Thursday, July 29, 2021

Diving into another Homeschool Year

It is hard to believe that I am already entering our 9th year of homeschooling. This year we will have a preschooler, 1st grader, 2nd grader, 4th grader, 6th grader, and 7th grader. In case you lost count, that is SIX children that I will be guiding through their education this year. Oh, and we will have a toddler at home. 

I admit that I may be a little crazy, but I am so excited about this year. I am also not going at it alone this year. I have Jesus and coffee 🤣

Plus we decided to outsource some things this year. Our preschooler to a Mother's Day Out program two days a week, which will help him break out of his shell, give him some age appropriate opportunities for play, and allow me to focus on the older children. We will also be participating in a homeschool co-op for some extracurriculars, and our older two will be utilizing some video/virtual classes.

(Not all school takes place in a “classroom”. We love Roadschooling and a lot of our learning takes place out in nature).

 The number one question I get asked as a homeschooling mom is, “What curriculum do you use to teach all those kids?” I will share with you what “boxed” curriculum we use, but it’s important to know that our homeschool does not fit inside any box. I don’t even teach neatly inside one particular methodology. We fall someone between Charlotte Mason and unschooling with a strong pull towards wild and free. We have two goals for our children. The first is that they grow in their knowledge and understanding of the Lord Jesus Christ. The second is that they develop a life long desire to learn. In everything we do I try to connect it back to God and also to experiences. The curriculum books we use are simply a springboard. A typical day starts in our textbooks, which may lead to a “living book”, which may then lead to some imaginative play in the woods, which could lead to a discovery, which then leads to a YouTube video, which leads to a journal entry, which perhaps leads to an art, which inspires and leads to a music, and so on. The textbooks we use to jumpstart our learning have changed some over the years (you can see what we used in the 2018-2019 school year and 2020-2021 school year and check out my Homeschooling page), but here is what we have planned for the upcoming school year.

HISTORY: Everyone (yes, our preschooler all the way through our 7th grader) will be doing World Cultures. I decided to go with MasterBooks' Passport to the World as the backbone. Because we have so many ages I have had to put some work into expanding this curriculum to engage all ages, but I'm really happy with the Teacher's Guide and accompanying books. I have been scouring the thrift stores on a weekly basis for picture books on the countries. We received Little Passports for a couple of years, so I consulted with those guides and other homeschool blogs to find supplemental activities. I planned a lot of crafts, sensory bins, recipes, composer studies, missionary spotlights, and more! We will also be starting our mornings with World Watch News. Be sure to follow us on Instagram because this is sure to be a fun year!

(One of my thrift store hauls… everything here totaled only $6.50!!!)

Anatomy & Physiology

SCIENCE: I was first introduced to Apologia science a few years ago when I was teaching Physical Science and Physics at a co-op. I fell in love with the curriculum and we have been using Apologia for science ever since. This year we are studying Exploring Creation with Human Anatomy and Physiology as a family. Again, I have been hitting up the thrift stores on a daily basis to add some picture books to engage our little learners. I am also putting together a sensory bin that I am pretty excited about, and added these cool finds from Amazon.

General Science

Our 7th grader will be doubling up on sciences this year. Human Anatomy is the one Young Explorers textbook that she never went through. She thinks she wants to go to college for Physical Therapy or Sports Medicine so she doesn't want to miss out on this course, but she also wants to stay on track and take General Science. While I absolutely love the sciences, I do not have the time to prepare lessons for two sciences and we are trying to increase independence, so we decided the best route for her would be to use the Video on Demand General Science Homeschool Course offered by Apologia. She got a head start this summer since she knows she will have a heavy load this school year, and so far she has been very happy with the videos and the course.

MATH: We are still using Math for a Living Education by Masterbooks with each child in their own level (with the exception of our 6th and 7th grader whom will be doing virtual math with my sister). The stories at the start of each chapter help our children see the real world connection, plus I love how it has character training and other subjects interwoven. A great place to teach math is in the kitchen, and boy are there some yummy recipes in the book! I'm sure we will be using some of these recipes as we travel through our World Cultures studies. 

ENGLISH: We are also still using English for a Living Education for our 1st through 4th grader. Again, I love how it incorporates bible study and character training. 

We will continue with daily writing prompts, as these were a huge hit in our homeschool last year. We fell into a rhythm last year of Imagination Monday (creative writing), Tea Time Tuesday (poetry prompt), Wacky Wednesday (silly prompt), Think It Thursday (problem solving prompt), and Free Write Friday. 

Visit my Teachers Pay Teachers store to grab your FREE Ants Writing Prompts. While you are there be sure to click "Follow Me". More fun resources to come!

READING: We have a few children with dyslexia, dysgraphia, and working memory dysfunction. They were receiving tutoring until the COVID shutdown. During the shutdown we discovered Treasure Hunt Reading, which is a free program by Prenda Learn (we did buy the workbook, but you can print yourself). Their website describes it as following “an Orton-Gillingham, multi-sensory, systematic approach to literacy to support learners of all levels and abilities.” Two of our boys will be working through the remainder of this program. We supplement with lots of other hands on activities, games, and early readers. As they near the end of Treasure Hunt Reading I add in the Abeka Readers, and our elementary aged children will continue working through the Abeka Reading program at their own page. 

 I have a fun CVC Treehouse Climb in my Teacher's Pay Teachers store that is a fun way to get lots of practice. You can even use an army man or other figurine to climb the ladder.

Our 6th grader will be doing To Every Nation 2 by Not Consumed, which will use the 12 books from the Christian Heroes Then and Now series to tie together history, geography, language arts, and character study. (Save $5 off your order at Not Consumed with this link).

Our 7th grader will be taking English Literature: Exploring Biblical Principles through Literature. It will be her first live, online class through Apologia. Our little extrovert is very excited about having "classmates".

TYPING: Also designed with dyslexics in mind, we will continue with TTRS (Touch Type Read Spell). It is a no frills typing program but I absolutely love that I can customize and add in their reading lists, science vocabulary words, history facts, and more. It really helps to reinforce all of our other subjects while also teaching them to type, which we believe is a valuable life skill. 

EXTRACURRICULARS: The girls are involved in competitive gymnastics and the boys do BMX racing. Music is a big part of their education. They five oldest take piano lessons, and they also have started learning ukulele, guitar, violin, and most recently added mandolin. It’s not uncommon for me to say, “Why don’t you write a song about that.” Whether it is a history lesson, science lesson, bible memorization, or even math facts, we have found that putting it to music helps us learn. Our 7th grader will also be learning calligraphy and our 6th grader will focus on drawing and possibly add some watercolors this year. Which brings me to another aspect of our homeschool -  entrepreneurship and financial literacy. They are never too young to learn how to make and manage money. I love seeing the creative business plans they come up with. Check out their online Etsy shop to see their latest projects for sale. 

That about sums up our homeschool! Are you a veteran homeschooler, new homeschooler, or considering homeschooling? I’d love to connect with you on Instagram @pocketful_of_treasures

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