We’ve reached the end of our first week of our new homeschool year, and we have had so much fun! The kids and I were all so excited to begin, and that has lasted throughout the entire week, so things are looking great so far!
Unfortunately, we almost got off to a rocky start because I got a phone call early Monday morning from a family member asking me to drive them somewhere (they live 1/2 hr. away). After I explained that it was our first day of homeschool, they were very understanding. Unfortunately, though, when I mentioned it to another family member I was lectured about sometimes “having to make sacrifices.” I got more than a little angry at that, because I have sacrificed many a homeschool day to help people out. The problem is that once I started doing that, people have constantly been expecting me to do it over and over again. Continue reading “A Tale of Ten Homeschoolers- Back to “School”!”
I know you’re probably getting tired of reading about how anxious I am for school to start, but I just can’t help myself because I just realized that this is the second last break-post I’ll be writing. After that we’ll be back on task again. I went to the library on Monday to get the books we’ll be needing for the next few weeks, and I honestly had to hold in excited laughter as I was putting the book list in my purse because I didn’t want my kids to think I was nuts. 🙂
Does the prospect of homeschooling several children have you feeling a little nervous for the coming year? After seven years of homeschooling my extra-large family, I’ve finally found a plan that works for our family that keeps the kids happy and learning, and Mom calm and confident.
Today I’ll be over at my friend Jen’s blog, Practical by Default, where I’ll be discussing the 3 most important ways we’ve kept sanity in our homeschool. Additionally, I’ve given examples of what our daily homeschool routine actually looks like.
If you’re looking for advice on homeschooling your growing family, this is where to find it.
This has been one busy week for my preteens and youngsters. Since Monday, they’ve been attending an all-day VBS program at the neighborhood playground, sponsored by our church and a few others. My kids who have never set foot in school are getting a good idea of just how long a school day is. They start at 9:30 am with a sports program led by Fellowship of Christian Athletes and Push the Rock. They take a break at 12pm for lunch (provided by VBS) , and then resume with VBS activities from 12:30-3pm. My kids have attended now for several years; in fact, this program is how we ended up at our church in the first place. Every year my kids count down the days until it’s time for “Light in the Park.” It’s an amazing evangelism opportunity, as there aren’t a whole lot of Christian families in this neighborhood.
Unfortunately, my 3 and 5 yr. olds are still too young to attend, so they’ve been spending the week playing together, although they both really want to go with their older siblings!
This past Monday, I officially became a blog contributor at They Call Me Blessed. I am so excited to have the opportunity to work with such a great group of bloggers. I wrote about how our family manages homeschooling with ten learners. I really wrote it out in detail, so if you’re interested in how our days go, I definitely encourage you to check it out!
By now you’re probably wondering what our pleasant surprise is…no, I’m not pregnant. (I’m sure some of you may have been thinking that.)
On Tuesday I had to take two of my daughters for their physicals, and we had a new physician’s assistant. The fact that we homeschool eventually came up, and she asked me what curriculum we use. I started stammering because it’s just not that simple for us; our curriculum comes from about 50 different resources. When she saw I was getting flustered she said,
“I was asking because we’re in our second year of homeschooling, and I was interested in what curriculum a homeschool veteran uses. Did you think I was asking you to find out if your kids were learning everything they should be?”
I breathed a huge sigh of relief and said that yes, I did, and it wouldn’t have been the first time. She laughed, and we had a really pleasant conversation about homeschooling and curriculum. Before we left, I gave her the name of my evaluator and the web address for my blog. *Smile* It was a good day.
I know this is a really short post today, but since the older kids were at my mom’s most of the week, and most of my other kids were at VBS, we didn’t do a whole lot of interesting stuff. Such is life, right?
And because our week was so, well, boring, I’ve only got a couple of pictures for you today.
Please excuse the poor quality of these photos. My kids lost the battery to my camera a while back, and I never got around to replacing it, so I’m stuck using my cheap phone. I guess that’s what I get for letting the kids use my camera!
Tomorrow is the closing picnic for VBS. It’s always so nice. It’s more like a block party than a picnic. They give out free hot dogs, Italian ices, and drinks, and they have a bounce house and huge inflatable slides. It’s a lot of fun.
Oh, and one more thing…18 days until we start our homeschool again. Yay!
All of our kids are now finished with “school” and had their homeschool evaluations this morning, so our spring/summer break has now officially begun! My younger kids have been finished for about two weeks now, and I’m honestly missing our unit studies already. 😦
The end of the school year is in sight, and the great outdoors are calling! (If the rain ever stops ;P) Join me for another week of highlights from There’s No Place Like Home!
Well, we’ve now just completed the second last week of school for the Littles and the Big Kids. The Teens have another three weeks to go because they follow a more traditional school schedule. The end of the school year is a bit bittersweet for me because, while I love the summer, I do not enjoy the lack of structure from not doing our school routine everyday. Besides that, I really do enjoy our school routine, so I know that I’m going to be bored out of my mind without the hustle and bustle of the school day. Oh, well. Just plan on me posting lots of new unit studies because that’s what I usually spend my time doing when boredom sets in. I will admit, however that I am looking forward to the deep cleaning we always do the first few days of summer break because this house is a wreck.
This week was very similar to last week in that it’s been cold and, once again, I had to take five children to the dentist. Fun. No cavities this week, but one does need to see an orthodontist. Joy. Other than that, it’s been a pretty laid back week- as far as a household of twelve people can be laid back. 🙂 Now on to our week:
This week we started reading Madeline, which the kids have enjoyed so far. We found France, where the story takes place, on our world map and each child got their own map to place a story disk on. They also colored their own French flags, and we discussed so many different topics while reading, such as appendixes, hospital visits, steamboats, land line telephones (who would’ve thought they would be considered history in our lifetime!?), and the Eiffel Tower.
I’m going to confess that we spent a lot of time vegging out in front of the TV because it’s just been a cold, rainy week, and we really didn’t feel like venturing outside.
The Big Kids
The older kids are still working on their research/reference unit and will probably do so until the end of next week when they finish school. We read about Noah Webster and each child has been busy compiling a list of words they don’t know from our read-alouds and their silent reading selections (which, incidentally, are all the same as last week) to author their own dictionaries. Today they got to decorate the covers.
Caollin (11) did get to spend some time at the creek with Dillon (16), and she had a blast finding salamanders, crayfish, and a newt. Otherwise, they, too, have just been relaxing in the house, waiting for the sun to finally come out again.
Arianna (14) has been busy reading and helping with the younger kids during school time this week. On Sunday she went to see a local theater group’s performance of “Mary Poppins” with my mother. She really enjoyed it and hopes to see some more shows like it. (She recently saw “Thoroughly Modern Millie,” as well).
Dillon is still having the time of his life taking photographs and has even ventured out in this dreary weather to hone his photography skills. Here’s a sampling of what he did this week:
A few days ago he created a Facebook page for his photography, and he’s really been working hard at perfecting his skills.
Devin (17) has, once again, spent a lot of time with our oldest son this week. She’s looking forward to next month’s anime convention in Atlantic City and is busying herself with the details of what characters she’s going to cosplay. She also wants a job in the worst way, but I just haven’t gotten around to getting her a photo ID just yet.
Unfortunately, our school district does not issue school IDs to homeschoolers, which makes everything from getting a job to attending after-school events to taking SATs that much harder. I honestly believe they should begin issuing them to homeschoolers, since we do have to report to them yearly, so our kids are, technically, still students in the district, but what are you gonna do?
Anyway, this has been our week! What’s yours looked like?
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Today when I was looking over the search terms that bring people to my blog, I realized something profound- I write about homeschooling a large family but have never actually written about how we break down our day.
I mean, really. How did that get past me? Anyway…
Today I will write about just that. First things first. Our homeschool day gets broken down into three groups:
The Littles- our 7, 6, and almost 5-yr.-olds. (and sometimes our almost 3-yr.-old because occasionally she wants to “do school,” too)
The Big Kids- our 11, 10, and 8-yr.-olds
The Teens- our 14, 16, and almost 17-yr.-olds
It’s important to note that my 14 and 16-yr.-old do take turns each week watching the younger kids until it is their time for school. This is such a huge blessing for me. We actually just started doing this in November, and I wish I would have thought of it long ago because it would have prevented so many stressful days! They do get a very small stipend for doing this, but it is so worth it.
To make things as simple as possible, I’m going to break down our day by using these three groups because that is exactly how things get broken down at home, too.
Before getting started, I do want to clarify that we are fairly relaxed homeschoolers. I do not believe lessons need to take six hours a day because there are so many other things to learn about in everyday life. I try to ground my children in the basics, inspire them with a few activities, and allow them the rest of the day to explore as they choose. With that being said, here we go!
10 am- Bible time-I usually read just a verse or two, and we have a very short discussion afterwards. Sometimes this may include a Bible story or even an episode of Veggie Tales.
– Table Time- I sit down with each child individually and work on math and either phonics or reading, unless one of those subjects will be covered that day in the unit study.
– Five in a Row– (This is done every other day, and we take two weeks to complete a book instead of one.) I read aloud a selected title, and we do two activities related to the story. This week we are reading Lentil.
– Table Time- As with the Littles, I work with each child individually on math and either spelling or grammar, unless one of those subjects will be covered in the unit study that day. As the children wait for their turn with me, they do their silent reading.
– Konos Volume 2– (This is done every other day.) Each unit focuses on a character trait. Currently for us this is inquisitiveness, and we are studying it through a section entitled “Research and Reference.” We typically do two activities per day and will sometimes read a separate read-aloud to go with the unit.
12 pm- Lunch/Chores/ Free Time- While this is not technically part of our homeschooling day, I am including it to show when we get these things done. How is a story for another day. 🙂
2 pm- We finish up whatever was not completed before lunch, after which I try to read aloud to the teens. Here’s where it gets interesting…
That is the only schoolish thing we do before dinner and evening chores. The homeschool day of my teens does not normally begin until at least 8pm. Please don’t be dismayed. They are night owls, and it works for us in this season of life.
8pm- One-on-One-Time- While my teenagers do the vast majority of their work themselves, this is the time I’ve specifically set aside to help them with anything they need me to, usually some branch of math. Sigh.
Each child is so different that I’m finding it necessary to write about them separately, so here goes:
–The 14-yr.-old– She loves to read, so we’ve taken advantage of that by using a literature-based math curriculum, Life of Fred: Pre-Algebra 1 with Biology. She and my younger children have actually been working their way through this entireseries. What I like the most about this book is that it includes enough biology to count towards her science credit, so, although she always has library books checked out on everything from the universe to chinchillas, if she ever runs out of things to read, her science is covered. For history we use living books. Right now she is reading The Book Thief, which is based in WWII era. Since she does so much reading, and she loves to voluntarily write reports, the only language arts she does is vocabulary, and that is because she asked for it.
–The 16-yr.-old– If you’ve ever had a child who needs to be prodded along, this is mine. Don’t get me wrong. He is brilliant with computers and can probably identify every single spider and frog on the planet, but he does not like to be bogged down with school work. After much tweaking and trial and error, we’ve found a routine that works for him. He uses a math curriculum, but I usually only assign him every other problem because he has no patience for drilling. Like his sister, at his request, he does do a vocabulary curriculum. He uses library books and documentaries for astronomy, and he uses living books, movies, and documentaries for military history. He is also working through D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths and the accompanying Student Guide.
–The almost-17-yr.-old– This is my overachiever, but she would deny it if you asked her. 😛 She also uses a math curriculum for geometry. She’s in her 3rd year of psychology, her 2nd year of Japanese with Rosetta Stone and she is learning both sets of Japanese characters through a workbook from a friend who is from Japan. While we had no plans on doing geography this year, she became interested in US geography and devised her own intricate method of studying this subject involving mapping, demographics, and interesting facts about each state. She uses A Beka for biology and has already finished her grammar workbook.
….And that’s about it. I hope I didn’t make this too confusing for those of you looking for guidance on how to handle homeschooling lots of kiddos! If anyone has any questions or would like me to clarify anything, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment. I always look forward to hearing from you!