Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Back to (Home) School!

People often ask me, “How do you homeschool AND work?” I’m starting to ask myself the same thing. I NEVER have down time. I’d like to post more often, but it’s just not possible right now….and we haven’t been schooling for a couple of months now. Luckily, I have an awesome husband who does a lot to make things a little easier for me.  We start next week, but the girls have been asking for weeks now if we have school or not. Good to know there’s interest!

One of the things that’s been keeping me busy is getting familiar with my Homeschool Tracker software. The learning curve is quite steep, but it looks like the effort will be well worth it. I’m loading lesson plans and learning how to get things set up. I’m hoping it will decrease daily prep time. I concluded that the Workbox System just isn’t going to work for me. It requires daily work that I’m not willing to do. I’d rather have something in writing that I can look at once a week and get things together right then & there. I guess I’ll be using the WB system with a twist: Daily work will be placed in folders, which will be placed in drawers. I hope to take pics and post them in the near future.

This year Ava will be in first grade, Shelby in Kindergarten. If she was going to public school, she’d have to wait until next year. She is very bright and interested in many things, so I think she’ll do well. The plan is to break the year up into six 6-week terms with one week breaks in between. We’ll take three weeks off for winter holidays and two months of in the summer. I think this way, we’ll get a lot of work done without burnout. Each week will consist of four “academic” days. One of these days may include a field trip or outside class. The fifth day will probably be a work day or housework day for me, although it may consist of a field trip, depending on what we’re studying and what’s going on in town. I any event, learning takes place every day, right?

I have most of my curriculum in place, although I’m still doing some tweaking. The girls will do science, history, geography, health and language arts together. When ever possible, Language Arts will correlate with geography. They will do math & reading separately. I haven’t figured out what I’m going to do with Delaney (aka Babezilla) during school. I’m leaning towards daycare, but right now, finances won’t allow for that. For history, we’ll probably start out with Core Knowledge’s What Your X Grader Needs to Know . We’ll breeze though that in the first term, then embrace the classical education model and start with Ancient History next term. We’ll use History Odyssey for that. I’d like to use K12 for Shelby’s phonics, but that’s till up in the air. The rest of the subjects are as follows: Pandia Press’s REAL Science, Handwriting Without Tears, NC Healthy Schools for health, Phonics Pathways for Ava’s phonics, Galloping the Globe for geography and Right Start Math. They’ll each do Time4Learning as independently as possible while I work on phonics and math with the other one after we’re done with the group session.

I hope to incorporate lots of hands on activities. I know REAL Science has almost daily experiments. We did a trial run of a lap book (Hey Diddle Diddle) and they loved it. Galloping the Globe and History Odyssey also incorporate crafty projects. I’m looking forward to starting and so are the girls. I think it’ll be more enjoyable this year because they’ll be working together. Let the learning begin!