Saturday, October 16, 2010

Homeschooling Now

A friend expressed an interest in knowing how our homeschool adventure was going.  I thought some other people might be interested and then maybe I might be interested in remembering in the future so I should probably write about it.  The best of intentions often fall apart when things get too complicated and I unfortunately seem to like to complicate something that could be quite simple.  My original plan required me to do several hours of planning each week and about 30 minutes of "getting ready" every evening or morning.  I couldn't sustain it.  Sure it wasn't that much of my day/week, but it started to feel overwhelming especially when life interrupted my carefully planned week.  It's pretty sad what that says about me.  I want to be a scheduler, I want to organize my day, but it seems to just make me feel stressed out trying to get everything in and then overwhelmed when I can't seem to finish everything.  Yes, I am crazy.

After six weeks of school I stopped planning, but I've only recently started to feel that this is OK.  We didn't ever stop doing school, I just stopped planning it.  Instead of having a daily plan, 3-5 days a week during the morning or afternoon I would tell Jovi it was time for school and she could choose Math, Reading or Handwriting/Journal to do first and then we would proceed to complete a page of each.  We have also started reading The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child: Volume 1: Ancient Times: From the Earliest Nomads to the Last Roman Emperor, Revised Edition because she does activities from it with the homeschooling co-op we joined.  But I felt guilty about not doing our Five in a Row lesson or our Science lessons (which are very good, but require alot of teacher prep).  Then I looked back at my goals for her for the year.  They were pretty simple.  I wanted her to be able to read, spell and write CVC (consonant vowel consonant) words, I wanted her to be able to add and subtract single digits, count and recognize numbers to 100 by 1s, 2s, 5s, and 10s and I wanted her to be able to recognize Texas on a map of the USA and the USA on the map of the world.  (I have since added that I would like her to be able to name and recognize the 7 continents and 5 oceans of the world).  What we were doing, without daily planning was directly correlated with most of these goals.

So, I no longer feel guilty about not planning.  This method works better for me.  I still do an occasional Five in a Row lesson, but without planning ahead.  This week we had planned to go to an apple orchard on Thursday so we read How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World (Dragonfly Books)  several times during the week.  Then on Friday we shopped for apple pie ingredients and made a pie crust.  Today we cut up several types of apples and our whole family did a taste test of what type of apple we liked best (everyone preferred Gala over Fuji or Red Delicious).  I even made a quick graph showing the taste test results to hang on our wall upstairs.  Then we made the apple pie together and everyone ate it (a big deal since Jovi doesn't usually like pie).  It was a lot of fun, but I didn't write down any of it and I didn't feel pressured, except by excited children, to do any of it.  Here is a picture of Corbin with the pie, Jovi didn't want to be in the picture.


Just to brag a bit, Jovi can read!  It is has been so wonderful to see how it all came together for her, letter sounds, to words to meaning.  Just this week she started reading  Bob Books, Set 1: Beginning Readers, after she moves through set two I will start her on Starfall books (  We will probably go back to Phonics Pathways: Clear Steps to Easy Reading and Perfect Spelling  for more practice or to introduce more advanced concepts, but the books are much more motivational than the reader at the moment.  She has started sounding out words as she writes too.  She comes up with some very interesting spellings of words, but is so great that she is trying.  I love being part of her ah ha moments.  I hope we will have many more together. 

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