We began our Homeschool Adventure in the Fall of 2010 and have never regretted a minute of our family time together. We have 2 girls that we homeschool. We chose to Learn at Home because we were frustrated by getting the girls during the worst part of their day – they were tired, we had to do tons of homework, fix dinner, etc. The teachers had our girls during the best part of their day 30+ hrs a week.
In the Fall 2016 we will have a 9th grader, Megan, and 11th grader, Jessica. We are so proud of all their hard work in school and on farm.
We took our first year to desensitize from formal schooling and try to understand how each individual girl learned. We thought since they were our girls that we knew them, but We had a 3rd grader and a 5th grader and we didn’t really KNOW what they knew and what they didn’t. We basically worked through Elementary Math and English to see at what level they were at what we were going to need to work on the next years. The best thing about Middle School is that it is a Review and Catch-Up season and gives you time to make sure they have mastered skills needed for High School.
We started with a few textbooks and workbooks from many different curriculum companies and/or printed material as needed. We discovered that our family preferred the actual one-on -one teaching style for some subjects and family teaching for other subjects. After researching how the public school system teaches, I discovered they don’t even have textbooks in most of the classrooms. Teachers use internet for some things, Powerpoint, and print a lot of their material from random sites as needed for what would be taught. It can be costly to purchase curriculum and unless you have a child who learns better from a textbook its much cheaper with a little work to plan and put together your own lessons and schoolwork for each child. The resources today for printable free curriculum are too many to number. It takes a little work on the parent to do this, so if your squeezed for time – Textbook and Workbook may be the way to go for your family.
What works for our family learning style may not work for your family. Each family is unique and each child/student is unique.
Here is an idea of how I plan…..I will start planning in March for the following school year.
I use a format printed form from http://www.donnayoung.org/index.htm that allows me to plan subject and then which curriculum or site I will use to help them learn what we would like them to learn. I then sit with the internet and research the subject matter and see what I can find to fulfill what they will be learning for the year. If I come up with nothing, then we switch gears to textbooks/and or literature as needed. The Library is great for most of these searches you can find FREE resources.
This is a list of subjects and where I pull from when I start the search….
Bible – We have used many different things throughout the years for our Bible. Our main thing was to teach the girls to spend time daily in the Word. We used Apologetics, different books meant for growing young ladies, scripture memorization, Character Traits, and the list goes on. Whatever we may be going thru at the time was a learning lesson.
English – http://allinonehomeschool.com/ ; http://amblesideonline.org/curriculum.shtml ; http://oldfashionededucation.com/ ; Easy Grammar; Grammar Ace; Our Mother Tongue; All In One English; Mad Libs; http://www.grammarbook.com/ ; Growing with Grammar; Queen Language Arts
Spelling/Vocabulary – We do Dictation using Bible or other literature; Natural Speller; http://www.splashesfromtheriver.com/spelling/ ; English from Roots Up
Literature – I used some http://allinonehomeschool.com/ literature study guides or research and print our own according to literature we have chosen. We read a mix of literature connected to History, Science, English, etc so it is not a stand alone subject.
We try to include Poetry to read, examine, and discuss to include researching the Poet and his/her life and accomplishments. We do the same with Famous Musicians and Famous Artists.
Math – this is one subject that once you get to Algebra you may opt for workbooks! Through Elementary and Middle School we used mostly printed worksheets to make sure the girls mastered the facts. EasyPeasy Math was great for Megan because she loved the supplemental games for learning. Jessica used YAY Math because she liked the way the instructor delivered the lesson material.
History – We wanted to teach History from the beginning and EasyPeasy had put together the same outline from Creation thru Modern so we decided to use some of her layout. Why overwork ourselves when someone else has done the work. I used my curriculum planner and laid out what we wanted to cover and using the Bible and other resources (videos, printable worksheets, crafts, literature) we learned HIStory through Creation, Egypt, Greece, Rome, Middle Ages, Renaissance, Modern day(American and World). It took a little planning on my part to make sure all worksheets, literature, and crafts were ready for the learning day and it took a couple of years to get through, but we learned a lot. We then have moved on to a study of Civics and VA and we added the Holocaust(because I never learned about it and had an interest so we all learn). We will begin our next study focusing Government, and Economics to include the Election in the Fall.
Science – We enjoyed using Easy Peasy for Science because she had laid out 180 of lesson material and we just pulled what we wanted. It kept us on track. We just added literature, experiments, and etc as needed. We also used Exploring the World of Biology and Chemistry and really enjoyed them.
Foreign Language – Jessica wanted to take Spanish so we used Rosetta Stone which we tolerated but it wasn’t our favorite. We used a mixture of printable worksheets,http://allinonehomeschool.com/ , http://www.fluencia.com/, http://www.studyspanish.com/tutorial.htm, etc. Megan wanted to take Sign Language and YEP its approved in VA as a second Language. We are using some material that a friend has loaned us and her expertise. We also have a couple of free programs we will try this upcoming year.
HOME Economics to include CPR and First Aid
Homesteading – (some of these cross over into Home Economic Class) animal care, gardening, cooking, sewing, health
Driver’s Ed with Car Maintenance
Guitar, Piano, Violin
Hospitality and Service – accomplished through volunteering at Church concerts, dinners, and events and volunteering at the Chesterfield Food Bank.
GRADES – grades are not needed in Elementary or Middle unless you are taking a High School level class that you will use for credit. Grades are given in schools to allow the parents to know what the child is doing. You will know what you child is doing and how they are performing on different subjects. Our rule of thumb is subject matter being learned will be mastered before moving on there is no reason to pass or fail. You will need to test on subject matter in High School level work to allow you to keep track of GPA for Transcripts.
In these last 2-3yrs we began our Homestead Adventure alongside HOMElearning to get a more hands on approach to how to run a home and how to care for things/animals. We began getting animals and raising them and learning about them. We have learned to be frugal by cutting out most of our paper products and replacing with reusable items. We have learned to make our own cleaning products, laundry, soaps, personal items(deodorant, toothpaste, shampoo, shave)(one day I will load all those recipes). We have learned to sew- we made aprons and utility bags. We have learned to tolerate each other 24/7 and have survived. We have become a close family and love every minute of our family times.
This is a lot of information and most of it is randomly jotted down, we sure hope it makes sense. If you have any questions, we are available to discuss what we have learned along the journey and help if we can.
God Bless You for following your Heart to Learn together as a family!