Saturday, August 25, 2012

Our Curriculum

I can't believe we are about to start homeschooling for-real.  We have dabbled with it for a while now -- during the last 2 summers -- but starting next week, when all of our friends' kids go back to school, ours will stay home.  Although I don't believe that all learning has to be done more 'officially' during the months of September through June, it somehow makes it feel more daunting to know that this is the time of year that the majority of America dedicates to educating their youth.  And, since this is our first year, I feel like I have a lot to prove, especially to myself.

Many of my friends have asked what curriculum we are using.  Some are surprised to find out that, at least within our state, a homeschooler can basically teach her children whatever she likes.  There is no official set of guidelines (although I believe you can follow the public school online at home through  Just for fun, I had looked at a lot of curriculums throughout the years, and Sonlight just stood out.  It is a literature-based unit study program, that can be used for multi-age teaching. It includes a lot of reading aloud to the kids, which I love and believe is so powerful (two of my favorite books on the subject are The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease and Reading Magic by Mem Fox). I have chosen their American history curriculum and will teach history and geography to all of the kids together (of course, different kids will get different things out of the same lesson, at their age and interest level.)  I have also chosen one of Sonlight's science program (Biology, Botany, and Physics) that we can all do together.

Now here comes the tricky part:  I have 2 kids learning to read (but at different levels), 1 advanced reader, and 1 not even close to reading.  How am I going to handle reading and writing?  Well, I have different programs for each child, and I will spend individual time with each child, each day, working on these subjects.  The same with math.  This has been the hardest part of my practice-homeschooling so far:  what to do with the other kids while working one-on-one in English and math?  I have tried centers --  workspaces with assigned topics such as art, writing, or computer for each child to rotate through until their turn with mom -- but the kids have been easily sidetracked and have become impatient for me.  I need to develop more accountability in order for this system to work more smoothly.  Or -- I could have all kids work quietly around me while I do individual lessons (I am just worried about the distractibility factor).  Obviously, this is a work in progress and I will have to come up with a definitive plan…uh, by next week!

We also do art projects together, and the kids practice Spanish, math drills, and reading games on the computer.

Curriculum 2012 - 2013

Ellie (Preschool)
  • Preschool: Before Five in a Row, and listening in on Sonlight Core D with us
  • Art: Kiwi Crates
  • Speech: Ms. Suzy is coming to our house for therapy twice a week (yay!)
  • P.E.: Swimming Lessons and Dance/Tumble
  • Other: Anything fun we’re doing that she wants to be a part of!

Peter (Kindergarten)
 Nicholas (First Grade)

Olivia (3rd grade) 

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