homeschool

Pre-K, 1st & 3rd Grade Homeschool Roundup

IMG_6662.PNG

The only way I’ve managed to get this far in homeschooling is by picking the brains of other homeschool mamas. Linking arms - and blogs - with other homeschooling women offers perspective, tools, and so much grace. It helps us to think outside of our own box, or maybe offers us freedom to create something new altogether. My prayer in offering this to you is just to show another way of doing things. It’s not better than, but it is a best fit for our family right now!

—————

Preschool:

This Reading Mama, “Reading the Alphabet”

One plus One plus One Alphabet printables

Matching workbook

puzzles

Read alouds

—————

1st Grade:

Sonlight 2nd Grade Readers

Saxon 2

First Language Lessons 1/2

Explode the Code 2

A Reason for Handwriting

*Classical Conversations Geography

*Story of the World

*Apologia: Botany

—————

3rd Grade:

Sonlight Grade 4 Readers (we did half last year, half this year and do not read aloud every day)

Saxon 5/4 + Life of Fred

First Language Lessons 3

Fix it Grammar

Explode the Code

Handwriting with Ease, cursive

Lifepac Geography Grade 3

*Classical Conversations Geography

*Story of the World

*Apologia: Botany

—————

*these subjects are combined with all ages, even the pre-ker ever now and then.

For tips on scheduling, check out how we used Block Scheduling this year!

Kindergarten and 2nd Grade Roundup

Woo!  May is here which means school is almost not here - or maybe it's already left your house for the summer :)  Either way, we are celebrating with completing books, finishing up our tests and looking back on goals planned and now achieved.  

Which inevitably means - time to look at options for next year!  As registrations quickly approach along with all those terrific homeschool resale pop-ups I thought I'd offer a peek into what our kindergarten and 2nd grade roundup look like.  

If you are new to homeschooling or just getting your feet wet with the idea - be encouraged: It does not have to be hard.  You don't have to compete with the school system at large; you get to choose what works best for YOU and YOUR family!  You get to use all the "transition time" that takes up a large portion of the public school day and let them learn at their own pace, pursue their personal interests, help them catch up in areas of weakness, challenge their strengths and offer them a taste of truth, goodness and beauty in the every day.  

So on to the good stuff....

Kindergarten!  About 45 minutes - 1 hour a day of direct one-on-one teaching time...

Handwriting - A Reason for Handwriting

Math - Saxon 1

Reading: started with Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons then eventually moved on to any level one readers from the library

Spelling - All About Spelling

Classical Conversations Cycle 3 - incorporated during our morning time, copy work found on Half A Hundred Acre Word and several fill in the blank options from CC Connected

The End :) 

 

Second Grade: About 1 1/2-2 hours of direct one-on-one teaching time

Handwriting - started with a Reason for Handwriting cursive; wasn't a great fit this year so we switched to Handwriting Without Tears and it's been a night and day difference.  

Math- Saxon 3 (finished up from last year) and Intermediate Saxon 4

Reading - Sonlight Readers - they offer a great online assessment to evaluate which level to pursue with your reader; the chapters for 4th Grade increased significantly in length so we followed our own schedule and will finish these through the summer.  

Spelling - Sequential Spelling

Classical Conversations Cycle 3 - incorporated during our Morning Time, copy work found on Half a Hundred Acre Wood and several fill in the blank options from CC Connected

Language Arts - Writing With Ease (we stopped after week 24; it wasn't a favorite for both of us and we were able to incorporate similar ideas and concepts in our other books) & First Language Lessons 3 (this is going to last us through next year as well so we only did about 2 lessons a week after we got into the diagramming of sentences).

History - LifePac Grade 3

 

That's really all there is to it!  The kids get science, art & PE at our co-ops, and we will use Apologia Science Jr Notebook Journal for our summer studies.  Of course there are plenty of games, lots of reading aloud, music studies and all the things that make up our school day that can't be quantified into a textbook.  That's the beauty and hybrid bit of homeschool for us!  

If you're looking for an idea of a daily schedule, visit this post, Our Loose Homeschool Schedule 

 

 

 

An Open Letter to Homeschool Moms During the Month of February

Dear fellow homeschool mamas,

I see you.  You’re looking at this 2018 calendar wondering how on earth is it only February 1st.  Have we REALLY got another 3 ½ months left of this??  

There is this funny thing that happens to some of us during the month of February - sometimes called the winter slump.  School seems impossible.  Raising kids, out the window.  The cold weather looms and all of your curriculum choices are horrible; you can’t believe you ever attempted this math book let alone tried to teach more than one kid!  Who ever thought of this crazy idea to homeschool anyway.  Surely it wasn’t your idea.  So long schedules; goodbye productivity.  You’re ready to wave that white flag high in the air and send all of your kids to public school for the remainder of the year.  That’ll teach em!  

But before you keep trodding down that path - or maybe before you even start… here are a few things others have taught me and I’ve found to be true myself.

  1. Don’t make any rash decisions about your curriculum for the month of February.

  2. Do not make any major change decisions about the following school year during the month of February.

  3. Take a break from school if needed and come back full steam ahead in March.

  4. Go back and re-read all the reasons why you’ve chosen to homeschool and make a list of all the goals you HAVE attained, both relationally and academically.  I bet there are more wins than it feels at this exact moment.

  5. Bake some cookies.  Brownies.  Loaves of banana bread.  A lot of them.  Every day, if necessary.  They drastically change the mood of most situations, as do hot chocolate and breakfast outings to Chick Fil A.  

  6. Find your tribe and stick together; meet up with friends at the local museum.  Have friends over for lunch.  Sign up for all the things at your local library, but whatever you do, don’t stay secluded!

  7. If you are not one of those mamas that goes through a February slump - find one that does and love on her extra big!

So ladies, be encouraged that February is a short month.  28 days, in fact.  With a little help from those adorable Pinterest Valentine’s Day math printables and a few extra play dates, you can do this!  Am I right??

 

 

 

Those Early Years - Part 2

As mentioned last week, there is just all the grace and flexibility in the world to let those little years stay filled with wonder and discovery.  The way we approach “school” during the four-five years involve a lot of hands-on, everyday life with a seasonal stack of “extras” that might include cut and paste, sorting, tracing, early handwriting, etc.  If it gets by us one day, or a week, there is no stress.  If there is extra interest and excitement to do more in one day, then we do more.  But for the most part, I follow their pace.

*for one of my children’s Pre-K Year I did intentionally try and have him complete one or two school related tasks a day.  The only purpose of this was to instill in him the habit of listening to my teaching and understanding that there are set expectations for school; it had very little to do with academics.  

*We are also part of a co-op that starts at age 4; We don’t do much with review until their second year, but they retain so much of it anyways!  Review time is always incorporated as a family and largely led by books we check out that pertain to the material.  

Here we go!  

Favorite Curriculum & Websites

**again, used loosely.  I print things off monthly and keep a big stack in a folder for each age and pull out as desired.  

1+1+1

This Reading Mama

Read Aloud Revival

 We love Zaner Bloser for beginning handwriting and their 1st book is a great start.  That could be a post in and of itself - reading and writing and when to start.  

 

Favorite Toys for Pre-K:

Dollar Tree Buys:

Corn and beans in a tray or small bin

Pom Poms to sort, put in and out of containers, etc.

Pipe Cleaners with letter beads

**I made a ton of busy bags one time for my first born; but was reminded that boys are just a little different when it comes to quiet time play and almost everything I made was either destroyed or reconstructed to be something else, so I let that one go...  

 

 

 

 

Those Early Years - Part 1

Once upon a time I had a baby.  Who turned into a sentence speaking 18 month old that turned into a 3 year old reader who then started computing multiplication in his head around 4, reading through the Bible around 5 and completed his first boxed set of novels just before 6.  His drive and focus was amazing and sometimes overwhelming.  He was so busy - he never slept.  In fact I’ve just now surrendered my 7 year battle of trying to get him to sleep more :)  He is who he is.  I also have a precious almost 6 year old who cannot get his b's and d's sorted out to save his life.  He sees everything in shapes and colors, what it could be instead of what it actually is.  He spends most of his time creating and dreaming, living outside of any sort of proverbial box and it's amazing and wonderful.  He's taught me a lot about slowing down and savoring.  My 3rd born is a unique and incredible mix of the two, who keeps us laughing/crying on a daily basis.

But I remember approaching those preschool years with my firstborn and feeling a lot of pressure to dive into homeschooling - because we could.  He was ready.  I was ready, I thought.  And we’d just spent the past four years playing, puzzling, reading, field tripping, walking and talking and doing all the things.  And really, I found schooling, curriculum shopping, all the extra reading and researching so much fun.  There is so much to look at and choose from and such great resources available right at your fingertips; Unit studies, coloring packs, busy bags galore.  All the seasonal crafts you can think of are just right there!  The eagerness and excitement of starting something new and setting up “school” just seemed fun.  

I am thankful we started when we did, and how we did and the things we chose to do.  But in my few years of parenting, and then diving into it again with my second born, I am just so thankful for the freedom homeschool affords; and if I could impart any wisdom or have the opportunity to encourage any new mamas out there with preschoolers and kindergarteners on their hands...this would be my list of top ten things to remember….

-DO play.  For me, that sounded dreadful.  What on earth had I been doing the past four years?  I was played out.  But every study under the sun shows the benefits of early play - even into ages 6, 7, 8 and 9.  Let those littles create, dream up and think to their hearts content.  **for those busier bodies that go from one thing to the next, structured play and sticking to a loose schedule is so helpful!

- DON’T over plan.  They are just so young!  Know your personality type - but also know the personality types of your kids.  I am a planner to my core, but not all of my kids thrive at the same pace or in the same box that I do.  Leave them space to explore at their own pace, even if it looks so much different than yours.

- Less. Is. More.  Our natural inclination is to give our kids the best this world has to offer; All the electives, all the classes, all the sports, all the books and experiences.  Academically speaking, children don’t need unit studies and tidy curriculum packages at this age.  They need structure and they need to know what to expect but ditch the busy work and extracurriculars to let them be.  

-Ditch the electronics.  If your house is anything like mine, there is a magical thing that happens when an electronic device come out: peace. And. quiet.  Mama gets a break.  Free babysitting.  But these are such precious years to instill self control and wise decision making; if you give a child the choice between playing/reading on a tablet or building with blocks or legos, they will of course gravitate towards the tablet!  But as educational as those apps claim to be, nothing...noth-ing… compares to the hands-on play time at such a young age.  

***I want to be clear here, life happens in seasons.  And if you find yourself in a season needing those moments of quiet or needing a break, I am with you and understand.  We are in a season where some days I’m couch ridden or just do not have the capacity to move a muscle - give yourself grace.  Use what is available to maintain peace and sanity in your home until you find yourself a little more capable.  

-Enjoy the slower mornings, and choose to focus on character and responsibility more than academics; my eldest thrived on the structure of a schedule.  Some mornings he was dressed, fed, read to, played with, and finished his morning snack by 7a.m.  Which kind of set me on a trajectory of jumping right to it every morning - but mamas, be encouraged that those slower mornings matter.  Taking time to instill helpful habits, starting with the Word, snuggling up for a great book or exploring nature on a morning walk - they all matter more than getting in that reading or phonics lesson.  

-Read.  Read.  And then read some more.  The end :)  

-If something isn’t working, give it some time - if it’s still not working, switch!   Sometimes we feel really bound by deciding on something that we stick it out even if it’s making "school" time miserable; Because we have to check it off the list, duh.  But it’s just not worth it.  I bet one of your goals in home educating is to tailor your child’s education to what works for them - so just keep in mind that if it isn’t working, you’re in charge and can change it!

-Let them lead.  If they are driven, let them keep going.  If they are laid back, let them be laid back.  If art and creativity consumes their day, follow them along and see what can be discovered together.  If reading lessons are going great but suddenly there is push back, it’s ok to back off.  I once read somewhere that as far “ahead” as kids can be at a young age, and as far “behind” as they can be at a young age - by the age of 10 most children meet around the same spot academically.  

-PRAY.  Our God is the God of creativity - He delights in discovery.  He adores relationship.  He is the giver of all wisdom - and He genuinely cares about your heart to homeschool.  Before you dive into curriculum and scheduling, spend some time praying over what would be a best fit for your week, month, year.  Ask Him to give you insight to your kids, open your eyes to their unique giftings and areas He wants you to focus on.  After all, He is the one who made them :)

So I guess I only had 9, not 10.  

Stay tuned for Part Two, which will be a list of my favorite preschool and kindergarten blogs, printables, curricula and toys!  

 

Hybrid Homeschool 101

Hybrid Homeschool 101:  How did we get here.  

Want in on a little secret?  This whole Hybrid Home thing actually started out with far more narrow of a vision.  Narrow as in: The Hybrid Homeschooler.  It’s a whole thing, you know?  Staying home with your kids, trying to stay sane and teach them and feed them and keep them alive all at the same time and stuff.  I called up a sweet friend (the gracious kind that is willing to talk to you for hours on end while you drive your 3 kids home from Georgia in the middle of the night) and said “I HAVE OUR BLOG IDEA.  THE HYBRID HOMESCHOOLER!”  To which she replied… “THAT’S AWESOME!!!  But I don’t homeschool!”

Which really, that’s kind of where all of my thoughts landed that night prior to calling her - I am in fellowship and in community with some amazingly beautiful, talented, gifted women who are clothed in strength.  Determined to fight for their family, advocate for their children and give their all day in and day out.  And the funny thing?  We don’t all match.

This summer was the first time I found myself on the side of the conversation in which moms were asking ME questions about how to homeschool.  What curriculum we use, what our schedule looks like.  I’ve been around the block a time our two just talking screen time and chore charts.  Responsibilities.  Structure.  Socialization.  I absolutely love my days with my boys - hard.  But good.  And I absolutely love talking homeschool.  But really our choices and reasons for homeschooling and the curriculums we’ve chosen are things I’ve been picking and choosing from- a blend that is tailored to our family.  A hybrid, one might say (see what I did there?).  And at the end of every conversation there was kind of this sinking feeling, like I didn’t have enough to offer them.  That I just wasn’t going to help them see the big picture.  There was this voice inside me that wanted to just shout YOU. DO. YOU!  BE FREE!  And just do you really well.  Because truthfully, at the end of the day, as much as we know in our heads that not every child fits in a box…neither do us mamas.  

In typical kind-gracious-loving fashion, my friend heard me out - but took it further to not just the homeschooling mom of 3.  But into every area that we’re tempted with the lie … “you should be doing more.”  

Thus, The Hybrid Home was birthed. 

I love essential oils.  But I also really love Children’s Motrin.  And bug spray.  

I use Norwex for just about everything.  Along with toilet bowl cleaner and bleach.  

It is a fact: You will not lose your salvation if you’re vegan one day and throw a whole chicken + 1 stick of butter in the crock pot the next.  #balance

I can feed my family well 95% of the time but like, some nights it’s Tyson chicken nuggets prayed for and anointed with holy oil.  

I could go on and on and on, about all the hybrid up in this home.  Not from a place of discontentment or striving for the next best thing - I most certainly once was - but now, rather from a place of complete peace in knowing who I am, and who I am not.  And being ok with both.  

Sweet friends, our hope for you as your peruse and mingle about The Hybrid Home is that you would be filled with the encouragement that you are uniquely made to be you.  There is not another like you.  And while the world tries to tell us that we have to be all organic, or all oily, or all vegan and completely Charlotte Mason or 100% classical, off the grid or on, a complete extrovert or none whatsoever, we so desire for you to know that it’s ok to mix it up.  It’s ok to say you hate science experiments and prefer readalouds.  It’s ok to be a screen free family but let your kids binge watch cartoons on Saturday mornings.  Whole foods it as much as possible, but if the McDonalds drive thru is what is going to set a better tone in your home then go big and upsize.  Send one to school and homeschool another.  Be free of the constant yammering soapboxes coming from the internet and hold on tight knowing that the Creator God has allowed you to bring glory to Him in a way that is unique to you and your family.  And just do you - really really well.  

“a person who fears the Lord avoids all extremes.”  Ecclesiastes 7:18

xoxo

L