How I Homeschool

I have been homeschooling my boys since they were born, so 9 years now. I knew before my fist DS was born that I wanted to homeschool thanks to my husbands sister who, at the time I was pregnant, was homeschooling her two children and turned me on to the idea. I tried several different approaches on my oldest son…my “guinea pig.” We tried traditional workbooks, classical method, Charlotte Mason, Bob Jones DVD curriculum…whatever I could get my hands on! This was hardly a waste of time because I learned that my boys learn best with an assortment of different curriculum approaches. So I took what I liked from each approach and applied it to my son’s needs. That is the beauty of homeschooling. If it doesn’t work, I try something else! So, for those of you reading this wanting to learn more about homeschooling just remember…do what works for you and your family!

This year I found this great student planner that has each week broken out by school day and subjects (Bible, Science, Math, Social Studies, Reading/English/Language Arts and Blank) with an area for a spelling list on the side. This suites my needs perfectly! For the core of our curriculum I use a free online program called Ambleside Online which uses a Charlotte Mason approach to learning. My oldest son is in Year 4 and my youngest is Year 0. My oldest son started with Year 0 and I have just loved reading all of these wonderful pieces of literature with my son through the years. The best part of this curriculum is that I can find a lot of the books online for free and some in audio form through LibriVox (a free site). The curriculum is broken up by week over a 36-week school year. Every 6 weeks we will take a week off for review and testing. I plan the readings to be done Tuesday-Thursday which leaves Monday to introduce our memory work for the week from our Classical Conversations Foundations program which is also broken out by week but has a 24-week school year. We review the memory work daily and then on Friday they are tested on the material. Both of these programs cover every subject except math (aside from memorizing some math facts). For math we use a program called Math-U-See which has a DVD lessons and workbooks. For bible lessons my boys attend an AWANA program to memorize scripture and fellowship with other Christian children. We also read character building devotional books based on the bible and my oldest son enjoys listening to Christian audio stories like Adventures in Odyssey. For Spelling, I use Spelling Plus for my oldest and then I put his weekly list into Spelling City (a free site) where he can learn, play and test on his spelling words online. He then does dictation of sentences and now paragraphs using his new spelling words. My youngest DS (Kindergarten) does Spelling and Phonics using Click ‘N Kids that is an entertaining online program. He also enjoys Starfall which is free site. For reading and language arts I was using Spectrum workbooks (and I still like them) but I have found Learning Language Arts through Literature to be more in depth but are short and easy lessons. For handwriting I love, love, love Handwriting Without Tears. In additions to these core programs we learn Art/Drawing, Music/Piano and Spanish. I find a lot of good programs to use for these through CurrClick and Homeschool Buyer’s Co-Op. Through CurrClick my son has taken a PowerPoint class and does his weekly piano lessons online. Here is a neat typing program I found through BBC (Dance Mat Typing) and also through BBC this free Spanish ineractive learning program (Mi Vida Loca). We  take field trips, join homeschool co-ops, watch educational films, and of course use the Internet. My oldest DS is also involved in Cub Scouts and 4-H, which are great programs for any homeschool child.

Well, that’s how I do it. It may sound overwhelming and difficult but our days are pretty well planned out and allow for a lot of break times for meals, chores and play. It’s easier for a child to do more at home instead of at school. We move at our child’s pace whereas the school has to move at the slowest child’s pace…or that slower child falls behind. If your interested in seeing a sample calendar let me know.

Blessings to you!

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