Monthly Archives: July 2010

Five in a Row

We’ve chosen “Five in a Row“ as our core curriculum this year. Because Elliot has a passion for books, I thought it would be absolutely perfect! In a nutshell, it’s a list of quality children’s literature that you read aloud together. Each week you choose a book and read it five days in a row (hence the name) and do a different lesson/activity that is provided in the manual that ties into the book. Language arts, science, social studies, and art are all completely covered for each book. I’m planning to take our time and just do Volume 1 this year, taking two weeks to complete a book study to allow us plenty of time to look into things in depth. We’ll be utilizing the library frequently to find a variety of non-fiction books to further explore the subjects we’re learning about in our Five in a Row book. When we read “The Story about Ping”, for example, we’ll study things like China, the Yangtze river, ducks, buoyancy, and anything else that strikes our fancy! Another neat thing is that Five in a Row also makes a Christian Character Bible Study Supplement that provides you with Bible passages that tie into the themes of the stories as well. I’m so excited to start “rowing”, as I’ve seen it called, with my little guy.

In addition to Five in a Row, we’ll be doing “Explode the Code” for phonics and “A Reason for Handwriting” for writing. I’ve spent a great deal of time scouring different curricula on the web and in stores and I’ve decided doing a mishmash of things will work best for us. There hasn’t been one complete program that looks to be the best across the board, so I plan on picking and choosing what seems to be the best for us. The great thing about homeschooling is that I have the freedom to do that! For math this year we’re going to be winging it. I’ve got a bunch of math games and manipulatives and we’re just going to have a fun time together and be really relaxed. I figure there is no better time than kindergarten to take that approach. Next year we will likely add something like Saxon or Right Start math to the mix. So, that’s the plan…, play, learn, read, write, read, create artwork, and read some more!

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Goals For Our Homeschool

I got this from A Healthy Homeschool and loved it so much that I wanted to add it here. Each and every one of these are things I will strive to incorporate into our homeschool.

What Makes a Healthy Homeschool?

  • A place where parents are honored as the authorities.
  • Parents who are patient and content.
  • Whole foods.
  • Plenty of living books.
  • A peaceful home atmosphere.
  • Children who have room to learn who they are and what their interests are.
  • A place where teaching children to love learning is a cornerstone!
  • Respect.
  • Freedom from pressure to fit into someone else’s idea of “cool.”
  • A place where love lives.
  • A place where children are seen as whole individuals and not test scores!
  • Being willing for change.
  • Yearly choices that reflect what is best for everyone.
  • A sense of humor.
  • Realizing that all homeschooling families are different.
  • Not comparing yourself too much with other homeschooling families.

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Why Homeschool?

So….we’re really going to do this?! It’s still a surprise to me most days when it sinks in that we are actually going to homeschool this year! I was perfectly content with our previous decision to send Elliot to public school for kindergarten and had always been firmly against the idea of homeschooling, convinced that I was incapable, but God completely changed my heart and revealed to me the many reasons why homeschooling would be such a blessing to our family and now I couldn’t be more on board! For anyone who might be wondering how in the world homeschooling could be a blessing, here are the main reasons why we’re so excited about it:

  • Homeschooling allows us to have complete control over what our child learns and we have the freedom to emphasize our own values. I don’t have to worry about him learning something that contradicts our beliefs and likewise, I can thoroughly incorporate our faith into what we’re learning. God’s word can be the center of everything we do instead of something that is considered “offensive” like it is in a school setting.
  • It will strengthen our family bond. The best way to strengthen a bond is to spend time together! When you consider the amount of time kids spend away from home while they’re at school, afternoons spent completing homework, and busy evenings at extracurricular activities, that doesn’t leave a whole lot of extra time to just be together, getting to know one-another. My hope is that homeschooling will give me an incredibly close relationship with my children and that the two of them will also build a lifelong close relationship with each other.
  • My child can receive the best possible education. Yes, you read that right…but I’m not saying what you may think I’m saying. It’s not that I think so highly of myself and my abilities to teach (in fact, the opposite is true and I worry and sometimes second-guess our decision), but rather the fact that I can customize his education to be delivered in the style that is exactly what he needs and I can give him my undivided attention (aside from our wild two-year old who’s company we will also be enjoying) which are things that just can’t possibly be done for him in school, no matter how great the teacher. We can also work at his pace. This means we can spend all the time he needs on something he’s having a hard time with, or we can speed right ahead if he understands something perfectly, whereas in school he would have to wait until the rest of the students were ready to move on. And last but not least, quite simply, nobody knows and loves my child the way I do and nobody has more of a desire to see him succeed.
  • We will have the freedom to work around our own schedule. There will be no scrambling to get dressed, eat breakfast, pack up a lunch and rush out the door every morning. We can sleep in a little if we want. We can enjoy a leisurely breakfast together….and lunch too for that matter too! We can do our lessons in our pajamas if we so desire. We can take a break and go have lunch at the park. We can go on field-trips together and take as much time as we want seeing the things that interest us! I’ve read that homeschooling becomes a lifestyle and it’s one that sounds REALLY appealing to me! I don’t want to plan my life around a school schedule and I want to have time to stop and smell the roses with my children and nothing will allow us to do that in the way that homeschooling will.
  • It allows my child to learn how to socialize well with people of all ages, not just kids his age that are all in the same class. One of people’s biggest concerns regarding homeschooling is “lack of socialization”, but throwing twenty-five kindergarteners into one room does not guarantee they are going to become social butterflies. As a matter of fact, that kind of environment doesn’t promote good real-life social experiences. Homeschooling allows us more time to interact with people through real-life experiences and for me to personally encourage him to reach out and socialize with new people. As I’ve continued to read more about others’ experiences homeschooling, I’ve been surprised to come across the same thing over and over from parents who say that their children get noticed everywhere they go for their exceptional social skills, friendliness, and maturity. I can’t help but think of how neat that would be to see my children develop so uniquely in that way!

Just in case you’re worried that I’m seeing homeschooling through rose-colored glasses, I promise that is not the case. I know it’s not always going to feel like a fairy-tale. I know that there will be times that it will be REALLY hard and I’ll probably wonder what I was thinking taking on a responsibility as huge as this. I know there will be days when I would really love to just have some time all to myself the way I would have if we put the children in school. Our plan at this point it to take it a year at a time and at the end of the year we will assess how it’s going and how we are going to proceed. I can’t lie and say that I won’t be disappointed if we end up changing our decision somewhere down the line. I really want this to work out, but I am not going to back myself into a corner and refuse to consider other options if we feel like that might be best for our family. So, all that to say, please pray for us as we begin this new adventure! We’re so excited to see what God has in store for us this year!

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