Sunday, July 25, 2010

Our Homeschool 2010-2011

I get so many questions and emails about how we homeschool, what curriculum we use, how it's set up, etc that I decided to post it all here in one spot :)   Count yourselves warned ... its gonna be a long one!
I'm always happy to answer questions or help other moms figure things out (as so many other moms have helped me along the way!), so feel free to continue asking!

2010-2011 will be my 5th year to homeschool.  What?!?!   In some ways, I feel like I've got this thing figured out, but in other ways, I still have a lot to learn!   One thing is certain - I still love it as much if not more than when we started!  It is the most rewarding thing I've ever done.  It's not easy.  Some days aren't pretty.  There are sacrifices.  But, I wouldn't trade the relationships I have with my children, the relationships they have with each other or the time I get to spend with them.  The days can be long, but the years are short!  I know I won't look back on this time and wish I'd spent less time with my kids!  :)  (though, there are days right now ... lol!)

This year I have three "official" school aged kiddos as Jadyn starts Kindergarten! 

Our educational approach is fairly eclectic - Leaning heavily Charlotte Mason, with a pinch of Classical and Unit Study approaches, while maintaining a biblical worldview.   I'm not a big fan of recreating the classroom at home, but I am making things more structured this year.  Due to an assortment of life happenings, our last two years have been rather chaotic and UNstructured, so I've spent this summer swinging the pendulum the other way, knowing we'll swing back to our center as this next school year goes along.  The fact of the matter is we get more accomplished when we have structure.  That's not true for everyone, but it is for us.

Here is what our school space looks like (for now).  It gets moved around frequently!  :)
(Unfortunately for my poor husband, who I drive batty with my incessant moving of furniture!  Sorry, honey!)

This is the view as you walk into the game room (AKA our school room)
This is our space for "group time" (see below)
Jacob's desk, curriculum and workboxes in the drawers on the left.
I write all of his assignments for the week on the dry erase board,
so he can work ahead or be prepared to work on the weekends when needed :)
He also has his spelling words and memory verse on there as well.
Jadyn's desk and workboxes
The files on the wall are file folder games & various worksheets
Jordan's desk on the left (Jake's is on the right)
My desk and our table for crafts, games, etc.
The blue chair is our "listening center" for books on tape, etc.
**The quilt was made for Jacob by my great aunt and I love it :)  **
Jace's "workboxes" -
basically quiet toys for him to play with while we are doing school
(and NO, it doesn't always work that way! lol!)

Obviously, we like Sue Patrick's workbox system - and her book: Sue Patrick's Workbox System A User's Guide - it has made homeschooling multiple children so much easier!  I love that I can mix in fun activities with their curriculum work.  It also gives the kids a visual for what they have accomplished as well as what they have left to do.  Most importantly, it keeps the kids working independently for nice stretches of time so I can work 1:1 with each of them.

Our curriculum plan for this year:

*Group Time:  Obviously, all of them at once ...
~Bible:  This summer we started memorizing the verses on Songs for Saplings, so we'll continue that until finished & move on to other memory verses. We'll also use Leading Little Ones to God and our curriculum will have verses and Bible stories we may use as well.   Plus, we memorize the books of the Bible.
~Lapbooks:  Biblical Obedience, Books of the Bible, Jesus Loves the Little Children, Easter, May Day and Jace will have some of his own :)
~Pledge of Allegiance
~Address & important phone #s
~Calendar (Date, Months, Days)
~Shapes, Colors, Weather
~Math (Counting, Skip Counting, Place Value, Money, Graphing)
~Letter of the week (with activities from Jadyn's curriculum, Confessions of a Homeschooler & 1+1+1=1)
~Craft (Art:  Art with Anything, stART activities, etc)
~Read Alouds:  mostly taken from My Father's World curriculum

*Jordan (age 9, 4th grade, Down Syndrome) -
~NACD program
~Main Curriculum:  unit studies and she will be included in some of Jadyn & Jake's curriculum when appropriate for her.
~Reading:  New Practice Readers and I'm Going to Read books (plus, she reads to Jace)
~Math:  Hayes Math Drill books
~Misc:  "The Care and Keeping of You"
~Extra Curricular:  TBD 

*Jacob (age 8, 3rd grade) -
~U.S. History & Geography, Science, Music:  Adventures in My Father's World (I purchased it last year, but we only got through the first 6 weeks.  Thankfully, its designed for 2nd or 3rd grade, so I didn't totally waste my money but I am going to have to tweak it a bit to keep him interested).
~Math:  Saxon (We started Saxon 54 this summer to see if we liked it and we do, so he'll finish that and move into Saxon 65).
~Reading:  New Practice Readers and Reading About Science
~Spelling:  Spelling Power
~Art:  I Can Do All Things
~Handwriting:  A Reason for Handwriting or Cursive Connections ... still undecided!
~Misc:  "Oops, Your Manners are Showing,"  plus a few fun unit studies (and he works with Jace on his colors, shapes, etc)
~Extra Curricular:  Cub Scouts (he'll be working on his Bear rank this year) and Soccer (he will be playing in the Jr. Dynamos Academy and is very excited!)

Jadyn (age 5, Kindergarten) -
~Main Curriculum:  My Father's World Kindergarten (Reading, Science, Literature)
~Math:  We'll start with Math U See and see how she likes it (because I already have it)
~Handwriting:  A Reason for Handwriting
~Music:  KinderBach piano
~Misc: fun unit studies
~Extra Curricular:  Gymnastics

We'll use various other resources as we go along - most of which you can find in my "Homeschool Faves" tab! 
Whew - I think that covers it!  Makes me tired just typing it all - good thing we have a whole year to get through it!


Stacey Webster said...

Love it. How do you do it?

Exum Family said...

I am so thankful that Stephanie introduced your blog to me. Thank you so much for sharing all of this information. My oldest will be 4 at the end of November and I'm starting to wonder how I'm going to be able to do it all. I feel like I'm barely keeping my head above water with my 2 kids (3 and 1) and all of our moves. I am not a routine/schedule person like you. I would love to be more organized, but I'm having so much trouble finding the time to get that way! :) I can't wait to read all of your blog entries. Thank you for doing this and bless your heart with all you have been through this past year.