I am a “Modern Homeschool Mom” meaning homeschooling is just part of my day and I don’t see lesson planning and research as my whole life, I like to use technology to our advantage and I created a curriculum that is based on my child, his learning style and our style as a family.
We do school the first few hours of our day (usually 2-3 hours) I am a morning person and love having the rest of the day for field trips, gym sessions, errands and most importantly PLAY TIME! I like to start between 8-9am and finish by 10-11am depending on when we start, this allows us lots of time for games, read alouds and being outside together. As my boys get older I want to travel more and help them see the world and not just hear about it.
We chose an online curriculum as the basis for his 3rd grade (Brooks is 8) and this gives him some independent time for school and me time to do some learning games with his younger brother Sullivan (age 4) we love www.time4learning.com so much! It’s 5 subjects for $19.99 per month (Math, Science, Social Studies, Language Arts and Language Arts Extension) I put in our start day (August 14th) and finish day (May 5th) and then it calculates all the lessons plans within our days- hurray! They also keep track of what lessons are completed and all his grades- double yay!
To make our online curriculum easiest for B we asked for this Google Chrome laptop for Christmas 2015 from my parents. It’s a steal at about $200 and folds back as a touch screen as well, he loves it. The keyboard is smaller and easier to type for his size hands, this computer was a great solution to him using my Macbook which stressed me and I also couldn’t work on my computer when he was working.
Besides our T4L we are doing chores, handwriting, reading, art and games on the side- we love using games to teach character, winning/losing and just to add FUN into our daily lives. My goal is to hug and laugh with my boys daily- may seem so simple but it’s funny when you think about- our whole day can go by and we haven’t told a joke or cuddled with a book? That seems a shame to me- living and loving our family is the most important part of our jobs as parents (and teachers when we school at home!) I’m learning to lighten up, laugh, play more with my boys (stress less about the mess) and even find jokes or pranks we can do- ha ha!
For handwriting we used this printing workbook as a review and then I began creating “copy work” from the books he was reading- this concept is so easy anyone can copy and paste these handwriting lines from a google search, screen shot a picture from the book and take a quote from the book or names, places or people! I was inspired by my fellow homeschooling friend Calli from www.sparrowandlilies.com and the copy work she created for her daughter!
Mid-way through the school year I noticed B was not “getting math” within the T4L curriculum so we switched! After the holidays I asked fellow homeschooling friends within Instagram stories and got loads of math recommendations- we tried several but ended up LOVING www.khanacademy.com which has videos in categories and then questions afterward to reinforce ideas.
B is still having trouble understanding multiplication so we are going to wait until 4th grade. Honestly this is one of the BEST things about homeschool- waiting on a concept if your child isn’t ready for it… no one is going to knock on your door or call you up if your child is behind in something- the truth is that not all kids understand every concept presented to them at the same age and the opposite is true- your child might be way ahead in any subject and no one sends you an award or certificate for your advanced student- funny right? As moms we can get into so much unnecessary stress concerning our kids and if they are “on track” and the question nagging in the back of every homeschool moms thoughts “could my child make it in school right now?” can be very stressful. But the key to this thing called homeschool is doing things for your child that help him/her be their best, learn in their learning style and to pull out their skills and passions. It’s not to just “do school at home” right? The best thing to do as a homeschool mom is to have a few words in the back of your mind that reminds you of what you are trying to accomplish- mine are these:
“I want my boys to be READERS & EXPLORERS”
This helps me every single day focus on what’s important for our family and what our goals are- so we read every day and we try to get in nature and go on lots of field trips. I also want my kids to be life long learners- even as adults people who love to learn new skills and ideas! I think being a reader will help them be life long learners- interested in hearing what my son read this year? Well we started with lots of Roald Dahl books:
- James and the Giant Peach
- Danny the Champion of the World
- The Enormous Crocodile
- The Twits
Then switched to some classics:
- The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden
- Mr Poppers Penguins by Richard & Florence Atwater
- Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
- Hans Brickner by Mary Mapes Dodge
- Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
- Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls Wilder
- Around the World in 80 days by Jules Verne
- Kidnapped by Robert Louise Stevenson
- A Conneticut Yankee in King Arthurs Court by Mark Twain
Now for some fun ones
- The Mystery of the Dinosaur Bones by David Adler
- Toothpaste Millionaire by Jean Merrill
- Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlin
- Zero Grandparents by Michelle Edwards
- Indian in the Cupboard by Lynn Reid Banks
- Bridge to Terebitha by Katherine Paterson
- Stranded by Jeff Probst
One of the most exciting things for B and I was starting Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone together as a read aloud. He is LOVING the story and we already requested book 2 from the library! Speaking of the library, we go weekly and take advantage of our city’s library app to request books for school and pleasure. We also go for the boys to play and I love seeing what books they pick out- believe it or not the list above is a fraction of the books B read this year, those were for school and he picks out 8-10 every week that interest him!
As I look back I can see so many ways how this year was a success and with only 3 weeks left I will be dancing toward the finish line of summer of fun!