We started school in July this year, everyone in the closest counties starts in early to mid August. So, it’s an untraditional schedule to public schoolers but one that I really think we will enjoy. We will be doing several weeks on and then one week off. I got the idea here , and hope to share more about how well it is going later in the year. We just really felt that it would work with the schedule of our family, how my husband works and would give us nice respite occasionally to recharge for the next set of weeks. Emma seems to be doing well and the homeschool day seems to be stress free enough for both of us, it is not a rigid schedule and there are plenty of breaks if needed.
I wanted to share what we are doing this year. We follow a Charlotte Mason philosophy, if you are interested in learning about what that may look like, check out this explanation: Who was Charlotte Mason? or read the Charlotte Mason’s education series. All this means for us is that we have shorter lessons, read living books, encourage a knowledge of God (a primary goal), work on Habit Training/Character Building, learn history, do nature studies, and start memorizing scripture and poetry and learn to narrate stories that we hear and eventually read, and a little more. This may sound like a lot but this takes no more than two hours at the most, and much less (an hour – hour and a half total) most days. I tend to like doing the lessons all before lunch but there is a freedom to spread them out over the day if the day necessitates.
These are the specifics for the year:
Bible- Long Story Short and the companion Gospel Story Bible
We do one devotional from Long Story Short a weekday that consists of reading the bible and answering simple questions. We sum it up at the end of the week with reading the corresponding story in the Gospel Story Bible. We also choose one verse from the reading selections of the week to memorize. So far we have three memory verses, and one more this week.
Character Building/Habit Training–A Child’s book of Character Building and implementing chores
We do one Character word a week, so far we have done Attentive, Faith, and Creative. The book talks about each of these character words in the setting of the bible, home, school, and play. I really enjoy the definitions they give for the character words, like Attentive was “listening with your ears, eyes, and heart”. Emma was able to memorize that and I can ask her what does attentive mean and are you doing that now? She responds with the definition and lets me know if she is embodying that word at the moment, she is very honest so she will tell me straight away most times. I make copies of the images in the book for coloring and then we discuss the story we read. Emma also is responsible for feeding the dog in the morning and evening and making sure we take him out everyday. So far she has enjoyed this, some days she resists a little but does do it.
Letter Recognition/Phonics- Kumon Uppercase and Lowercase Letters and Brainquest Kindergarten and Eeboo Phonics Cards
I realized after the summer she needed a review of her letters because even though she knew the alphabet and how to write her own name and a handful of words she was struggling with letter recognition. So we are moving through the letters one at a time, sounding them out and taking our time. We want to make sure we have a good foundation before we try to start learning to read.
Numbers- Kumon Uppercase and Lowercase Letters and Brainquest Kindergarten and Melissa and Doug Abacus
We are doing much the same as the Letters, reviewing and going one at a time, making sure we can count 1 to 100 and we can start simple addition and subtraction in the next few months
Nature Study- Nature Journal and the internet, also Christian Liberty Nature Reader
Drawing what we see in nature and attempting to identify it (see the first image above). The Reader is in alphabetical order so we read about the animal that starts with the letter we are reviewing at that time.
History- Beautiful Feet Early America Primary
We love this curriculum so far, we purchased the download version of the study guide and are checking books out from the library. We are studying about Leif Eriksson, Erik the Red and the Vikings and I am very happy so far with the accuracy of the instruction and the books on the list in living books style.
Art Study and Poetry Study- A Child’s Garden of Verses and Come Look With Me series (right now we are doing Art in Early America)
We are keeping this simple this year, just trying to introduce a love of art and poetry we read poems and discuss them and look at pieces of art and talk about them answer questions in the Come Look With Me book.
These are spanish immersion lessons for children with cute, easy to watch videos. Takes some effort outside of just watching the videos, but Emma really enjoys them.
This month we are learning simple stitches and she is sewing her first pillow.
Piano- My First Piano Adventures
We just started this book and we have enjoyed it thoroughly so far. She listens to the accompanying CD and follows along in the book, currently she is learning basic posture and hand technique. The illustrations and songs are really sweet, there is a cast of characters that help to instruct along the way.
Extracurricular Activities- Ballet and Soccer
Soccer season starts this month and we are very excited. We are also continuing in Pre Ballet for the year. Emma is a little tomboy that likes to play dress up, I can identify with that.
Pray for us as we work through the year. I’d love to hear any feedback at all.
Edit: we ended up holding off on History for another year, we felt she would get more out of it in a year and she is now in First Grade and I think it was a good decision. We are still doing Beautiful Feet because we love it.