Thursday, August 08, 2013

Homeschool Curriculum 2013

This poor blog has been so neglected!  Maybe the fact that I took 2.1 million pictures of AK and have only take 22 of Brooks would account for my neglect.  Trying to pick back up and carve a little time to keep up with this, namely, for my own records!  But I have had several questions about our homeschool life lately so I decided to join a link up with the ihomeschool network for the Back-to-School Blog Hop this month.
It seems appropriate that I post today, seeing as it is the first day of school for our public school district and living and growing up in this small, precious community, 80% of my friends are administrators or school teachers.  And seeing homeschooling is definitely not the trend here, 98% of my kiddo's friends are going back today.  Consequently, it is one of those bittersweet days for me...I HATE the feeling of being left out of anything and the communal excitement of the first day is something we don't get to share.  There is a lot of bittersweet for me in homeschooling...but I know beyond a shadow of a doubt it is what we are called to and I love the fruit I see everyday as a result of the seeds being sown because of it.  Maybe one day I will write a post on the EMOTIONS of homeschooling...that decision and all that goes into it.  Though, I am not one to put a ton of stock in emotions seeing as they are human and subject to circumstance...they simply are not to be trusted.  But it is still the relational that connects I truly might just do that in the future!
Now, on to our curriculum this year!
Abby Kate will be going into 2nd grade; Bo into PreK and Brooks is still a toddler (2).  I am finding the order or rhythm of our day is going to be a bit tricky.  I am a routine girl, but love freedom to change.  I have to have some sort of structure in place to follow and am still working on what that looks like for us this next year.  With two VERY high energy boys that have very little focus, it is super hard to have a "normal" school day.  However, after reading several amazing homeschool books, the wisdom I walked away with applicable to us is that we have PLENTY of time.  My kiddos love to learn...and they LOVE to play.  My child development classes taught me the correlation between the two way back in college, before I had even been around children on a daily basis.  My kids pull at threads all day, often resulting in research through youtube videos, articles, books, etc...and that knowledge STICKS.  They often tell others (a sign of true learning) and can remember it years after.  I love that knowledge trumps memorization for us right now.  A dear friend of mine emailed me several months ago and we got into an amazing conversation about homeschooling.  We share the same heart for our families and homeschool objectives and I was so encouraged and inspired by our correspondence.  She shared...

What we toil over with "schooling" our children these early years, isn't always time well spent. God commands us to make best use of the time for the days are evil (Eph 5:16) ... Now, please hear me when I say this is where God has OUR family. We all need to pray and tread where God leads us as individual families. Now, you and I know the bible likens us to sheep as well - animals prone to follow whoever seems to be leading somewhere. I think it can be all too easy to follow homeschooling crowds or cultural pressures to "school" our kiddos. For our family, our goal isn't to school the kids in effort to make them smart, it's to educate our kids and help them seek the One who is able to pour out wisdom. The goal is godly wisdom - one our entire family is seeking after.
All this to say, it's helped me keep things in perspective - especially when I feel pressure creeping up to "do school" I glance at the 1st and 2nd grade math books still closed in bins we are not presently using and I can hear the whispering lies Satan uses to distract me. What if my kids don't know what they are "supposed" to? I have to catch myself... Who determined what that list of requirements entails? If God made all of us fearfully and wonderfully, we can't all possibly line up at the same time at the same rate ... ya know?

All of this has just made me wonder why I have stressed and tried to align myself with standards that I left when I was called to home educate the kids. My kids tell others we haven't done school since last fall. That's a good thing. It means they are learning the way you and I do every single day - reading things we are interested in - telling others about it - engaging in those things... it means that, for right now (we will do more formal lessons later on) all of life is learning and we're not separating things into "school" and "life" ...  I want my focus to be on God and missionaries and habits like picking up after yourself and telling the truth no matter what. These are skills I think are foundational to all of learning and life. So I want to focus on those these early years... even at age 9 or 10 they are just coming into more of themselves and their brains... so they can better grasp educational ideas... and if we hold off, we don't burn them out before they are ready. 

This was such an eloquent way to communicate my heart as well.  So I wanted to use all of this to preface my curriculum discussion.  We do not sit down and do hours of school right now.  One day we might but right now, we may do short bursts at a time or may have whole days that we don't sit down and "do" school.  But they learn every, single day.

I did purchase Heart of Dakota for AK.  I researched it a ton and did not see many negative reviews.  I love how you can open it and go with VERY little to no prep time.  We will continue to do Saxon Math and Handwriting without Tears.  She is reading on a 4th grade level so we will just continue to read both her to us and me to them.

I was given a TON of precious material for Bo from a family friend that retired from teaching PreK for 35 years.  I will obviously season most of it with Scripture and character lessons but I love the unit studies!  I have planned through December for him and have a different unit study each week...

But mostly, we will play.  We are planting a GIANT garden in the spring...and will begin readying the land this fall.  We are also getting chickens in the spring so will begin building the coop this winter.  We have been slowly making the switch to clean eating and prayerfully will be able to grow and raise all our own food in the next few years.  I cannot wait for my children to learn the processes of learn work ethic, to learn trusting the Father to truly supply...

I am deeply excited about this year...namely that we have a new homeschool room where all can stay organized and contained!  Praying for increased wisdom and knowledge for the kiddos and steadiness and joy for me!