Sunday, September 12, 2010

What does homeschooling look like?

When you think of homeschooling what do you envision?

The beauty of homeschooling is that it can be anything you want it to be. Kids like to sleep in, let them. Early risers? Start school at 6 am. Kids like to be outdoor? No problem, teach them outside.

The other day Josh was having a rough time, so I put him in to rest. Later that day we finished up our work, actually until 10 at night (we both got so engrossed in book we were reading together.)

But it worked, he got his work done, we spent an enjoyable day together (after his time out), and he slept in a bit the next day. Also he is thrilled that we read an entire 20 something chapter book in one day. I am thrilled his reading is improving so much.

We plan to start around 10 each day, but sometimes we start later or even skip a day to play with friends, visit an ailing Grandparent, or learn by doing (the beach is a favorite for us.)

I feel kids today are so structured and scheduled (activities after school daily, sports, etc. etc.) that family and church life becomes secondary or non existent.

My kids are not doing any sports right now (I know GASP!) They wanted to do football. I considered it, I prayed about it, I even signed them up. But it became clear to me that football did not mesh with the vision I have for my family and homeschooling (Jason came to this conclusion on his own. Josh was wavering, but also did not want to have to go to practice everyday, which is required for all of Aug.)

I have nothing against sports in general, my kids have down soccer, baseball, basketball, karate, and even flag football. However all these sports did not meet on Sunday, but now football games are Sun. at 9:30am or 10:30am (we go to church at 10:30am) or require so much participation that family and church are left no time at all.

We are however, making it a priority to spend time together and with our extended family, especially Jason's great grandfather and my grandmother. My goal is to go visit them each once a week.

We also try to have unstructured time with friends, especially time outside.

Honestly, after religious reasons, and Jason special needs, being outside is the best reason I homeschool. My kids are active all the time. The ride bikes, jump on the trampoline, skateboard, and more before, between, and after school. I think the fresh air and exercise helps them focus on school work even better.

Maybe my ideas appeal to you or repel you, but that's ok, because homeschooling is all about what works for your family, not mine.

That all being said this year for curriculum we are using:

Math - Math U See (Josh is Gamma, Jason is Zeta)
History - Jason Story the World 4, Joshua A Child's Study of Famous Americans
Spelling - Sequential Spelling (Level 2 for Jason, Level 1 for Josh.)
Science - Jason we are doing a study on Environmental Science, including building a solar panel, solar oven, and wind mill; Josh we are doing The Human Body, and Life cycles (including a live frog and butterflies.) I have tons of books (lots of USBORNE) to go with boys science
Language Arts - Jason has daily work in Editor in Chief, if Homework Booklet Grammar, Spectrum Reading, and McGraw Hill Writing, he also has to read a book weekly that corresponds with history, and will be learning outlining and researching for writing; Josh is doing First Language Lessons for the Well Trained Mind, he also has to read a book a week that corresponds with History; each boy also has to write daily in a journal, in complete sentences (7 for Jason, 2 for Josh.)

All of the above will be done Mon.-Thur. Wed. & Fri. afternoons we will meet with another homeschool family to do science and history. So Fri. (as long as all week work is done) the kids have no additional work. This time will be used for doctor's appointments and visiting elderly family. We will also tweak as we need to over the year.

What does your homeschool look like? What changes have you made along the way?