Homeschooling Part I

They don't have to walk to a bus stop or even to the end of our block to school. The farthest they have to travel is from their bedrooms to the kitchen table... aka the classroom.

There are no morning battles about what to wear to school because most days, as long as we are just staying home, pajamas and sweatpants are the clothing items of choice.

Last week we started our fourth year of homeschooling.  I was so ready to have some type of schedule and routine again.  I think the kids were ready too.  This year we are running on a modified year round schedule.  We will take a longer fall break, a break at Thanksgiving, a long Christmas break, and then a longer spring break.  I am excited to see how this schedule flows for our family. 

Over the past year it seems that I have had more questions about homeschooling, why we homeschool, how we manage our day, etc... Since we started back to school I thought this might be a good time to address some of those questions. (as I was writing this it started to get long so i am going to do this post in two parts)

Why do we homeschool?
If you would have asked me four years ago when we moved to Idaho if I would homeschool I would have laughed.  The idea of homeschooling had never entered my mind. ever. I was a public school teacher by trade for ten years.  

When we moved to Idaho, we met family after family that homeschooled their children. This was our first experience really knowing anyone who homeschooled their children. In my lifetime I had only known one family to homeschool that was part of our 4-H group and they were just very ... different.  My idea of what a homeschool family looked like had begun to change.

By the spring of Morgan's Kindergarten year, I was feeling very led by God to homeschool her for first grade.  At first I kept ignoring the nudging God was giving me but he kept pursuing me on this issue.  I decided to take a closer look at homeschooling and attend a local homeschool convention. When I mentioned it to a friend, she said she was going and so were four other women from our church.   After attending that conference, I felt convicted to homeschool Morgan.

How long will you homeschool?
This is probably the question I am asked most often. I don't know how long we will homeschool. We take it year by year but for now it works great for our family.

Do you have a schedule?
Yes, but not a strict schedule.  The kids get up between 7:00 and 7:30 am.  They eat breakfast and do their morning chores.  We generally start school by 8:30 am.  We do "core" curriculum first thing in the morning: grammar, spelling, reading, math, and writing. If we have time in the morning we will also do our science, history, etc... If we run short on time we do those activities in the afternoon.  

What do you use for curriculum?
I have used the same program for math all four years and love it. It is called Making Math Meaningful. It is a hands on manipulative based program.  Last year for grammar I started using a program called Learning Language Arts Through Literature. It has been great.  This year for Landon with phonics we are starting to use Phonics Pathways. I haven't used it before but I am looking forward to trying it out with him.  In the past Morgan's spelling has been included with her other language arts work but it wasn't very challenging for her so this year I am trying a spelling program called Spelling Power. So far I like it and Morgan really enjoys it. I have also used the same curriculum that encompasses history, science, social studies, and bible.  It is called KONOS.  The last two years we have done the curriculum through on online coop but this year we are doing a semester long study on Africa (studying the character trait of stewardship) with four other families.  The kids are soaking up all they can about Africa. It is so fun to see them get so excited.

I will have more answers to questions on Thursday.  If you have anything you would like to know leave me a comment and I will try to answer your question in Thursdays post.


denise said...

Thanks so much for posting about your family's experience with homeschooling. My husband and I are thinking about homeschooling our daughter, but I can't say that we feel "called" to do that (at least not yet). This fall, we have enrolled her in a preschool at a Christian school to kind-of test that option as well.

I hope you don't mind me asking, but one question I have is if your kids are pretty self-motivated to do their work? Do you think this is important in a homeschooled student?

britney said...

Great experience with home schools is it!!!
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Lynn said...

Interesting post. We're not at the point where we need to make this decision yet....a lot of it will depend on where we are living when Adeline is "of age."

I love that you are not the "typical homeschool family."....although, I think the stereotype has been changing. One of my dear friends told me you have been giving her some great advice. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

Perhaps your "long spring break" would be a great time for a family vacation....say to Montana. ;o)

Jenni S. said...

Thanks for posting this, Kristen. A couple of friends have just recently decided to homeschool, and a couple more have been doing it for a few years now. It's interesting to see all the varying perspectives on it.

Short Stop said...

You know I'm loving every word of this! Looking forward to more...