Friday, March 12, 2010

Homeschooling in a nutshell(give or take a few words)

(Olivia memorizing her poem)

(Riley-- he was working so hard)
This week, I was talking with some ladies while waiting for my daughter's dance class to finish up. They asked about home schooling. It sparked a thought that maybe other people want ideas or encouragement about it. I had another mom say, "I like the idea of it, but I just don't think I could do it!
Well, If my crew and I can manage it, I figure anyone could. Of course we could do better in some things. We will be summer schooling to catch up certain subjects. So, we are not perfect, we don't have any genius kids or adults among us. We do get the job done and we (for the most part) enjoy it.
Some may wonder, what do I NEED.
list of basics:
a parent or guardian
library and card
computer and internet access (would be best if at home, but some libraries offer this)
access to printer and copier

With those things you could build your own schooling materials! The internet has so much information and curriculum it is overwhelming. The obvious things to teach are the basics first, reading, writing and math.

*Reading: we used Alphabet Island Phonics for the first three kids and it was wonderful. The 4th kid went through the first book and got NONE of it, but then didnt want to do the same one. I am trying out My Fathers World Kindergarten now for the two younger kids together. But I miss Alphabet Island! I knew how to teach that one. These are both multi sensory learning kits. My Father's world is a Christian focus. is where you get Alphabet Island is where you get the My Father's world kindergarten.

* writing: There are two types of writing. Handwriting, where one learns the actual formation of the letters and numbers. The BEST is Handwriting without tears! The other type of writing is creative writing, or writing for expression. For this, we need to be reading great literature and exposing our kids to lots of different subjects and communicating with them a LOT. I dont even begin this until age ten! I focus on the handwriting and reading to them first.

*Math. ahhh, math..... lol Not my strong point. We tried so many different styles I should get paid to reviews them all. Right now we are loving Teaching Textbooks for big kids. For the littles, I am using simple workbooks from wal-m*art and counting bears, toy money from Meliss* and Doug, and a clock set from Rod and Staff.

*For the other subjects, we love sonlight books and My Fathers world books.I am sort of blending those two!

* For Spelling, we are using All About Spelling, and (AWESOME website!! -- enter their words, and it teaches them, they play games with their words, then it tests them! (if you have headphones for your computer this is great.)

*For readers, I LOVE the McGuffey readers! They are great stories, easy and age appropriate bits of reading. They uphold values and morals we want our kids to know. Lessons our country was originally founded on. Sweet, quaint but real learning.

*For Language, Primary Language lessons, then Intermediate language lessons. Both can be bought from My Father's World.

Art-- Artistic pursuits or Drawing with Children.

* history-- timeline from sonlight!! You enter all important dates you run across on this! It really helps you to see at a glance what things were happening and how the overall picture of history came about.

It doesn't have to cost a fortune to school them. You don't HAVE to get entire packages and sets of things. There are free books online! has an entire section you should look at for free sites and printables! The main idea is to be with your kids, share the joys of learning, while teaching them how to gather and absorb information. Give them LOTS of experiences and "pegs" to put their information on! Exposure to great books is so key. It really is!! Reading aloud as a family is an awesome thing for building family memories, relationships and developing their minds.
We allow the kids to have an outside subject or activity. One is a baseball nut. Two love drama/theater. Two love Dance. We try to keep this stuff limited. I got in over my head this year trying to get caught up in "socializing" our kids and I am simply running around crazy some days. Know when too much has happened and don't do it again. :-) lesson learned from my own lil' school of hard knocks.

My favorite mom books on the subject:
The Charlotte Mason Companion
The way they learn
For the Children's sake
Dumbing us Down
Honey for a Child's heart
I love to talk about homeschooling! I love talking about BOOKS!!! I love being with my kids and seeing them learn. Home educating can be an awesome thing. (yes daunting too, and overwhelming) This is my first year homeschooling all five. So it is an interesting one so far. :-) I hope though, that we can learn and grow and see even more improvement.
Charlotte Mason said atmosphere is 1/3 of education.(what is our home atmosphere??? lol well, we are working on that)
She said that discipline is 1/3 (habits and training are what she meant mostly, I believe)
then that must mean she meant that only 1/3 was actually the books and teaching!(and even that she broke down-- living books (great literature), school books, art supplies, the outdoors,listening and narrating, music, memorizing, playing, arithmetic... etc.


Lori said...

Great post! I *love* homeschooling too...although this times of year, it's more 'tolerance' than love! :)

I'd love more info on the art books you use...can you email me a link or something?


Jean said...

Great post- I am thinking about next year-so I'll be checking out everything you mentioned! Thanks for the great ideas!

I love homeschooling, too! The more I do it the more I love it! Sarah is making great progress! I am no longer fearful of HS the 4 together- thank you Jesus!

The Byrd's Nest said...

Oh I LOVE LOVE LOVE this post! I will begin homeschooling in September with Lottie and Emma and have never done it before....I am very excited and now encouraged by your post. I am also a little be honest:)

I have decided on Heart of Dakota...have you heard of that? And also the McRuffy phonics...what do you think?

The Source said...

I'm liking the Teaching Textbooks also! My boys love doing math now...and I had a huge math-hater going into this school year. We'll be using it for the next grade level as well.

Also, Handwriting Without Tears is awesome! I couldn't say enough nice things about it. My boys were introduced to it through the school system due to being preemies with some issues once they started school.

LesleyReid said...

Hez, this was a wonderful post! Your heart and life comes right out on the pages :) I sure miss ya and excited about your new adventure
I too love Handwriting Without Tears has saved my boys tremendously from MANY tears...Also a great Spelling Program is with rod and staff and CHEAP yet, gives them ALL they need. Teaching Textbooks Math I have found to be the source for us and the kiddos love it. Thanks for sharing keep adding :) Les