Today for an update on our homeschooling I’m going to focus on the how’s. Last week I walked through the WHY’S, giving some of the reasons we decided to homeschool. With that under our belts, I’m excited to move on the how we homeschool.
There are as many ways to homeschool as there are reasons to do so. After deciding to homeschool I began researching all the different paths we could take. There is so much amazing information online about homeschooling, I don’t know how families were able to do this before the internet! Unfortunately, as with everything else, the vast amount of information can be overwhelming.
We sort of fell into our own homeschooling system. We had already been working with Kk so we simply began adding a few new things once she had mastered what she was learning. I spent the years between her turning four and six monitoring what worked and didn’t work. That was how I came to the conclusion that structured programs weren’t going to cut it.
By the time she was five she was already well past second-grade science and math. These are her two best subjects so she excels in them, although for two totally different reasons. She seems to understand math and retain what she’s learned far easier than anything else. Science is her favorite subject, she would far prefer watching a scientist explain microbiology than watch cartoons. Any type of science experiment is far better than playing at the playground any day. She decided when she was five that she would simultaneously be a scientist and an inventor when she grows up.
Wow, I just bragged for an entire paragraph…sorry. I’m one proud momma! I can be humble enough to mention, while she loves to read now, she hated learning how. I was wondering if she would ever enjoy reading the way I do. One day it clicked…
How? I started letting her watch me read to her at night, instead of having her close her eyes and get sleepy. It was only a couple weeks later that she was reading to me. It was a wonderful breakthrough! This might not be the miracle tactic for every child, but that’s what is so exciting about homeschooling…you can watch what works and what doesn’t, and adjust your teaching accordingly! (she still hates phonics, spelling, and comprehension btw)
Along with science, math, and English, we also learn history, typing, Hebrew, piano, scriptures, art, and gymnastics. In every area of her learning, she’s on different levels of difficulty. If I streamlined her teaching I would be forced to hold her back in some areas. Not every child is the same, if educational programs are what work for your kids then you’re doing the right thing! (No guilt HS’ing mommies) What I really hope to make clear here is that homeschooling is most successful when you gear learning based on child’shilds progress. Even if you use a program, tweek what you can to help your child where they need it most. When I can’t find a specific lesson I like, I create one myself!
So here is a short list of HOW’s
English: We started out when she was two using ABC Mouse, eventually stopping when she was five due to evolutionary material slipped into books. Not cool! Once she was a three and had learned the entire alphabet we worked with letters, one letter a week, using mostly coloring pages, dot to dots, and a copy work page. We switched to Looney Tunes Phonics after leaving ABC Mouse and began using K12Reader for spelling and reading comprehension. Plus good old fashioned reading, yay! I also consider her scripture work to fall under English. She copies selected scriptures helping improve her reading, writing, and spelling!
Art: I absolutely LOVE love love Kid’s Art Hub for art class. I use to throw this in a couple times a week and then play with playdough or shaving cream paint, or whatever else I found on Pinterest, hehe. But now she practically begs for these videos.
Math: I began working on numbers with her when she was 18-months so by the time she was two she could count to ten. However, at that age, I don’t believe she actually understood what she was doing. She had just memorized a sequence of words. After she started seeing pages with numbers written on them and little bees or apples next to the number representing it, things began to click. She progressed quickly through learning her numbers, telling time, counting money, learning measurements, and all the geometric shapes. For most of that, I used Education.com, now that she’s gone so far beyond that I make her math assignments myself progressing through the week with one idea but making it slightly more difficult each day. Along with that, she uses the SplashMath app which is super fun! I love backing up what she’s learning with games or coloring pages, so she equates learning with joy.
Science: Originally science all came from Education.com. I went steadfastly through the list of what kindergarteners learned, then first grade, then second grade, until finally, I realized she would do science all day if I allowed it! Now, while keeping in mind roughly what grade schoolers learn, we allow her curiosity run the show. It’s easy to find science experiments on Pinterest or youtube, but I will admit this is our most costly portion of lessons!
History: History started with showing her the states on the map and teaching her a little about each state. Then, of course, we began traveling the states which made that a lot easier! She also learned about the continents and the oceans. When it came time to learn the oceans I mixed science with history and we learned the difference between the oceans and the creatures in them. Once we finished with the states we spent a week on each of the presidents, Awesome History Worksheets, and are now moving on to learn other countries. I also used a fun app on her tablet that turned the states into a puzzle and a quiz.
Piano: I have no idea how to play the piano. But Kk wanted to play an instrument so badly! Now she loves learning new songs, but despises practicing old ones. We use Professor Hoffman on youtube here Super Awesome Piano Lessons. She had really learned so much!
Typing: There are literally hundreds of free typing games online. This isn’t my main concern as I don’t see her generation even having keyboards by the time she’s an adult! But playing with mommy’s laptop is fun to her, so she willingly learns.
As a side note, we also are currently learning cursive per her request. This is because one of her pin pals writes to her in cursive. Her Meme!
Hebrew: I know I’m breaking whatever sacred law there was about learning Latin first. I’m sorry! But Hebrew is the only language I have any proficiency in (and barely that) so it’s the one she’s learning. This is a wonderful place to start if anyone is randomly interested, Hebrew Lessons, or if you’re ad adult and want to teach yourself this is a great option, Hebrew through the Torah.
That just leaves gymnastics which we take her to, seriously some things need to be left to the experts. We stretch together in our daily work out and she talked me into trying the splits…it’s important in moments like that to reflect on how old you’ve become. HA!
So that’s our HOWS, it’s a daunting list but I need to let you in on an inside secret. My beautiful, sweet, thoughtful daughter, is EXTREMELY destructive. She always has been. If she could get her hands on it, she took it apart. If it could be climbed she did. If it could be broken it was. Until we started lessons, then we saw an immediate change in her. She was just BORED! (Inert heavy sigh here) Even now on down days, when she takes a break from lessons, it doesn’t take her long to build something, create something, or discover something. At least she’s putting things together now, as opposed to taking them apart!
That’s it, let me know if I missed anything or if you have any questions! Next week…where to homeschool?