Monday, September 23, 2013

Homeschool Fall Semester 2013

Just thought I'd post something on here, since I have been so unfaithful to this blog for a while.  Life has just been too hectic, but I would like to find more time. 

Anyway, this year JM just turned 6, and S is about to turn 5.  In reality, S shouldn't even be in kindergarten yet, by public school standards.  He would start next year due to his late birthday.  But since he's in school with JM, he's in 1st grade-ish.

Last year, I did Sing, Spell, Read, and Write Level 1, which had some difficult days and some great days.  I found out after I had started that Level 1 for that program was actually a 1st grade level.  But, it started off with the basics and went really far with how much it built up.  So, this year, although the boys are in 1st grade, they are actually doing a 2nd grade language arts curriculum.  I researched a lot and found one that seemed to fit well with where they are at.  We are using Lifepac grade 2 language arts.  I am actually very encouraged by how well they have transitioned to this curriculum.  S is making a lot of progress on his handwriting.  They are both doing very well.

For math, we are using Horizons math, and we've stuck with 1st grade level.  I like the books and the pacing.  They are doing well there, too.  We are using Real Science 4 Kids - Chemistry, and I like it but I kind-of wish there was a little more to it.  But, I am glad that it introduces difficult concepts in an easily digestible manner.  We're using Explorer's Bible Study - Beginnings II for a Bible Curriculum, and we are enjoying that.  I don't do tests in Bible, but we are having some very good discussions.  I like the fact that there is a definite focus on God's love.  But, I will say that some of the material may be slightly mature for them, especially S.  My social studies curriculum was a bust.  It has been back-ordered for months, so I gave up on it ever coming in.  I am looking into getting something else for that.

This year, I have given up on the idea of "perfect structure" in my homeschool.  We have a basic time of day we do school and a basic routine, but I'm not keeping a strict hourly schedule.  As much as I want to have the idealized perfect schedule, things just come up daily.  I mean, there are still 2 other kids here, and there's always an element of chaos.  So, I decided I'm not gonna be so hard on myself if we are running behind and one day we don't finish before time x.  The things I'm focused on are that we are consistent in our daily work, that the kids are learning, and that they are where they need to be, and hopefully, surpassing the standards. 

We just rejoined our homeschool group that we were in last year, and the boys have a great opportunity to learn tennis with the group.  There are some really great coaches, and though my kids are by far the youngest (except for 1 other kid), the coaches are really good with them.  I am really excited to see how they do.  In addition to our homeschool group, which does field trips and tennis, the boys have some fun stuff going on at our church.  JM is in RA's, which is kinda like boys scouts, but with a Christ-centered focus.  They are teaching them outdoor skills, doing camps, and field trips through the year.  It's for 1st through 6th grade.  And, both of the boys are in children's choir, which has opportunities for several performances throughout the year and a children's musical in the spring.

My little girl, R, is busy doing 2 year-old things like ABCs and counting, and she's definitely charming all of her teachers at church.  My little A is about to turn 1 year-old in October, and he's walking and jibber-jabberring. 

This is a very busy time, but I'm loving it.