Book Minute: This is My Home, This is My School

this is my home, this is my school Just taking a quick minute to tell you guys about a good book, This is My Home, This is My School by Jonathan Bean.

reading books

I found this book at the library and it's such a sweet look at the author's childhood in a homeschooling family. The artwork is unique and really nicely done as well.  It even includes some photographs at the end of his family's homeschooling life. I just loved it!

reading books

I like it when my kids get to hear about grownups' or other kids' experience homeschooling-- it feels validating and reminds them why this journey is so special.

Check your library for this book or you can grab it on Amazon.

I might try to make this into a little ongoing series, Book Minute, where I share a quick look at a book we like. :)

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Realities must trump ideals

recognize reality I have a lot of ideals about homeschooling. But as it turns out, we don't live in an ideal world. We live in reality. So this year, I've made a few changes that while maybe not ideal in my own eyes, have made our homeschool a bit more realistic for where we are right now.

I'm still keeping those ideals tucked away in my heart-- they are not abandoned-- but I'm not letting them weigh me down and tell me our homeschool is a failure because we aren't living up to them. 

I'll apply aspects of them to areas where I can, and I'll let them influence my decisions and function as more of a filter in my homeschool planning than a game plan.

girls at the coffee shop

What this looks like right now

As second semester began at the beginning of this month, Gigi began attending classes at a new charter school. There were a lot of reasons for this change, but the biggest result of this change is that now we are loosely following lesson plans that are given by the charter school for our at-home time.

I have balked at this type of system since we began homeschooling three and a half years ago, but the truth is, while it does not fall into the category of ideal for me, there are a lot of benefits to it, especially for Gigi.

For example, being more accountable to the school, and less to only me is something that relieves a little of the tension between the two of us. And we can still add in whatever extra stuff we want like memory work, nature study, cursive, etc. It still lets us function as an eclectic mostly-classical, Charlotte Mason-inspired homeschool.

reading charlie and the chocolate factory

And I do still have the ability to substitute my own curriculum where desired (we are doing most of our own math still for example), but as it turns out, I'm actually loving the school's literature unit that we are doing that's based around reading Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (and so are the kids, which is the best part).

Thinking ahead to next year, while I would ideally like my younger kids to stay where Brody is (the charter school where we've been since we started homeschooling), for at least the primary grades, reality tells me that having all my kids at the same school, would be better for my sanity and our family's functioning.

We'll see how it all shakes out, but for now I'm feeling at peace about recognizing our reality instead of being frustrated that we're not living up to my ideals. 

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Pre-K & Kinder in 2015-2016: Curriculum

our simple kindergarten curriculum (pre-k friendly) Brody is thrilled to be starting kindergarten, and at just fourteen months behind him, Hallee is officially a pre-k-er this year! After watching Brody and Hallee interact, observe and participate in the homeschooling we've done to this point, I've decided to begin teaching both of them the same material this year.

I'm primarily focusing on reading, writing, and math with them (I've heard this referred to as "reading, writing, & 'rithmetic, which is kind of cute), for their specialized kindergarten work.

letters and numbers for me

For reading lessons/phonics, we are using The Ordinary Parent's Guide to Teaching Reading (and Bob books eventually); for handwriting we are using Letters and Numbers for Me, by Handwriting Without Tears, and for math we are starting with Math-u-See Primer. It's pretty basic, but I like that they enjoy it and are breezing through it. I'm hoping that make math seem super fun for them and not a burden.

The fun thing about having an older student in the family is that B & H get exposed to a lot of what Gigi is learning. So even though I'm not "requiring" in-depth history work for them (Susan Wise Bauer recommends starting Story of the World in first grade), they are learning right along side us and joining in with lessons activities whenever they can. They love getting their own copy of the mapwork and trying to follow along for example.

On regular homeschool days, they are also taking part in a lot of what Gigi does-- in memory work and other morning time activities, enjoying our family read-alouds, games, and also learning some Spanish and a bit of Latin (but that one I'm gearing towards Gigi primarily).

brody off to kinder classes

At our charter school's learning center Brody has language arts and a bit of math enrichment, drama, chess, Spanish and health/wellness (basically a P.E. class).

Hallee gets the special blessing of having her own little "school day" outside of the home, too -- a dear friend of ours who used to be a preschool teacher and has a daughter the same age as Hallee decided to invite a few friends to join them for a little preschool morning on an almost-weekly basis. Hallee had her first class last week and loved it!

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3rd grade in 2015-2016: Curriculum

3rd grade curriculum It's hard to believe that we are going into our fourth year of homeschooling and that Gigi will be in 3rd grade! Here's what curriculum we are planning to use this year (which could always change, of course, but this is what we'll be starting with).

For language arts and social studies we'll be looping some of our curriculum (see that plan here), rather than trying to fit it all in each homeschool day.

Language Arts

Cursive- finishing up Cursive Handwriting and beginning Cursive Success

Grammar- First Language Lessons Vol 2

Writing- Writing With Ease Vol 1, Story Starters (found this spiral flip book at Lakeshore and it looks really fun!)

Spelling- Purposeful Design (we'll keep going in the Grade 2 book)

Reading- books of her choice, classics and more TBD (I just got a huge pile of books from a former homeschool mom to look through!)

Super excited to try these new-to-us language options:

Song School Spanish

Song School Latin

Math

Math-U-See Beta/Gamma

Life of Fred Elementary Series (Gigi is currently finishing up Cats)

Social Studies

Story of the World Vol 3, supplemented with A Child's History of the World and various encyclopedias and literature

Liberty's Kids DVD series, plus some U.S. history/geography projects

CC History Timeline song

Other

Gigi really loved our introduction to Shakespeare last year so I'm thrilled to keep learning more about him and his stories and memorizing passages with the kids.

Tales from ShakespeareHow to Teach Your Children Shakespeare, Usborne's Illustrated Stories from Shakespeare

Keyboarding Without Tears

Long Story Short (this is the devotional that goes with our church's children's curriculum)

Exploring Grace Together devotional

Corinthians study (Community Bible Study)

Gigi will be hopefully taking a math/science project-based class at her learning center, and then we will supplement with nature journaling, and some science that relates to our history units.

At the charter school's learning center, Gigi will also be taking drama (her fave!), art, chess, and horticulture/economics (where they do gardening and usually some kind of market project where they design and make some kind of product or service to sell at the holiday market).

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