I love this time of year. Researching curriculum choices, buy new school supplies, planning field trips and activities. The possibilities the new year holds are endless.
We’ve made some changes to our school room and curriculum this year and I wanted to share them with you.
Like most first time homeschool moms, I purchased each grade level kit when we first started 3 short years ago. I was eager, excited, and ready to teach Every. Single. Subject. to Every. Single. Kid. That eagerness and excitement lasted approximately two weeks. Then I realized there weren’t enough hours in the day to do it all. I wanted their homeschool experience to mimic their school experience. I was scared that they’d miss something and that somehow I’d fail them by not making sure that they did everything they would have done at school exactly as they would have done it.
I. Was. Wrong.
This year I have taken on a slightly more minimalist approach to homeschooling. I’ve found that our personal homeschool groove lies somewhere between traditional schooling and classical learning. We do traditional lessons and worksheet work for the core subjects, English and Math are both done very much like a classroom would. They boys do their own grade level and are taught separately.
We abandoned our structured reading curriculum this year in favor of good old fashioned books. I want reading to be something that they love to do, not something that they have to do. So this year, we’ll go to the library and hopefully foster a passion for paper rather than electronics.
Our history and science programs are more classical this year. We’re using Apologia Zoology 1, Flying Creatures of the Fifth Day for science. I really like that it’s immersive, they get a great deal of information about one topic rather than just a little bit of a lot of different topics. We read each chapter together and discuss it. There are no tests or worksheets although the boys do have journals to keep track of new vocabulary words and interesting facts they learn through our reading and discussions. Each chapter has optional activities that get us outside, exploring nature. Instead of sitting in a classroom memorizing facts, we’ll be reading, talking and exploring real life. I am also super excited that I’m teaching science ONCE a day rather than to each kid separately.
For history we’re starting The Story of the World. The approach is very similar to Apologia. We read, discuss and journal. There are also some very cool projects to do with each chapter, for instance, Chapter 1 is on ancient civilizations and Mesopotamia, our project is doing our own cave paintings and hieroglyphics. I love that both of these curriculum are much more hands on and get us learning together.
Another thing I am implementing this year will be morning time. I’ve put together a basket of items (search Pinterest for Morning Baskets and find a ton of homeschoolers suggestions on what to use) to start our day. Our devotional and bible story book will be in there, some math fact flash cards for the boys, their daily journal, and our read aloud book. I’ve also included some Play Doh, Legos and some other items to keep the little hands busy as I read to them.
I am also beginning preschool with Olivia this year. I decided not to do a formal curriculum, instead opting for a few readiness books out of the Target dollar bin (love that section!) and some fun and educational busy bags that focus on colors, shapes and numbers. Because Liv will take some of my school time from the boys we have also switched to a DVD lead math program for each of them. It takes that teaching time away from me and fosters some independent learning in them. Win win. Teaching Textbooks is a spiral math program that has been used by many homeschoolers for years. I think it’s going to be a really great fit for our family! I’ll be sharing a review after our first semester to let you know how it’s working!
We also are beginning a Freedom Fridays group that, obviously, meets on Friday. Each month we will have an art and science project, an oral presentation and one fun play day. I’m really excited about all the fun things we have planned to enjoy our Fridays while learning cool stuff!
So that’s it, that’s our year. I’m praying over this year. I’m implementing more time together and more independence in learning. I’m working to foster a love of reading rather than completing the task. What are you doing this year?