We recently celebrated our 100th day of school! If you started in August, then you may be thinking, “Really?! We’ve already surpassed 100 days a long time ago.” First trimester ills and a little S.A.D. hit us hard recently. Plus, we only “school” 4 days a week at this early stage in the homeschooling game.
Anyway, I like to mark milestones with food (healthy, huh?!), so what better way to celebrate 100 days of school than to indulge in yummy doughnuts from our local Krispy Kreme.
Since it’s been over 65 days since my last homeschool post, I thought I’d share an update including some challenges I’ve rectified plus new challenges we’re now facing. Because, as you know, life wouldn’t be fun without a challenge or two
Lessons I’m Learning
In October, I mentioned my struggle to teach math to our kindergartener. When we started homeschooling, I pieced together our kindergarten curriculum in an effort to save money, but it wasn’t working, especially for math.
After trying Life of Fred for awhile, I just had to pack it up.While the narrative was funny and my daughter loved Fred’s adventures, neither of us could do the math problems at the end. It just didn’t work for us.
However, some homeschooling friends recommended Saxon K, and it has been a lifesaver! We didn’t start until the end of October, but last week we started the first lesson for April. I’m going at my daughter’s pace, but the math is very basic. Still, I am glad we didn’t go with the 1st grade curriculum because the kindergarten curriculum builds a strong mathematical foundation that
she we need.
Another challenge I mentioned back in October was how to handle my antsy 3-year-old. Well, thanks to my amazing sister-in-law, I found a curriculum just for her! It’s Confessions of a Homeschooler’s “Letter of the Week” downloadable preschool curriculum. For $15, you get printables & activities for every letter of the alphabet. These activities are F-U-N! If they weren’t, Cora would not be on letter m.
With “Letter of the Week,” my daughter does do-a-dot paints, practices cutting and glueing, works on fine motor skills, colors, counts, and is learning her sounds. Sure I could print worksheets and create activities for her for free, but I just don’t have the time or energy right now. For me, $15 was a great investment that my other young children will also be able to use when they’re ready.
The “Letter of the Week” curriculum has been such a blessing. Each day I put Cora’s school work in her workbox, so she knows exactly what to do while I work with big sister. I stop periodically to check on her, ask her about what she’s doing, and answer questions, but basically, she’s 3 and I let her do her own thing. I don’t make her doing any work she doesn’t want to do, although I encourage her to try. She is still antsy but her energy is focused for at least 15-20 minutes and then she runs off to play.
My new challenge is the almost 2 year old. Right now, she’s doing 1 of 2 things: (1) reading books in her crib, which works for about 30-40 minutes or (2) (most often) “participating” with us by pulling out and “playing” with all the math manipulatives. I’m thinking about trying blanket time for her, but laziness has kept me from doing the training.
Any suggestions, Moms of little people? She really likes to be in on the action and I’m trying to let her, but some days I’m at my wit’s end.
Next week I’m attending the Teach Them Diligently conference in Nashville. It’s a homeschool convention that I attended last year, and I am so excited to be going back again this year. It’s just about that time of the year when you need some encouragement, motivation, and inspiration in your homeschool, and the speakers & sessions are phenomenal. Plus, I’m eager to check out the curriculum fair.
Speaking of curriculum, I’m also researching & making plans for next year. Being frugal is still a goal, but I’m learning that in my current season I have to be practical and reasonable.
Here are my criteria for effective, useful curricula for me as I prepare to teach a rising 1st grader & pre-kinder:
- minimal prep work & planning
- will work with multiple learners
- all- (or mostly all-) inclusive (includes all materials needed)
- can be used & reused
I prefer a Classical Christian/Charlotte Mason approach.
Curriculum research is a little overwhelming because there are so many options, but as I pray about next year, remind myself of our goals, and create new goals for a new year, I believe this challenge will also be overcome.
Homeschooling: it is a daily adventure, but God is giving us success each day, sometimes in very unexpected ways. I can’t believe we’ve already hit 100 days of school, and yet I can Thanks be to God for getting us there!
How is your homeschooling year going? What challenges are you facing? I’d love to know so we can encourage each other.