!

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SCIENCE– (light fun)
For Jacobs Ladder we tried a new puff paint recipe;
1 cup Elmer’s Glue
1/4 cup flour
approx 2 cups shaving cream

We usually just do equal parts glue and shaving cream, which is always soft and spongey when first dried, but eventually flattens.  This new recipe is thicker (not as spongey cool feeling) however it stays puffy.  It would definitely be a winner for puff paint writing!

FINE ARTS
We learned about Mosaic Art of the Renaissance era.
This happened to be perfect timing from doing our “stew” craft with beans (pictured above)

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Reading, Writing, and math are all going well…

I have found our family news report; The Hollinger Highlights,
quite the useful tool in our home.
I list daily reminders, appointments, activities, etc…

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With week 2 under our belts, I am looking forward to a fabulous school year!

What fun things did you get to do?