OK, so we officially finished our “school year” a few weeks ago but because I often get asked about how we homeschool especially since I also work from home part-time, I wanted to share a bit of our year in review.
If you’re new, you can also read about our journey to homeschooling. The thing about homeschooling is that there’s like 40 thousand different curriculum options out there (OK maybe not that many but A LOT) which is both great and overwhelming. There are several choices depending on your educational “philosophy”. There’s unschooling, charlotte mason, eclectic, etc. just to name a few. I personally lean towards the Classical education model with a touch of “eclectic” because I believe that if it was good enough for the great thinkers then it’s good for my kids.
So after looking at different options, I decided to go with Memoria Press’ Classical Core curriculum.
From their website:
The Classical Core Curriculum is a complete classical Christian curriculum that emphasizes the traditional liberal arts of language and mathematics and the cultural heritage of the Christian West as expressed in the great works of history and literature. The curriculum has an early focus on the basic skills of reading, writing, and arithmetic and a special emphasis on Latin. Latin is the best way to gain an academic vocabulary, to learn the formal system of grammar, and is, along with math, the best early critical thinking skills training. The curriculum’s study of the cultures of Athens and Rome, as well as Biblical and Church history, is designed to provide a basis for a proper understanding of European and American history.
I started with it last year when sweet girl was in kindergarten and thought it was a great program. So we continued with it this past school year with my girl in first grade and my little guy Jake did the pre-K program.
I love that Memoria Press offers a packaged all subjects option as well as individual lesson plans if you don’t want to follow each subject.
While I love the freedom of choosing what my kids learn about and how we structure our day I really wanted a program where I could (loosely) follow a teacher’s guide with lesson plans so I could have a general sense of what we needed to cover and Memoria’s is great.
The Lesson Plans cover:
- Literature and Enrichment (science/history/art read a louds)
While I referred to the daily lesson plans for most subjects I did make some changes for math; Memoria recommends Rod & Staff but we used Math U See this year.
Also we were light on the copybook/memory work because my kids were also participating in the AWANA program and were already doing a lot of memory verses.
The first grade curriculum provided great reading opportunities for my girl. This past year she read:
Little Bear by Else Holmelund Minarik
Little Bear’s Visit by Else Holmelund Minarik
Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina
Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey
Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
Billy and Blaze by C.W. Anderson
Blaze and the Forest Fire by C.W. Anderson
The Story About Ping by Marjorie Flack and Kurt Wiese
Keep the Lights Burning, Abbie by Peter and Connie Roop
Stone Soup by Marcia Brown
The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton
Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney
As well as other chapter book from the library just for fun. She’s doing a great job with reading which is my biggest goal because if I can raise good readers who love books I think they’ll have an easier time learning everything else.
Little guy enjoyed doing work along with his sister and practiced reading and writing and some basic math.
Memoria also offers a Book of Crafts for the Junior K level that go along with our read aloud selections as well as an Enrichment Guide. The guides are organized by week and match the core programs.They include an overview of each read-aloud book, author and illustrator biographies, oral reading questions, and a simple language lesson. And also include resources for the history/culture and science lessons, biographies of artists and composers, and poetry lessons. There are also art cards available for the Kindergarten, First Grade, and Second Grade levels. But to be honest we didn’t use these all that much.
We really focused on reading, writing, and arithmetic with science/nature study and history supplemented with Story of the World. (Which the kids also really loved and I highly recommend)
We also had time to explore, go on field trips, play dates with friends, etc.
*Please note: I am totally a type B person so I don’t stress too much about needing to do ALL things all of the time. This is not necessarily true of all homeschoolers, this is just our story.
We are flexible with our schedule but usually would do school from about 9-noonish. Then lunch around 12:30 and naps/rest time from 1:30-3ish. And additional school/enrichment from about 4:30-dinner time.
Again the beauty of homeschooling is that we do have flexibility so some days we would go to the library or on a field trip or just schedule appointments and have shorter “school days” and then make up work on other days. I limit the number of clients I take on each season so I usually meet with clients 1-2 days per week. On those days we do school work later on in the day for a shorter amount of time and I plan for that by doing extra work on the following day.
I also try to schedule our school year so that we do about 4-6 weeks of work and then take one off for catch up and enrichment; it works well especially because twice a year my awesome in-laws come visit for a month and having a flexible schedule allows for the kids to hang with the grandparents with shorter school schedules and then get caught up fairly easily. Because quality time with the grandparents is kinda priceless!
Bottom line is that my 7 year old can read pretty well and she enjoys it. She’s also doing well with math and both kiddos really liked learning about history through Story of the World and the workbook sheets that come with it. While we didn’t go into too much depth my 5 & 7 year old learned about Ancient Mesopotamia, Alexander the Great and the fall of Rome. Pretty cool.
We had a great year and are continuing to work during the summer on math, spelling, and geography. We use the summer months to try new curriculum that we will be adding in the fall.
Next week I’ll be heading off for vacation with the family for a couple of weeks but I will check in for my “What I Learned” post.
Hope you’re having a great summer so far!