It’s official. We are a homeschooling family. After much prayer and discussion between my husband and I, we decided this is God’s will for our family. Let me make it clear! I have nothing against the public school system! I am pro-parental choice! I definitely see where there are some places for improvement in the public school system, but that goes for everything in this life, right? I have many friends who are teachers and God bless them! They are heroes in my book! We have chosen to homeschool for other reasons. First of all, when God gives you clear instructions, you follow. Both my husband and I feel this is exactly what God wants us to do and we are simply following His instruction. Secondly, my husband’s job has opportunities for travel and we want our children to see the world. By homeschooling, we can travel with him! And thirdly, both our families live far away from us. One of our greatest desires is for our children to have a close relationship with their grandparents, great grandparents and aunts and uncles. By homeschooling, we can travel anytime we like to visit them and take school with us!
We started kindergarten the first week of September and we are really enjoying it! Today, I want to share with you our homeschool curriculum plans for our 2015-2016 school year!
Eli is 4 ½ years old. He may seem young to start kindergarten and if he were in the public school system, we would wait another year. But this kid is READY! He can count to 100, do simple addition and subtraction, recognizes all his colors, numbers and letters (mostly), and he knows most of his letter sounds! Of course, these are all things that we are working on in our kinder curriculum too. I decided to go ahead with kinder because he is getting bored with pre-K and is ready. He’s pretty much mastered the things he would need to know to go into kinder so here we are! His maturity level is like a typical 4 year old so that is why we have chosen not to join a co-op this year. We will likely join one next year, but for now, as a home educator, I have decided we will go ahead and start kinder this year at home. For my sanity and his well being (ahem!), we do school year round doing 3 weeks on, 1 week off.
Here is what we did for Pre-K:
2013-2014 – Intentional Toddler Time and Fruit of the Spirit Curriculum by Leigh Dutton of Intentional By Grace – one of my fave bloggers!
2014-2015 Sonlight Pre-K curriculum
Summer reading program at our local library
Awana at church
Night time devotionals
HOMESCHOOL CURRICULUM 2015-2016
• My Father’s World Kindergarten Curriculum: God’s Creation from A-Z – I researched every curriculum imaginable and when I found this, I knew that it would be a perfect fit for my son. He is very much a tactile and visual learner. This curriculum is very hands on so it keeps him engaged. It begins with a 2 week focus on the Creation Story followed by 26 thematic units that focus on an alphabet letter that is linked to something God created as well as biblical character traits. It covers math, reading, creative thinking, literature, art, calendars and my son’s favorite, science!
We have been doing this for about a month and half. He absolutely loves it. He asks me each morning “Can do we do kindergarten yet!?” Our class time usually takes about 2 hours. For the rest of the day, he learns through play!!
• Weekly library visits– For each unit, we will be going to the library to pick out 10 books to go with the week’s theme. I really long to instill a love of reading into my children. We also go to different activities at the library and participate in reading programs.
• Math U See– For math, we are using the Primer version of Math U see. It is an introduction to math concepts such as number recognition, understanding place value, reading and writing numbers, understanding simple addition and subtraction, telling time, shapes, measuring, counting by 2s, 5s, 10s and 100s and interpreting word problems. This curriculum is an introduction to math so he isn’t required to master each concept, although we will spend a week on each unit so he can get a good grasp on it. My Father’s World also includes math concepts and I plan to also use various math manipulatives so I am confident this year will be a great intro to mathematics for him.
• Lads and Ladies of Wisdom– This is a character curriculum written by my friend Kathie Morrissey from The Character Corner. Based on Proverbs, it is designed to teach your children the importance of wisdom through scripture, activities and games.
• Science experiments– Currently, we are growing carrots, sunflowers and radishes in this awesome planter that allows you to see what is happening under the dirt. Each unit of My Father’s World has science experiments, but since this is my son’s favorite topic, I will be supplementing additional science experiments.
• Write Through the Bible Junior– This is a great curriculum that focuses on Philippians 2:1-18. It focuses on Christ himself and how we as christians are to be humble and serve others. This workbook is for handwriting practice for children 4-6 years old. Each week focuses on a letter and has 4 different kinds of worksheets and activity sheets for each lesson. It will fit nicely with our units in My Father’s World.
• Music– We will be focusing on children’s bible songs and classical music this year. We will be studying rhythm and learning choreography to various children’s songs. My son has already begun choreographing worship music he hears on family life radio 😉 I am pretty confident he will love this part of school!
• Art– Each unit of My Father’s World has creative projects focused on the week’s topic, but I will also supplement this area of our homeschooling with various art projects including painting, playing with clay and craft projects.
• Socialization– As a new homeschooling mom, I have discovered that many people think that if you homeschool, you must never leave your house and live in a bubble! You must be a hermit and turning your children into hermits! This is such a terrible misconception! I just don’t understand it! Homeschool children have ample opportunities for socialization! My son doesn’t know a stranger (not sure if that is a good thing!!) He has a talent for being social! Here are the things we do that ensures our children are “socialized:”
Church– We are heavily involved at our church. I am the women’s ministry coordinator. We are involved in VBS and children’s church as well as the children’s ministry. My husband and I are on the worship team and choir. We attend Wednesday night dinner and my son attends Awana. We are at church (as a family) in a social setting 3 times a week most weeks. My son has played drums with our friend David during the service, hung out in the sound booth during worship practice and his favorite thing to do: greet the congregation and hand out bulletins. He’s four!!! He’s already serving! It makes my heart so happy!
CBS- My children and I attend Community Bible Study on Thursday mornings. They have an amazing curriculum for children as well as for adults. This is our first year in it and it is AMAZING.
Awana- If you aren’t familiar with Awana, it is a scripture memorization program for children. They have game time, story time, craft time and play time. It is fantastic! The lesson is taught at church and then the parents help their child memorize the scripture. Each week, they earn stickers for their workbook and patches for their vests. It is an amazing program!
Field Trips- We have a fantastic homeschooling community here in our little mountain town. We will be joining this group for various field trips throughout the year. It’s always fun to take field trips with friends too!
Weekly playdates– We have some amazing friends here! There are 3 other families that we are really close to and we get together pretty much every Friday for dinner and fellowship. We all have kids the same age and it is not only good for the children, but awesome for the parents to have adult conversations!
So our homeschool year looks extremely busy, right?! But we are learning to be a homeschooling family! We are setting up rhythms (not strict schedules!) and being sure to give ourselves plenty of grace! I love that God has given me the ability and the gift of staying home to educate my children. It certainly isn’t easy at times, but I am so very thankful for the opportunity!