Homeschooling Begins!

July 15, 2014 § Leave a comment

We always knew we would homeschool. I started doing my research when my oldest child was 18 months old so I would have an idea of what to expect. We tried implementing a preschool curriculum, only to find out that my child was finishing a week’s worth of school in 45 minutes. Do we have a boy-genius on our hands? Or is that much time really wasted in school?

 

Since I got my curriculum early, I decided to start school early, to work out the kinks. And boy am I glad I did! I’m learning a lot about my little man, myself, our lives, and how this is all going to come together. We chose (for this year, anyway) to go with a Distributed Learning program, through a private Christian school. Here in BC, Canada, that means we will work with a certified BC teacher, and design our own learning outcomes that match (or exceed) what the government requires for each grade in a standard school. I have no doubt that MY PLO’s (personal learning outcomes) will exceed what the government wants, so I’m not too worried about my little man reaching their goals. What I’m unsure about is reporting back to the teacher, keeping solid records, and getting report cards every year. With this DL (Distributed Learning) program, little man also has the opportunity to attend community classes once a week, where he will “go to school” with other kids his age, and have a bit of a “school” experience.

 

Here is what we’re using this year, and how I feel about each.

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  • Math – Math-U-See – I LOVE this program, and anticipate that I will use it FOREVER.

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  • Language Arts – Learning Language Arts Through Literature – I don’t love this so far. But I have other homeschooling friends who assure me that year 1 is the bad year, and it gets way better after that.
  • Language Arts – Explode the Code – I LOVE this for reading/language.
  • French – The Easy French/Francais Facile – I’m not sure about this yet. I may have gone with the wrong portion of the program. We’ll see. But I do know there isn’t much for French programs for kindergarten, as most people don’t start that this early. This isn’t a requirement until fifth grade, but it’s a preference on my part.
  • Socials – My First Map Book by Apple Press. I love this one as well – lots of left and right, cutting, which my little guy loves, glueing, etc.

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  • Socials – Living Books for Life – this was created by a homeschooling mom in BC who wanted to make sure her kids learned what the BC guidelines required, so she wrote her own curriculum based on the government required. It’s great for an “out of the box” curriculum, but I’m not impressed for us personally, so far.
  • Science – the World God Made – we haven’t used this too much yet. But I haven’t found much for science that I feel I’m thrilled with. My other homeschooling friends have informed me that for Kindergarten and Grade 1, your options are VERY limited, and you sort of have to suffer through, and supplement online.
  • TeachersPayTeachers.com – the BEST resource I have found yet. You can find nearly any worksheet for any subject you desire. Some are paid, some are free. So far, I’ve found everything I need free.

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So far, I’m feeling a tiny bit like I could have bought math, and found everything else for free. Which the school did tell me, but I had wanted something easy, since I have two younger children at home, and it’s my first year homeschooling. Unfortunately, I’m finding that I’d rather put my own program together than use an “out of the box” program. I’m not sure why this surprises me – it’s how I typically do things. I don’t follow recipes, I use them as a guideline instead. I don’t follow schedules – my life works itself into its own schedule instead. I don’t like watching TV shows then they’re on, I’d rather download them or watch On Demand when I feel like watching them. So why would homeschooling be any different?

It’s a learning curve, all around. I’m finding that right now, when it’s extraordinarily hot outside, none of us have the energy for schoolwork. Some days, all we do is read a book (which little man learned to read ALL BY HIMSELF last week), and other days we do a full two hours of school. That’s the beauty of homeschooling.








Research Research Research

June 13, 2012 § Leave a comment

 

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a research freak. I research anything and everything like crazy before I even think about spending my husband’s hard earned money. I researched my first stroller like crazy, and even had to specially order it, but it was perfectly what I wanted. When our number two child surprised us, I researched our double stroller like crazy, and I love it. When we purchased our ten year old minivan, I researched it like crazy to discover it had the highest safety ratings of any other minivan at the time. So we bought it. I research. It’s what I do.

Now I am researching the art of homeschooling. I didn’t say curriculum, because I am discovering that curriculum is just one tiny portion of what homeschooling is. You have to have a system, and organization, and you, the teacher, have to enjoy what you’re doing. You have to decide if you want to be the one doing all the preparation, or do you want to pay extra to have the company do all the prep. You have to decide if you’re going to start with a five-day preschool, or a 3-day preschool. You have to decide if you want to go with a traditional academic approach, or one of the other less mainstream approaches. You have to decide if you want your “school” to be highly structured, or more “go with the flow”.

After a couple of weeks of research, I’m starting to discover what kind of teacher I am. I’m being drawn to a more traditionally academic approach, with a bit of Charlotte Mason (literature based) thrown in. I’m being drawn to doing my own prep and planning, so I can tailor it to myself and my kids (which is cheaper anyway). I’m leaning towards a 3-day preschool, since the whole “school” idea is brand new. I like to do my own printing and laminating, and cutting and gluing. I like to be in charge of what my kids are doing and learning. I’m one of those crazy people who gets excited about purchasing a laminating machine, and 26 3-ring binders for my letters of the week.

I think this homeschooling thing might be fun.

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