So, we’ve sort of wrapped up our first year of homeschooling and by “sort of” I mean that my middle boy is done with his 8th grade online curriculum and we’re pretty much done with the Sonlight curriculum that I’ve been using with sweet daughter for pre-k.
Here’s what I’ve learned so far about homeschooling (in no particular order):
- There are like a million different types of curriculum out there and it can be overwhelming.
- However, homeschooling also allows you to customize your curriculum and try different things until you find what you like or what works best for your family. For example I really like that Sonlight lays it all out for you in the instructor’s guide and I like that it is heavily literature based but I also don’t like that it’s so reading heavy. My kids really do like reading but some of the books in the curriculum have been big hits while others not so much. The great thing is that I can spend more time on the books they like and then skip others.
- You really don’t have to spend any money to homeschool little ones. Now, I ended up purchasing the Instructor’s Guide and some of the books in the curriculum. But you really don’t have to. If you can find a great reading list or go on one the web sites for Sonlight, or Five in a Row or any of the other programs you can find the books at your local library. Also, there is SO much available online that all you need is a reliable printer and lots of paper and ink and maybe a trip to your local dollar store for some basic supplies. Some of my favorite sites are Confessions of a Homeschooler, 1+1+1=1, and Homeschool Creations.
- Each child is different so you may need to adjust (but that’s also the great thing about homeschooling is that you totally can!) I was hoping that since my two youngest are only a year and a half apart in age, that I’d be able to teach them pretty much the same curriculum just slightly more advanced for my daughter and while that may be possible in the future, the reality is that my youngest is a BOY and has a totally different learning style than his sister. Not to mention that he has a slight speech delay (aka his family can understand him but other people have a harder time, and he pronounces thing like “tookie” instead of cookie, which is cute but well, not correct) He loves puzzles and solving things, building things, etc. while my daughter is happy to practice reading and work on her letters.
- I kind of like it. Yup, I said it. Homeschooling is hard, no way around it and there are days when I really need a break from the kiddos, but with a school year under my belt I feel like this is the right thing for this season. And although it’s hard, it’s so wonderful to be here with my daughter as she’s sounding out words on flashcards and learning to read books to her little brother. In fact, check out this cool article on why homeschooled kids are so annoying. I so love my weird kids.
And so while I’m not doing “formal” school right now, we are schooling year round. Our summer learning will consist of practicing reading and writing with sweet girl. We’re using the First Start Reading program by Memoria Press and I REALLY like it. I may consider looking at their other curriculum eventually. We also have a few simple math and reading workbooks from the Dollar Store and are practicing sight words on flash cards.
Other “learning” will be done by playing with blocks, and other great educational toys, including the recent favorite Mr. Mighty Mind (I found an original 1981 version new on ebay, btw).
Additionally, we’re taking frequent trips to the library, spending time coloring and making art projects and going on fun field trips and hanging out with friends.
In August we’ll be going to back to a slightly more structured school schedule.
How about you friends, what are you up to this summer?