I was a bit doubtful that I was going to be able to homeschool all these kids at the beginning of this year. But once Alex and I sought the Lord and came up with a plan, I realized it was VERY do-able. We had a great time at the Pastor and Leadership Conference we recently went to and the Lord spoke to us about a LOT of things.
|Hayven worshipping along side her uncle Pablo :)|
We were/are excited to start walking in them!
Every 6 months or so my husband I sit down and evaluate our family.
Where we are at and where we want to grow.
One thing we wanted to instill in our kids was to take on more personal responsibility for themselves and for others without us asking them over and over, day after day.
One way we are instructing them in this was to buy them an alarm clock for their bedroom. They were very excited to have their very own alarm clock! Every morning at 8am their alarm goes off and they need to finish their morning chores and be downstairs doing their personal devotions by 8:30am. We want them to get to the point where I don't even need to come and tell them to get moving. They just show up downstairs dressed, groomed, with a clean bedroom at 8:30am.
A second way we are training them is by having an actual chore chart. They carry it around and check off their chores as they do them. This includes their morning chores, their "jurisdiction" (or the room they're in charge of for the week), their daily chore (which I am able to swap around every day depending on what room/chore needs the most attention), and their evening chores. This way I don't have to remind them at all of what comes next on their list since they need to physically check it off.
Now why am I including all this on a post about homeschooling?!?
Well, we believe in Home-Educating. Not just reading, writing and arithmetic, but real life skills and character traits they need to do anything in life, including school work.
We decided for the ages of our kids, and for our family, we want to focus on (1) Reading, (2) Math, (3) Writing, (4) CKC - Scripture Memorization and Bible Study.
Reading: So the girls have their Bibles they read through 1ce-2ce a year, a stack of readers that get progressively more challenging, The Reading Lesson, as well as a weekly supply of readers from the library based off their personal preferences. See my post on The Key to Schooling: Reading. We do some sort of reading everyday, but we have two days a week that we focus on reading. I sit with each kid for a minimum of 30 minutes and we work on a level that challenges them.
We use every opportunity to read. They read recipes, street signs, signs on the city bus, magazines that come in the mail, my test messages over my shoulder (which drives me mad! :) ).
Math: We are trying out Math-U-See this year. So far we LOVE it so FAR. We previously used Singapore math. Math-U-See seems to work with every learning style (especially Hayven who struggled a bit with Singapore math). There also is no grades, which I LOVE. I don't like restraining a kid to a grade, and I love being able to move at our own pace. It's a "mastery" type of learning which means once they have shown they can teach me how to do something, we move on. If we stay on a concept for several weeks in a row, that's totally fine! We may fly through the next few chapters in a day!
We focus on math twice a week. We like doing this so that I can spend a good hour with each child on math. They get a nice long block of time to really work through a concept.
We use other real-life scenarios to do math. Alex gives the kids extra chores they can do to earn money. They save their money and learn how much they have as well as read price tags and learn what they can/can't afford. They learn how to count change, account for taxes, and they learn how to work to earn money.
I'll also have them measure our things for recipes (learning what 1/2 and 1/3 is, what a liter is, how to triple a recipe). We'll cut pizza and explain each kid gets 1/4 of the pizza, but it's cut into 8 slices so they have to figure out how many slices each one of them gets.
The kitchen helper of the week gets to measure, count, learn how to triple recipes (which is necessary with our size of family).
I give them tasks to do and explain to them that they need to have this task done at a certain time. They have to watch the clock and get an understanding of what 15-30 minutes is.
Writing: We have the books "A Reason for Handwriting". Our goal is to finish a sheet a week - Hayven does 2 sheets a week for Kindergarten. They write our scripture verses.
We'll also have them write out grocery lists, or House Rules they've broken, or letters to their friends to mail out.
We are also trying out Gymnastics for the twins this semester. I think they have 8-10 weeks of Gymnastics on Tuesdays. If we can fit this in with our current schedule without anything suffering, we're praying about possibly piano and/or drum lessons next semester, or to stick with gymnastics. Where God guides, He provides.
SO... having a schedule and very minimal things to do outside of the house seems to be key for schooling a large family. So far it's been working brilliantly. I feel like I could add a couple more kids to the mix and still be treading water pretty well. Especially as the oldest get older, it makes my job lot easier.
So here's a rough schedule for our home this season...