On Friday we finished our second week of school and we are slowly getting into a new routine. After a year of many disruptions, I am enjoying a little bit of normalcy... well, enoying it while I can any way! Sometime in the next few weeks we will welcome baby #5 and who knows what life will look like then!
This year I have a preschooler, 1st grader, 3rd grader and 5th grader. As you can probably imagine our days are quite busy.
We are doing things a bit differently this year. During our past four years of homeschooling we have been quite eclectic in our approach to learning, not depending on one curriculum or method of teaching, but incorporating many different resources. The benefits of this is you can meet the individual needs and interests of the learners. We have had a very relaxed approach to learning as I attempt to develop in each child a love for learning. My philosophy is once they love learning you can teach them almost anything and in many cases, they will learn on their own.
The down side of this approach for me is that it is very time consuming to pull all of these resources together, especially having so many different levels to focus on. I also have a firstborn who loves routine and structure almost to a fault. This type of learning was not really fitting in with his style. His desire to keep on a schedule was being hindered by a mom who's ability to think beyond a day at time especially the last 4 months of the school year, was lacking (think morning sickness, no energy, watching my mom slip away... not a good combination for being an organized homeschooler!!)
But this is the beauty of homeschooling... you find what works for your child and make it happen! This year we are making more use of specific curricula. Micaiah's is very structured and rigorous (traditional school at home) while the rest are a little more relaxed, but most of the planning is done for me. And so far, 2 weeks in it seems to be working.
Micaiah (Grade 5/ Primary 6) is enrolled at A Beka Academy. Video streamed classes with text books, reading materials, and testing materials for the entire year all sent to us. All I do for him is supervise his learning, grade his work and be available to answer questions he may have. He is really enjoying it so far, staying on top of his assignments and taking ownership of his schedule. He loves to check off what he has finished and he enjoys watching the classes on line.
Eli (grade 3/ Primary 4) and Eden (grade 1/ Primary 2) are using the same curricula, learning a lot together and enjoying it. Even through they are 2 grade levels apart the main curriculum covers ages 6 to 8 so it is a perfect fit for us. I do math, spelling/ reading separately for them but the rest is worked on together.
We are using Moving Beyond the Page which is a comprehensive homeschool curriculum that covers science, social studies, and language arts. It is a unit based curriculum which encourages hands on learning, and focuses on developing critical and creative thinking. The first 2 weeks have been a lot of fun as we are learning about communities around the world.
For math, we are using RightStart Math which uses visual, auditory, and kinesthetic approaches to teaching mathematics. Both are using the same program but Eli is moving at a faster pace as much of it is review for him and it is new learning for Eden. So far I like the program but I will have to do a proper review after we have used it for a few months.
We are continuing to use All About Spelling which I used in the past for Micaiah and Eli. It is new to Eden this year and I am combining it with All About Reading for her. Again a kinesthetic, visual and auditory approach... do you notice a theme here?? I have 2 very hands on learners that I think will thrive with these programs. The best part for me is that there is very little planning for all of them. Most lessons I have to simply open the teachers manual and go to it. There are some lessons that require some advance planning like having supplies ready, gathering books from the library etc. which I think I can handle!!
It was apparent in the spring/ early summer that Marcus would need a more structured preschool program. I was going to wait until he was 4 and just continue this year with learning though guided play and lots of free play as we had been doing. He catches on to lots by listening in on everyone's lessons so I decided to do something a little more formal with him. I found ABC Jesus Loves Me which is a free curriculum plan. These past two weeks we learned about Creation, counting using "5 Little Ducks" and the sense of hearing using "Mr. Brown can Moo, Can You?" Each week there is a different bible story, book, number, colour and letter to focus on as well as ideas for fine motor and gross motor development. Marcus also has bible verses to learn each week and he now proudly says Genesis 1:1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. I'll have to post a video of him reciting it if he cooperates with me!
School's in for Mommy to... I am currently in the hardest season I have ever been in in my life but God is teaching me many lessons. Prayerfully I'll have a good report card at the end of it all! I will share these lessons with you in hopes that they will be an encouragement to someone else.
Lesson #1: to put my own ideas aside and be open to change. Micaiah's program is not one I would have chosen or at first felt would fit into our style but I had to put my own agenda aside. I depended on God to give me peace about it and he made it clear in my heart that this was the right route.
Lesson #2: I HAVE to start each day with the LORD. The days that I haven't tend to be disastrous. The kids attitudes and behavours overwhelm me more on those days, I am more tired and cranky and have far less patience. God truly sustains me. His power is always available for me... I just have to partake!
Lesson #3 I am currently reading Kingdom Woman by Tony Evans and Chrystal Evans Hurst (highly recommended). Here is a quote that has really encouraged and kept me going over the past couple weeks.
"If you are going to live in excellence, you have to forget yesterday. Whether it was good, bad, or ugly, if it’s yesterday, you need to let it go. When you carry yesterday further than you ought to, you ruin today. If you ruin today, then you spoil tomorrow."
I will leave you with that and pray that it is an encouragement to you. Whether you are a homeschool mom, single person, teenager, dad... whoever, it is true for you too!
Until next time,