January 29, 2010

The Half-Way Point

We're roughly half way through the school year! It's been a while since I've written about homeschooling; the last post was my list of book reviews in November. It's January. I had hopes of doing a serious review of the first several months over Christmas, but never got to it. (When a husband is in the last few months of thesis writing, he's not exactly available to take the kids for afternoons at a time so his wife can reflect and plan. But those days are not too far away now!)

the student

You may wonder about our method of homeschooling. It's not exactly unschooling, because we do specific things each day that constitute school work, usually in the morning. But we are also not following a specific curriculum. I guess that makes us relaxed or eclectic. I plant to read more about Whole Hearted education. For now, my primary guides are the books Home Learning Year by Year by Rebecca Rupp and The Three Rs by Ruth Beechick. Putting their suggestions and guidelines together with resources you can get from simple workbooks and library books, it is relatively easy to walk through a Kindergarten year. Seriously, I spend probably two hours a week in prep. I LOVE the library and am so thankful for the many authors who have created such educational picture books! Using the interlibrary loan program and Amazon, you can come up with lists of great books on specific topics, request them, add an activity or two, and you've got a simple unit.

the beginning reader

A typical week of our lessons looks like this. I'm not sure if you'll be able to access it; it's s Google document. Let me know if you can't. If you can, you'll notice that it isn't much. "School" typically takes about an hour, maybe a little more if we're working on some project. Frequently we will listen to the month's hymn in the car while traveling from place to place or sing together right before bedtime. We read the chapter book most often before afternoon rest time, when Brian's already down and E and I can snuggle on the big bed. For reading, we're currently taking our time working through Dr. Seuss early reader books, 3-5 pages a day depending upon the amount of text. For writing, we've been focusing mostly on copying sentences I have written, helping E to practice uniform letter size, learn spacing, and some punctuation. We began math concepts using the Math Counts series by Henry Pluckrose (requested from the library), focusing on one topic per week. And this workbook has been helpful in continuing math work; I will purchase more from Spectrum in the future.

the artists

Some of the topics we've explored (in varying levels of detail) so far this year include: trees, the United States, Washington D.C., water, birds, Veteran's Day, Thanksgiving, the continents, the Earth's composition & rocks, Martin Luther King Jr., and now we're taking about winter weather. I've used library books, websites, field trips, games, crafts, and other activities to create mini units around each theme. Without all of the print and electronic resources available, I'm not sure how I'd teach!

the loves of my life
(well, 2/3 of them)

Okay, so basically this post has become my year-so-far review. Thanks for giving me the platform. I'm assuming, of course, that you want to know what I do. If you don't, I hope you have not felt obligated to read this far! You may have noticed that I've offered little personal reflection and have discussed my feelings about the homeschooling experience. For now, I will publish this and leave those thoughts for my next post!


  1. Thanks for your thoughts on this - it's fun to read about your and E's journey through this year of homeschooling. I don't know that I will chose to homeschool myself, but seeing your curriculum and ideas are helpful since I'm certainly interested in enriching my children's learning at home.

  2. as a former K teacher, your lesson plans look great (notice the +eat family...this could be a challenge word because of the blend at the beginning of the word!) not only do your plans look orderly, but it sounds like E is getting to do some fun and interesting things. well done!!

  3. Sarah, thanks for the encouragement! My type A, teacher self sure loves printing out a full table of plans for a week. :)