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Homeschooling-Feb 15, 2011

Some people have asked about how we home-school and I have talked to other moms who are stressed about homes school so I wanted to write out what we do.

We loosely follow both ‘The Well Trained Mind’ book (see books tab) approach and the Konos curriculum.   Our day (for my 7 year old) is Spelling (about 15 minutes), Math (about 30 minutes), Bible (about 15 minutes), writing (about 30 minutes) and memorization (about 15-30 minutes).  Depending on the week, location, if she got her work done quickly or worked on it for 5 hours slowly dictates the rest of the day.  We work on Konos learning, community service, cooking, art, piano, typing or field trips.  Before they have an afternoon rest I read from ‘The Story of the World’ series to them which is an awesome, complete, history for kids.  (she just does independent reading because she has done so good in this area…. she can read the newspaper or Bible out loud just as good as I can). 

What this gives us is a very loose schedule.  I am against busy work and pick curriculum that doesn’t have it built in.  If we need to do extra work on a concept I can create the pages, but for the most part, if we get it, we go on.  This allows them to get ahead easily when they understand.  We don’t really have a grade, she is at a different point in each subject, but is ahead in all her subject and I make sure she is challenged in each subject.   We order our subjects in the order I feel is most important for her so if we do have distraction or can’t get through
everything we are fine. 

I feel behind and disorganized in most of my life but home-schooling in this way has never felt like this.   We are challenged and ahead and clear about where we have been and where we are going.  This said there are lots of days it is a challenge to get my daughter motivated and lots of days she doesn’t want to do anything but that would still be an issue if she was in school and bringing a bunch of homework home.  I know her much better after working with her and know what she can understand and do and, with the freedom of homeschooling, I can tweek the process every day or every week to make it fit her or our schedule better. 

I think having a learning environment is huge.  Very little TV, mostly educational books, lots of hands on stuff and different experiences.  We have so many books in our house that both kids have two bookshelves a piece.  The other part that I feel has had the biggest impact is focusing on memorization.  In the past two years she has memorized tones of stuff, poems, bones, Bible chapters, planets, countries and capitals, states and capitals, provinces and capitals, times tables, and more.  This week we are going to start on the presidents.  The improvement she has made here is amazing.   Last year we would work on short/small things for a few weeks.   Just in the last few weeks she memorized the whole 10 commandments (17 verses) in about 6 days of just working for a few minutes a day.   She knows way more and can remember way more than I can.  It is amazing. 

Anyways, wanted to share what we have ended up with in our home schooling plan.  The kids and I don’t get along all the time but I have been very excited about the progress and the freedom (both for our family and for the kids) that it has created.  We can take a nap, run to the store, spend the day at the park, clean the house, etc whenever the kids need it because of the flexibility.   My daughter doesn’t like writing so we did lots of math orally last year.  Lots of stuff can be done orally instead of with worksheets.  

Home schooling isn’t for everyone.  I am not writing to make anyone feel guilty or try to convince anyone to home school.  I just want to say that it isn’t as hard as people think.  It isn’t near as time consuming, there is tones of resources out there.   It shouldn’t be as intimidating or stressful as it seems or as some plans want it to be.