Tuesday, January 28, 2014

When Things Get Crazy (Homeschool Update)

As I mentioned in the last blog post, there was a whole lot of crazy last year.

A lot.

And that meant there were changes all around to keep some sanity going. Especially in the area of school. I had been using pretty much the same thing for years. The same curriculum, schedule, expectations. After all, consistency is good, right?

At the start of the 2012-2013 school year I made a major change trying to adjust to homeschooling with a toddler on the prowl. It was a good curriculum, Charlotte Mason style (which I love) and I was so excited to dive in. It was all good until I realized my kids hated it. Seven weeks into the school year and my kids were already threatening a coup. Oops! So we went back to our old way of doing things as I researched some options to bring more of the Charlotte Mason style that we loved to our school hours again.

This time, it worked. Can you say blessed peace again. :) I'm still making some tweaks here and there. As I continue to get more experience, I'm learning more about the kids learning styles. Homeschool curriculum has exploded. There are so many choices and that it's almost daunting at times. I'm grateful to have the chance to explore new curricula and find what meets my child's learning style.  Math has proved to be our hardest area to find that. I was a devout user of a mastery style math program that emphasized manipulative. There was so much I liked about it until about 3 grade. We tried to struggle through it, but the two oldest went from liking/excelling in math to really struggling. Ty is now using Teaching Textbooks and Becca is using Saxon.

I am in love with our new history program. The Mystery of History has shown me, a self proclaimed history geek, how little I knew of ancient history. We are loving going through the first book that features traditional ancient history along with showing where Biblical characters fit in. It's honestly a little hard for me not to get too far ahead of the kids in reading the book because I love it so much. We absolutely love the activities and ease of lessons. She gives a huge amount of detail in short segments that are easily remembered. And for my craft loving, kinesthetic learners the activities provide wonderful reinforcement. The short writing exercise everyday helps jog their memory for tests and quizzes while leaving room for originality.

We are using Apologia's 6th Swimming Creatures this semester. It's going to make our spring break trip so much more fun having new found knowledge of the ocean. I can't wait to check out the local estuary for the first time. We have used these books many times as references for other studies we were doing, but this is our first time to jump in and work through the whole book. The kids love the activities and the gorgeous pictures throughout the book. The younger two enjoy listening to the stories and leafing through the pages as well.

For English, we have jumped into Winston Grammar and All About Spelling. We are using the same literature book that I read through. It's so much fun to revisit those stories. Currently we are working through Robinson Crusoe. Since we have had such frigid weather this winter, we love to grab a huge blanket and snuggle on the couch as we take turns reading. We also journal or do copy work daily.

We still attend our weekly co-op. Ty and Becca love the art and gym classes there. They also take science and an elective each semester. Hope goes to a few first grade classes as well as the kindergarten class. Bree attends the preschool class. I'm so blessed to have two very dear friends teaching the younger girls. They come home with so new skill every week. This year I taught music first semester and am teaching first aid this semester to 5/6th grade.

It's always a work in progress. I'm learning every season has it's own challenges and those are learning opportunities too. Even if it just means me showing the kids how to put one foot in front of the other on hard days. Or how to show kindness when everyone has been cooped up too long. Or doing your best with the challenges that are in front of you and never giving up even if the results aren't what you hoped for.

I'm so grateful for the chance to teach my children and try to never take it for granted. So many are fighting for the same privilege. I'm trying to treasure these short years through the long days. I'd love to hear from some other homeschooling moms on what works for you!


Extraordinary Ordinary Life said...

I know exactly what you mean about curriculum. I have tried several things. Right now we are trying out classical conversations at home to see if we would like it enough to join a community in the fall. I like it so far but we are only 4 weeks in. I found I love MOH too. I was using SOTW and still do but MOH Vol. 2 is amazing. Neat catching up on what is going on with you.

Rachel said...

How I wish sometimes that homeschool would be the right choice for us.

Right now Itty Bit goes to a WONDERFUL small Christian school where he gets wonderful Godly education along with socialization (important for an only child, as well as one who lives way out in the boonies! :)

I am so glad you listened to that intuition and know your children so well to make these changes for them. I am glad they are working out so well!