Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Starting Out Homeschooling

I've been talking to a couple of different people who want to start homeschooling. Of course it can seem so overwhelming to think about different curriculum and programs -especially when you are dealing with several ages/grades. So here's my advice for what to do first.
First think about all the times/subjects when you can combine some or all of the children to learn together.

Second, plan for times/subjects when students can work independently.

And finally determine which subjects your kids are going to need you hands on one-on-one. Now, when that list gets too extensive, determine what areas your older kids can help out with. I have in the past turned entire areas over to my oldest for teaching, but I struggled with not controlling everything! So, now I have 3-4 areas my 2 older children help with - and I alternate their teaching of it with me. For example -Daniel reads aloud to different people every day - occasionally even the dog. :)

For us we start the day with Bible/prayer time together. I use an Abeka Bible sets because it has these great large pictures to keep the younger ones interested, yet it follows a book of the Bible in order with some great applications for the olders. We alternate though - we do a devotional a couple days a week, a character values lapbook, verse memory, a country prayer guide another day. This is one subject I want lots of interest in - so I change it up a lot!

We usually do a morning meeting time for a quick game together (spelling bee, hyperdash) our math basics, charting weather, temperature, but I will usually excuse the 6th grader & sometimes one of the olders will lead the 1st grader without me.

Handwriting is a great time for kids to combine -they can both copy together - I have before expressed my LOVE of the Draw Write Now series.

Science and History are so great for combining kids! I LOVE using lapbooks. But this is one area where you should relax! Go with their interests and let them learn to LOVE learning. Both subjects repeat many times from K-12th grade -they are going to get what they need. If I kid is into rockets - let him spend 2 months on it. If he doesn't get to the food chain that year -it will be OKAY. There's no cut and dry timelines -every school and curriculum is different. But if you think back to your own education, it is those times when you did a project, went to a museum, or did something interesting that stuck in your brain. Very rarely will something that you read in a book really help on a SAT, but you'll be able to write a essay in college about westward expansion if you spend a week dressed like Daniel Boone. I'm serious! And really realize one leisurely day on a nature trail with a notebook and pocket nature guide will help more with college entrance scores than a week in a classroom! So much of what we do is making learning a great way of life, interesting, and desirable -these are the things that make smart adults -not grades and worksheets.

My favorite site for free lapbooks of all kinds - WONDERFUL STUFF!



Here's a neat site with some cool printables. I love these geography printables:



I use calendars like these for daily journal entries -print each month and put into their notebooks


If I had to start all over at homeschooling day 1 knowing what I know now, I might've gone with My Father's World curriculum http://www.mfwbooks.com/ because it so well combines subjects and grade levels -all you add is math and language arts - everything else is the same for all age levels. It makes it very easy on you. I have a friend who has 4 kids 1-6th and Father's World makes it SO much easier for her. I have been so impressed with Abeka Math, spelling and language. I've always had cheap and easy access to Abeka stuff - financially it was a much better deal for us, and now at this point, I can keep passing down stuff I've used before to the next kid -it's just reasonable for me to stay with it. Plus, resources for geography, history, and science are so readily available through the library and computer for free -I just never could justify the expense.

Hope all that helps! Don't worry!

2 comments:

carlisle clan conversation... said...

Thanks for posting these sites, great stuff!

Rebecca said...

Lovin the links! We are in our first year of homeschooling.

:)

Becki@BlogMommas