It’s “Back to (Home) School Week” around our house. Ironically, the children have really been looking forward to beginning school again. I like to start earlier than most because it give me a bit more “wiggle room” to take time off during the year. With balancing working and home schooling, it helps me to at least think I am ahead of the game, even if I am not! 🙂
Our week looks a bit different than a normal week. Okay, really, what is normal? That word is so overrated, but still! Our Family Day/Sabbath is on Mondays, so we don’t really “do school.” Mondays are reserved for resting, recreating and roaming. So, I am doing my best to plan out a few fun activities for our Family Day. Some Mondays, we will go to a park or meet up with friends. Other times, we might head to Seattle (We love our city!) to check out the Pacific Science Center or Woodland Park Zoo. And, honestly, some Mondays, we might just stay in our PJs all day long and do absolutely nothing.
Our typical school week is Tuesday-Friday and Saturday is “Catch-Up Day”. Usually, we reserve learning time for the mornings. Although, last year we discovered that saving our read-a-louds for the evenings was a good idea. We all pile up on the couch and end the day with a good book. So, we sort of have a routine, but it is not set in stone.
I think that’s one of the beauties of home schooling. You know what you need to get done. Yet, as long as it gets done, it doesn’t matter where or when. Some days, we school at home. Some days we school at work/church. And some days, Mom gets crazy and she packs everything up and we go to a coffee shop or park.
Like never before, I am really, really excited about home schooling my kiddos, the curriculum we are using, and the activities we have planned. The big idea for me is to instill the LOVE OF LEARNING. This year, we are incorporating several new curriculums/approaches into our learning time. I have always been drawn to Charlotte Mason’s education philosophies (and here), so we are continuing to follow her approach.
I greatly appreciate her statement,
I am . . . a child of God, a gift to my parents and my country. I’m a person of great value because God made me.
I can . . . do all things through Christ who strengthens me. God has made me able to do everything required of me.
I ought . . . to do my duty to obey God, to submit to my parents and everyone in authority over me, to be of service to others, and to keep myself healthy with proper food and rest so my body is ready to serve.
I will . . . resolve to keep a watch over my thoughts and choose what’s right even if it’s not what I want.
So, once again, we will be using a curriculum that is based upon Charlotte Mason’s educational philosophies. For the last few years, we have used My Father’s World, which we really enjoyed. This year, Jamison will use the phonics portion of “My Father’s World 1st Grade.” However, for our main curriculum, we are switching to Ambleside Online/Year 1 for both kids. (Next year, I plan on using “Exploring Countries and Cultures,” which I have already purchased, along with selected readings from Ambleside Online.)
I first discovered Ambleside Online when we lived in Denver several years ago. Then, I was just beginning to investigate home schooling. Once I stumbled upon this site, I was hooked and knew one day we would use this resource. Ambleside Online covers Bible, World History & American History, Geography, Literature, Poetry, Natural History & Science, Music Appreciation, and Art Appreciation, I love the rich literature that is suggested for the children to read (or parents to read to them, as the case may be). As well, since many of the books are available for Kindle (most for FREE), I can load them and go. We can school at home, at work, at the park…just about anywhere!
This year, we will be reading works of Shakespeare, Aesop’s Fables, Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling, beautiful selections of poetry, stories about the life of Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, and Buffalo Bill. Along with diving into a children’s book of church history by Richard M. Hannula called Trials and Triumph. Not to mention, spending a great amount of time outdoors exploring nature and reading from Parables from Nature by Margaret Getty. (Love this already!)
To round off the children’s academic studies, I will be adding Susan Wise Bauer’s “First Language Lessons” and “Writing With Ease” (Level 1 for Jamison. Level 2 for Jadon). Our math curriculum is “Singapore Math,” which has worked really well for Jadon. Jamison will be starting level 1A this year. (In the last few days, she has gotten really excited about math. YEA!) An amazing friend at church provided us with a wonderful video science curriculum, which includes some really fun experiments. In addition to academics, we will begin a study on character, as well as reading selections from the Bible. The children will take weekly piano lessons, too.
And of course, the dreaded question of “socialization” comes up from time to time, which honestly makes me want to laugh out loud. If you have ever met my children, or know them in person, you know they have no problems with socialization. In fact, at least one of them might be a bit too social! Seriously, though, this is not a concern of mine. During the week, they have play dates with friends, activities at church, as well as a fabulous enrichment class at our local YMCA.
Prior to this year, the kids were always enrolled in swim lessons at the YMCA. In addition to a weekly swim lesson, this class includes PE, science & arts and crafts. They are going to love it! Plus, every Friday morning, I will get two hours to myself. Or, perhaps, I can sneak in a breakfast/brunch meeting with my most amazing husband from time to time.
So, that’s our plan for this year!