I've neglected this blog too long! I was very busy trying to deny the passing of summer. I do not like routine, and though I am very happy to be a homeschool mom, the last couple weeks of summer I really dread picking up the school routine again. If I didn't have the flexibility of homeschooling this would be an even more difficult time of year!
We started school last Thursday, and it was a surprisingly great day. Though I know without a doubt that I am called to homeschool my children, I never expected to enjoy teaching. I like to lead women's Bible studies, but I do not like to teach children.
Yet I am finding that being a homeschool mom is not just my calling but also my joy. I listen to other moms talk about waking up their children early in the morning and overseeing homework late into the evening and I know that I would fail at being a public school parent.
So far this year we are spending about two hours doing school projects together, another fifteen minutes reading history at lunchtime, and then in the afternoon my oldest daughter does her independent reading. The time will probably increase a little bit; I'll be adding spelling, more reading, and a few more science activities to the weekly schedule. We homeschool four days a week, with one day off for Bible study; I am blessed to attend a women's Bible study that also offers children's classes.
My oldest daughter is in fourth grade. We're using Portraits of American Girlhood for her history. This fun program uses the American Girl books and biographies of American heroes to study American history. It inserts a few language arts, crafts and cooking into the study as well. To add a few more language exercises we're using a workbook from Queen Homeschooling and we'll soon add Queen's spelling also. For handwriting we're using A Reason For Writing. My daughter loves to draw, and loves art, so the beautiful borders in the handwriting book really make this fun for her. I appreciate that she's copying scripture as she practices her handwriting. We're going to use the reading program Drawn into the Heart of Reading from Heart of Dakota. In October I'll add a science program, probably Animal Habitats from Winter Promise. The best news of the year is that we switched from ABeka math to Teaching Textbooks. Last year math was very difficult for both my daughter and I. Explaining math concepts is not one of my talents, and she needed more explanation than her workbook gave. Teaching Textbooks has math lectures on CDs. We put one into the computer and she watches the lecture (at her level it's about five minutes long) and then she begins her lesson on the computer. There's a workbook too, if there are problems that are easier to do on paper. My daughter loves the program because there's a little cartoon animal (of the ten options she chose a cat) that is visible on the screen all the time, and every time she puts an answer into the computer, the animal changes its clothes or says "Hurrah!" or waves a fan. The first day of school, she begged to do two lessons! This has never ever happened in math class before. I love Teaching Textbooks because when she's done, I click on "gradebook" and it tells me how she did, instantly. I aim at starting school at 9 or 9:30, but my daughter has been popping into my room at 8:15 asking if she can start her math yet.
My younger two daughters are using Heart of Dakota's Little Hearts for His Glory. This is the perfect curriculum for us this year because it is for Kindergarten or First Grade students. They do some activities together, and it has schedules for the books (like math) they do separately. Heart of Dakota has a wonderful mix of hands-on activities and workbooks that are fun and not burdensome. This week we're singing a song about the continents, learning about the days of Creation, and learning a verse (with the help of the Hide 'Em in Your Heart cd). This curriculum covers language and math and history and handwriting (the handwriting books are in the same A Reason for Writing series that my oldest is using) and a bit of science. We also have Queen Language workbooks and Winter Promise's The World Around Me science. I could probably just add a few library books to the science within Little Hearts for His Glory, but I had already purchased The World Around Me, so we're going to use it.
We are four days into the school year and it is certainly going well so far. I think the routine I was dreading may actually be quite fun.