Embarking on Year 5 of Homeschooling
Wow – I can’t believe that we’re about to start our 5th year of homeschooling. It’s mind-blowing! It definitely doesn’t seem like that long, but neither I, nor the kids are planning to stop or go back to more traditional school anytime soon. Homeschooling has really become more than ‘something we do’; more than ever, it’s how we live.
I was looking back over some of the first blog posts I made, and it surprises me how much we’ve changed over the years – and what remains the same. Some of the traditions we started observing way back then are still part of our routine today. Tea time stands out as a big one (though admittedly, tea happens more than once during the day now, but we still gather in the kitchen for a cuppa). Field trips are still on Tuesdays, and we still mostly have school in our jammies.
Other things have changed. We have dramatically increased the amount of work assigned over the years. Back when we first started, I only focused on math, reading, handwriting and grammar. We did a bit of history (mostly pre-history – dinos and hunter-gatherer societies) and some literature (which Mommy read). But as we finished our first year, I added more – spelling, history (formally; Story of the World I) and science, along with lapbooking and notebooking, to what was already on our plate. By the next year (year 3), I added even more – research projects, science fair, public speaking, community service, individualized science, and geography. This past year (year 4) brought journaling (notebooking’s larger, more intimidating cousin), pre-algebra and even more critical thinking work into the mix. I bring this up because I see some of my friends and other newbies playing the comparison game. I get called ‘rigorous’ all the time, but I’m not, really – just really focused with the kids on college. They’re comparing where they are (just beginning to homeschool – some not even a full 6 months in) to where we are, four years past that. It’s not a fair comparison! If you’re one of those people, I say to you, “Don’t be so hard on yourselves, newbies!! Chillax for a minute. There’s plenty of time yet.”
LBB is in middle school now. In the fall, both of my boys will be in jr. high. I’m shocked at how very grown up my babies are now. They’re coming out with full-on developed concepts now; theories about *things* that they’ve learned about independently. It’s lovely to see, and to hear that their thinking process is balanced with a healthy dose of freethinking and skepticism, along with wise-eyed wonder, creativity and pure child-like fantasy.
We have big plans for this year, including LBB’s introduction to the Civil Air Patrol. We looked into it a few years ago, bt you have to be 12 to participate, and with LBB’s recent birthday, he’s finally old enough. Loverly Husband expressed interest in joining their adult program, so maybe this will be something they can do together. We’ve kinda slacked off on karate. I keep dabbling with the thought of getting back into it, but the motivation remains to be seen. LBB expressed interest in taking tennis lessons (continued interest from this past summer), so we may be looking into that instead. PeaGreen is still taking karate lessons, but only occasionally.
Curric-wise, much of what we’re using will remain the same as when we started ‘seat work’ back in August.
- Math – Everyday Math 5 & 6 plus workbooks & journaling
- Spelling – Dr. Spello, word bank, workbook lessons
- Grammar – DOL/ HM English & Thoughtful Journals
- History – Story of the World III & Activity Guide & Lapbook; composer/artist study
- Science – Journaling/Nature Study/ text for 5th & 6th grade / gardening
- Current Events – Morning Board/ CNN student news / community service
- Weekly research project
- Writing – creative writing/narrative/non-fiction/ picture-prompts
- handwriting practice
- PE/Health – FLASH
- Spiral Scouts
Our homeschool group is planning to begin a co-op in mid-January that will offer classes in art, science labs and some electives. If not, then we’ll have to add all that stuff in as well.
On the homefront, we got a puppy a few months ago. He’s a chi-weenie (half chihuahua, half dachshund) and he’s adorable!
That’s about it for now. I plan to update more regularly this year – it’s one of my NYR’s, which will be posted in the next week or so. Until then, enjoy the rest of your holiday time!