2017 – Year 3 of homeschooling begins!!
We have all but officially decided to do school year-round.
Naomi is officially in first but quickly moving into 2nd grade level math and well beyond 2nd grade sciences. She is still getting the hang of reading but we have made huge strides in the last two months. She has a goal for herself to start memorizing the periodic table. I’m going to go back to preschool-level again with her (in reading and spelling) and work our way all the way back up at her pace to make sure we’ve covered everything as best we can. Most of her struggles revolve around unrelated things (vision, sleep, etc). She’s enjoyed every ounce of learning so far this year.
Emma is unofficially in kindergarten. She’s not enrolled because her birthday misses the cut-off here by a month. She’s zooming through the K5 curriculum we’ve worked in. We’ll likely end up moving on to a different curriculum than Math-U-See for her because she needs MUCH smaller bites than the videos allow right now. She’s busy and imaginative so I encourage her to go play and pretend more often than anything.
Mordecai is only three but he’s determined to be big like his sisters. He is counting to ten and almost has the ABCs down. He catches onto some of what I teach the girls but he’s usually got more important things to do. Building caves and fighting off bad-guy transformers comes first.
I’ve been picking up books and supplements as I get around to it. This is what next year is looking like:
For fall 2016 we have essentially unschooled. We’ve made regular library trips which has been fun. I honestly, wholeheartedly believe they’ve gotten significantly more out of our library trip picks than any curriculum can offer. (Some curric for this age IS just a bunch of books with assignments attached!) They thoroughly enjoyed our summer of gardening and learning about chickens. We have been able to dive a little deeper into bible study alongside our church’s Sunday lessons. It’s been very laid back and thank God for that.
Spring is going to be another story.
My one big focus goal is continuing our library habit! We picked up 25-30 books every 2-3 weeks. I’ll share a list of our favorites from the last few months in another post!
E is starting dance (ballet/tap) in January. She’s also going to do soccer for the first time in March. The other two declined. In fact, N keeps checking in to make sure I’m NOT signing her up for soccer. I hope they change their minds later! (M is still little, of course.) We also make bi-weekly (at least) trips to the gym now where they get to play while we work out. They get two hours of playtime and socializing. We get a minute to ourselves.
I’m insisting on a break through the rest of the year though. Three full weeks with NOTHING. I need a rest. A real rest. Vacation isn’t an option so we’re trimming the extras. In January we’ll get back into the swing of things.
We Went Digital
One big addition I’m making is kindles for each of the kids. These are just regular Kindle tablets with child settings on them. They have parental controls for apps, videos, and books. Everything is customizable. They have a daily time limit and they go off all together (without a pin number) from 8pm to 8am. I can give them 30 minutes on apps, 30 minutes on videos, and 2 hours for “books” or whatever combination I see fit. There is a lot of stupid stuff on there but there’s also some good games, videos, and books. They feel like they are playing while they learn. It doesn’t hurt with nasty rainy winter days either.
Curriculum and Supplements
- You can see a few of my picks in the photo above. I got the BOB books on discount (finally) though I want an additional set or two. These are for all my kids. We have: Pre-Reading Skills Set, Set 1 Beginning Readers, and Sight Words First Grade. I will probably get the Rhyming Set if I can find it on sale again. At the beginning of the year I’ll work with all of them in the Pre-Reading set at their own paces.
- We also have the Smarty Pants Quiz/Flash cards from Melissa and Doug. We actually have the K5 and 1st Grade sets. The more games I involve the better my kids respond! They love the Brain Quest card decks too!
- I found 100 Words Kids Need to Read on Amazon for less than $4 each. They are bright and colorful. These are primarily for Naomi but Emma will probably get into some of it as well.
- For Math I’ve got the Singapore books. We are going to try the 2nd Grade 1A first and if N isn’t truly yet ready we’ll hold off. I think her reading might need to be a little stronger. I love the way these books look inside though. The Math-U-See was very plain despite the use of colorful manipulatives.
- Emma is still working through Math-U-See Primer at her own pace. I think this is the best option for this level without me needing to be 100% hands on. I don’t know about your kids but all of mine have a fiery independent streak. She technically wouldn’t be put into K5 until fall 2017 so she’s got a lot of wiggle room one way or another. So far, so good so we’ll stick with it even if it means 1/2 a lesson at a time.
- The Brain Quest workbook is just an extra for Naomi so we can switch it up when we need too. Their books are well-rounded and fun!
- We got some fun place mats from a store with a big closing sale. Addition, Subtraction, Presidents, a map, and I forget what else. These will be fun AND useful!
- We’re using Easy Peasy as a cornerstone curriculum to continue guiding us until summer. This is helping us cover our corner for phonics, history, and art. The name says it all. If you’re considering homeschooling but unsure or maybe have a strict budget check it out!
- I bought some clear sleeves to use with erasable markers. I can use any printable I can find. I’m working on building a binder full of fun printables to work on handwriting, logic, math, and more. Great resources for printables include Pinterest and a site called Teachers Pay Teachers. You can find almost anything between those two! They have regular freebie downloads on TPT. I’ve gotten great worksheets and full lesson packets from TPT. All created and sold by ACTUAL teachers.
- We get weekly Bible lessons for the following week through our church each Sunday. We use the bible verses to practice spelling and speaking on top of the richer lessons themselves.
- Christmas this year is all about books, games, puzzles, science, and art. I’m kind of cheating. They’ll get a lot of fun stuff we’ll be able to use through the year including a microscope and a solar system kit.