Adventures in Homeschool, Part One – Questions? Comments? Suggestions?

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Hooray! No more sending my beautiful girl away into the dark with a 90 pound backpack to ride the bus with people I don’t know!

Homeschool parents, teachers, and wise friends, offer your advice, questions, comments and suggestions.  Please?  I’d like to draw from knowledge beyond my own in creating our plan for 3rd grade.

Our first year of being a homeschool family is fast approaching.

It’s the middle of August.

Holy cow!  How did that happen?!

Well, the good news is that the most chaotic part of our year (as far as we know) is past.  Now we can take a deep breath and look ahead and make our plans.

Sweet Hippie Daughter has always learned from Saxon Math textbooks at school, so we’ll go with Saxon Homeschool Math to give some continuity to the one subject that I really think can’t be properly taught (by me) without a traditional textbook.

Her head is going to explode like a firework if she gets any more excited about joining the band!  If anyone has a spare double french horn lying around, we’re on the lookout for a decent used instrument since new ones run approximately the same price as a 1969 Corvette. 

We have about 984 field trips planned to every fun, interesting and educational place we’ve always wanted to visit but have never had the time to go to.  There are 2 hands on museums, an amazing art museum, a world-class zoo, 2 huge botanical gardens, a state park, a fossil park (where you can dig for fossils and get them with nearly every scoop of your shovel), several libraries and bookstores, a history museum, a museum of natural history, a planetarium and more all within an hour’s drive!

Drive a smidge further and we can get to the Indianapolis Children’s Museum, the Chicago Field Museum, the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Henry Ford Village, Sauder’s Museum and countless other extraordinary places.

A nearby university offers a wonderful theater class for children that we’ve participated in for the past 2 years and we are looking forward to continuing that.

Since the rover just landed on Mars and there is a unique opportunity to see a meteor shower coming up in just a few days we are going to start out our science studies with learning about space from every cool book we can get our hands on at the local library.  SHD wants to build a telescope.  I think that’s a great project! I’m excited to do it too!

The girl has been asking for archery lessons for 2 years.  There’s no time like the present! 

That means theater, band, archery, and Wednesday evening church will be our scheduled activities.  I think that’s all I’m willing to commit to at this point.  Not to mention it’s probably all we can afford.

She wants blogging to be part of her studies.  I can see some ways to make that work.

She wants cooking to be part of her curriculum.  I am all over that. 

I’d like to plan for the 1st six weeks – that’s how long a school report-card period is, so I chose it because…. because…. well…. just because.  At that point I figure we can evaluate what we’re doing, how well we like it, how well she’s learning, what we need to add, subtract, change, etc.

I know we’re going to do copy-work… Bible verses and famous quotes (“A penny saved is a penny earned.”  That sort of thing). 

We’ll do lots of reading.  I plan to have her read on her own each day, but also for me (or her daddy)  to read to her while she works on projects like puzzles or sewing.  I’ve read that allowing a student’s hands to be busy while they listen to the story helps their brains stay engaged.

She has a special journal that she will write in most days.  I figure some days she can be creative, others she can “report” and sometimes I’ll have her write about something specific.

And that’s as far as we’ve gotten.

So… what else would you suggest?  Is this too laid-back of an approach for the beginning?  Is it too much?  Should I evaluate more often? Should I use more textbooks?   What advice do you wish you’d known before you started?  What questions am I NOT asking that I should be?

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23 responses »

  1. Look into Individual Student Notebooking (ISN) and Lapbooks! They look like great ways to do hands on learning!!! 🙂 Are you part of Pinterest?

    • I’ve heard of Lapbooks, but not ISN. I’ll check it out, thanks! 🙂 I have not officially joined Pinterest, though I do go there and stalk through certain subjects from time to time. I spend WAY too much time on the computer already… it seems like one more thing that would seriously suck me in.

      • well, look me up. I have many boards for different subjects & themes. Might give you some ideas. Also, I sent a message to a friend of mine that has homeschooled her boys for years. I’ll pass on any suggestions and wisdom she may have! 😉

  2. Wow. It sounds like you have it all covered. My Little One is going to be attending public school for first grade. I’m bummed. I’ll miss homeschooling him.

    I would second the Pinterest idea. I had boards for all his subjects and it really helped me with organization. It was also handy when I had some spare time to fill. I could go look up a quick science experiment or something.

    I think it’s good that you have all this stuff planned. When you get started you will quickly see if it’s too much or too little. Then you can adjust accordingly. It will all fall into place. Good luck!

  3. Have you signed up for a program? I homeschool with K12. It’s fabulous. I highly recommend it. Not only do they send you everything you need and then some, it’s not just free, but they send you a small stipend for additional school supplies! It’s really a sophisticated, well-developed program. k12.com.

    • I considered k12 but really wanted something more flexible, at least for this year. It does sound amazing though. I will certainly keep it in mind for future reference! We did join a local homeschool association so we would have some structure and support plus they offer a lot of great extra curriculars.

      Sent from my Kindle Fire

  4. I always wanted to learn more about weather, astrology (can be combined with astrology & ancient myths), mythology, trains, native american culture, genealogy, and…that’s all I can think of right now. I think history would have been more interesting in school if they had made it more relatable–to a location near you, to a family ancestor, to a famous figure who lived at that time…?

    Let me know when the field trips are. Mr. would love to go to the fossil park. And I am sure he would love to come over and set up his telescope for MV to look through some evening (she can’t keep it, but it is still cool to use for an evening).

  5. I wish you both good luck on this journey. I think you’ll do an amazing job if you accomplish *half* of what you have planned. Heck, I’d just make a telescope and call it done for the year 😉

    • Hahaha! It’s so funny, reading what other people do. Some of the blogs about homeschooling, I just have to think, “either that mom does drugs so she won’t have to sleep or she’s lying because there is NO WAY she could do all that and maintain her fancy pants blog at the same time! ”

      Sent from my Kindle Fire

  6. I would love to hear how it goes. I was so close to homeschooling my daughter a year ago, but I was a little intimidated (okay a lot intimidated) by her learning disabilities and my lack of experience, but I still think about it a lot.

    • I was intimidated too until I learned about “unschooling.” This is a homeschool method where you let kids “just live life” and learn that way… even if that means watching Tv all day. I thought, well… at least I can do better than THAT! lol I’m sure I’ll write about it as we go along.

      Sent from my Kindle Fire

  7. Sounds like a good start to me! Keep it up! I have to disagree on one point though… Not all moms need to be on drugs or lying to get all that accomplished. LOL

    I was raised by a military mom; my husband’s parents ran four restaurants. We are both used to high loads of work and very detailed, organized living. With organization and inspiration, all this can be accomplished. We school our four kids, run our own business, I have a blog, my man has two, serve in ministry, and have a blast at all of it! Our days are full, but we like it that way.

    Our kids are learning lots and having even more fun! The key is working together and working as a unit. With God’s grace and patience, it can be accomplished.

      • Ok. Now I just feel like a slacker! 🙂 my best friend is very organized like you. I’m very thankful for people with such gifts. If the world were full of people like me we’d still be sitting around in caves banging rocks together for entertainment! Lol

      • LOL… Oh! Don’t feel like that. I am sure that your friend, just like myself, started off doing a lot less. We all have a beginning point from which to build. You just got started, you have a little ways to go.
        I know women who do a lot more than I do. I find them to be an inspiration and hope to one day be as wise as they are.
        We all have a beginning point and we all have different gifts. The Lord will use you where you are and use you as you are. If we were all the same, life would be boring. If we all ran around getting things done, there would be no one there to remind us to settle back and relax.
        Don’t ever worry about lining yourself up with someone else’s image. Be who you are to the glory of God and do it whole heartedly. He will take care of the rest.
        It certainly sounds like you are doing a great job to me! Keep it up!

  8. I let Chickadee blog… Well, she dictates to me, and I blog for her. In the next year or so that will probably change, and I’ll let Sharkbait start to add in his own posts. I mostly share it with family, but I’ve linked it on specific blog posts as well, mostly when there are pictures that connect with something we’ve done that I am mentioning on my blog. I wish there was a sort of KidPress or something–a kids blogging network on here, where parents could oversee their kids accounts under their own, and set up their own children’s profiles, but have it otherwise blocked to public users. Which would give parents a more controlled environment to teach kids to use social media and the internet wisely, I think.

    Anyway, we also keep a journal–mostly for pictures, also for her weekly recitation and copywork, and sometimes for pressed plants and things that we find that are flat. Sometimes I’ll write what she dictates as well, Chickadee loves to make up stories. We also do math (a combo of Miquon and Singapore) and have history story time (weuse the Story of the World books–they are a perfect introduction to world history, before moving onto something more academic). For science we use a kids illustrated encyclopedia, the ___________ for Every Kid books by Janice Van Cleave and the biology4kids.com/cosmos4kids.com/chem4kids.com/physics4kids.com sites.

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