In addition to all the insanity around here, we are also a homeschooling family. I have had several people ask me about what we do so I thought that I might share our over all structure and maybe post my lesson plans now and then.
Calendar: We school 5 days a week year round. We have more than our 180 required days and of course we take time off when we need to/ want to. I have 5th through high school students 4 levels.
Schedule: Daily: The kids are up by 6 or so… I bought them all an alarm clock so they get them selves up and they eat, feed the animals, do their daily chores and get ready for the day. We rarely school in pajamas. There came a time when I felt like it was important for them to learn to get themselves prepared for their days on their own. We school from 7:30 until we are done for the day.
7:30 is quiet time It is the time I require my kids to spend some time, reading their bible or in prayer or reading a devotional or something that helps them grow as a Christian or a person. I feel like it is important to teach a time of reflection and regrouping centered around spiritual growth.
Beginning at 8:00 am we do a bible study of some kind. I read aloud from a book on our classical book list, a chapter or so. We then hit the books, Monday – Thursday. We spend 2 to 3 hours in a subject. It gives my kids an opportunity to work at their own pace without interruption. We work like this- Monday- Math, Tuesday- science, Wednesday-Grammar, vocab, spelling etc., Thursday- History. we experimented with other schedules but this is the one that worked the best for us. If they don’t finish the minimum assignment (which is usually one unit) – they have Saturday school. We Break for lunch and then work on our Unit Study, We are usually done around 2 o clock… On Friday we do creative writing, bible study, geography and art. If there are field trips we do them on Fridays if at all possible. I try to schedule my appointments after two. Recently we started going to the Military Institute on Monday and Thursday in the evening to swim, use the gyms and get exercise. Tuesday nights, we power clean the house. We used to do it on Saturday mornings but I decided they deserved a day to sleep in and have some down time. Ok I wanted to sleep in and have some down time and I like my Saturday mornings free to cuddle or hang out with Cowboy. Wednesday nights, we go to church and Sundays are Church and Family days. The Third Friday of the month I let the older kids invite friends, head to town and go to the movies or whatever they want pretty much… without us while Cowboy and I mill around town. Because we live so far out we don’t do this all the time… So late movies and teenage rigmarole are limited ( Thank you Jesus)
Curriculum: I Use grade level/ skill level appropriate curriculum for Math and Grammar. For Science, I use Apologia—- I love it so much! My Kids really love it! For History, I love the Story of The World, the mystery of history and I also incorporate some Abeka into my lesson plans depending on the kid. I use time lines and progressive studies and incorporate as much Classical education as I can. We use note-booking for every subject.
Unit Studies: The Unit studies are where the fun begins. I Loosely base my Unit studies on the KONOS Curriculum. I am not disciplined enough to be completely structured which is why I say loosely based. Sometimes while I’m planning my mind wanders off to things that seem more challenging and so much more fun than just one curriculum can offer so I mix them up. I might start off on a sheep unit and end up weaving a navajo rug or making freinds with a herd of llama’s. That’s Just my adhd. I quite enjoy it.
I really like the multi-level learning. My kids are learning the same things at the same time but on their own level of skill and grade. I also have them create a lap book for each unit, which is like a creative file folder, recording their progress, projects and assignments. I make a lesson plan syllabus for each kid so they know what we will be studying. We use tons of material from the library and some from the internet, field trips, experiments and anything I can think of that is hands on, messy and interesting.
After they finish their projects they go outside with dad and blow them up. Seriously. It’s how we balance out one boy and a house full of girls. It’s delicious.
Grading: I don’t give them grades… I let them earn points for whatever goal they are trying to get to. For example… right now they are earning points for an x box 360— they have to earn 100,000 points as a unit to get their paws on it. They earn points for assignments and projects completed. Sometimes I will give them points based on how many points were possible and sometimes it is a straight earn for participation. They might earn 100 points for a completed math assignment or 1000 points for a well written essay. It will take them 4/6 months to earn 100,000 points… ( unless I take pity on them and give them a mega assignment, which I do occasionally) they are up to 60,000 points or so…
Other…. Other things I will be getting into soon are things like foreign language, drivers ed, sports, arts, and scary teenager things that I don’t want to. Cowboy has taught some of the kids to play the guitar and I have a couple interested in piano or dance… and some sports…. It will only be limited to the hours in a week I guess and how much energy I can muster up from the left overs.
I would like to take a moment and thank My Heavanly Father for coffee. Amen.
Here is my short hand on what we are studying now just to give you an idea.
Math and English are grade level.
History: Ancient History ( all)
Science: anatomy( 11th grader) Biology ( 9th Grader) Physics and Chemistry ( 5th and 7th grader)
Art: Creating an Art Journal: techniques- collage, over journaling, texture, paints, stencils, stamps,inks, and book binding
Bible: We are beginning a small group study Called ” Not a Fan” We are also sorta diagramming the Book of John
Creative writing-I give them a topic… Like ” If I were an alien” and we write for 5 minutes until the timer goes off. We also record things we are grateful for.
Reading: we are reading Swiss Family Robinson
Unit study: ears, hearing, classical music, composers and music theory.
We will learn the parts of the ear, investigate how sound travels to the brain, hearing loss and it’s causes, Helen Keller, sign language, frequency, and how the voice works. We will study several composers of Classical music, facts about their lives and become familiar with their music. We will study basic music theory and how to read music. We will study woodwinds, percussion, strings and horns and the kids will construct an instrument. Then blow it up I am sure. We will do a few fun experiments on sound and each of them has a research report to do… one on Helen Keller, One on Classical music, One on the larynx and voice, one on frequency and how sound travels, then they share with each other what they learned. They construct a lap book and complete a notebook section for this unit.
It will take us about a month to finish it all.
Some other Units we have done this year are: Pirate ships and things that float, The Jewish holocaust, Sheep and Sheparding, Women of the bible,
I guess that about wraps up that share….. It’s my birthday today so I am not cooking. I dont have anything Planned because I forgot it was my birthday until my sister called me this morning….. Cowboy is cooking… he is a way better cook than me so I guess I am off to have a parent teacher conference…. Which translates here to a nap or a date.