So, I thought it would be a fabulous idea to kind of do a daily blog of our homeschool adventures this year. I can’t promise that I’ll be able to document each and every single day, but I thought it would be fun to show a little bit more what our day to day schooling experience is like. I mean, we’ve all (or almost all) been through public school ourselves, so there’s not much mystery laying around there. However, I get questions almost daily about what it looks like to actually do this whole school thing at home. So, thus my idea!
To get you square with where we are in our school this year, here’s a little overview!
This year, we have one 5th grader, two 3rd graders, two 2nd graders, and one 1st grader. If you’re dividing it on learning stages, though, we have two upper grammar levels (independent ‘reading to learn’ students) and four lower grammar students (still working on reading fluency or ‘learning to read’ students. :-)
For our core curriculum, we’re using Tapestry of Grace. We’re starting this school year on Year 2, Unit 3 so we’ll be studying colonial America to get us started. ToG covers history, geography, philosophy, church history, writing, literature, fine arts, and government. Our very small local library doesn’t always have the exact books recommended by the reading list, but since our children are still in the lower levels, we’ve not experienced any problems substituting our own books for ToG recommendations. (And, there’s just no way I’m interested in plopping down that $500+ just for leveled books that will be read only a time or two so being ‘mesh-able’ with our library’s inventory was a must!)
For mathematics we’re still loving Life of Fred! We will be finishing up the Complete Elementary Series this year with all of the children (although some of them will be repeating some of these books because they’re still in those lower grade levels and need the spiraling review). We decided that we’d all like to work our way through the books together this year, so we’re starting at Apples and going straight through Jelly Beans, with a goal of one book per month.
We’ll also be using some of the awesome resources available from Math Mammoth to reinforce and have some hands-on practice and drill (and I’m not going to lie- for some drill work to keep them busy while I’m working with other students!) We’re not going through the books in order, or even completing ALL the work either. These are our math supplements, for as needed.
For grammar/ English we’ll be using First Language Lessons as our primary text. We’ve used these for two years now and we’re still loving them… especially the part where starting the school year consists of picking up the book! We have levels 1-4. We’ve split Level 4 into two school years (so Miss Harmony did the first half last year and will finish the second half this year) because we’ve found that #1- it’s mainly review from the previous levels and #2- we want to reinforce these lessons in preparation for her transitioning into 6th grade (and therefore middle school- EEK!) next year. We looked into probably two dozen 5th grade level grammar/ English texts, and haven’t found one that taught anything not covered in Level 4.
Science is the subject that I struggled with most last year. We had a good text and everything, but it was so much rote work, reading lessons that really were a little too long, and not enough hands-on work that I put off searching for our science curriculum for a long time. In the end, I decided that I didn’t want to purchase another science text and be stuck feeling guilty if it didn’t work out for us. I decided that we’re going to cover Chemistry the first half of the year and Physics the second half. Then, I made up my mind that we’re going to scattered resources from all over so that we could really focus and dig in where necessary, but skim over the basics otherwise. ;-) Our science curriculum for this year will have to be another post all in itself because it’s CRAZY… but AWESOME.
And there you have it, the basics of our homeschool year! We actually started school this past week, but I’ll be posting our days starting next week to give me a little bit of flexibility in getting my posts up!