Home School

We are home schoolers.  We had anticipated sending our oldest daughter to kindergarten in a public school, but opted against it, when we weren't happy with what we heard on parent orientation night.  While it may seem as though we made a snap decision, it was truly just the final straw.  We had talked about home school even before our oldest was born, and we are beyond grateful that life has worked out in such a way that we can do this.

We home school:
  • in hopes that our children will keep their innate love of learning.
  • so we can give our children individualized education.
  • so we can keep our values at the forefront of their education.
  • to maintain a level of discipline that is not currently matched in public schools.
  • so our children will be given a strong educational framework.
School for us is required (by the state) to be at least 4 hours long, so there are days we get our four hours in and we're finished, while other days we are learning all day long.  Our days are varied, but our mornings are pretty consistent--reading, writing, and 'rithmitic.  We start with the written work and then move on to the readings in science or social studies and our 'special' activities that we do each week (logic, etiquette, gymnastics, music, and art).

We have found that home school has many added benefits for our family:
  • The kids all get to be together--the girls were both concerned about what the other would be doing with Kate away for school.
  • We have added latitude in travel plans.  We had found that Justin and Kate's schedule were so far off from each other that they would not be off at the same times for breaks except Christmas and summer.
  • I know what she's doing every day.  I can push her harder than her teacher could, while balancing several other students, and I can take it slow when she needs that too.
  • We are able to share in her love of learning, because we both truly love eduction this is a wonderful joy for us.
  • We get to play outside on sunny afternoons.
  • The kids can stay in their pajamas until noon if they want to.
The 'Big' Questions:
Socialization
We aren't worried about socialization.  Our kids have each other, church, gymnastics, and classes that we sign up for from time to time, and quite honestly, I was at a public school, despite our very best efforts there were some stinkers there and there were good kids doing rotten things.

Education
I have a BS in education and Justin has an PhD in chemistry, not that I think homeschooling parents need those degrees, but it doesn't hurt.  I liked English and did well in school over all; he's a history and science buff.  We feel pretty adequate in teaching just about everything aside from an oral foreign language (I took American Sign Language in college and he took Biblical Hebrew).  We are working on Latin for now, because it is such a part of English.  We have started with Song School Latin, but have plans to move to Visual Latin when the kids are older.

Curricula
I didn't buy a box.  I didn't buy much that first year, though we purchase more these days.

Here's was 1st Grade for Kate (the oldest):
Reading: She reads from McGuffey Readers and the little book worm reads a lot of library books.  I read to her...a lot.  We read quite a bit during the day and Justin reads to the kids every night as well.  Gabby is reading some from Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons.
Writing: We are using Writing with Ease four days a week and copying from the first chapter of Luke on Friday's.
Arithmetic: We are working through Singapore Math.  We should finish Level 1B in February.
Social Studies: We're working our way through The Story of the World.  She enjoys the stories and the coloring pages from the activity book. I had great intentions to do a host of the more involved activities, but we just haven't gotten to them--maybe the next time through!
Science: We are also making good use of our library for this subject.  We're focusing on biology for this year.  We have studied a host of animals.  We're currently studying systems of the body, and we'll round out the year with some botany.
Arts: We're teaching very basic keyboard skills, listening to music, and practicing some graphic art.  We draw, paint, and have made some weaving and sewing projects.
P.E.: The girls both are in gymnastics.  We practice flips in the living room, running outside, and they never seem to stop moving.
General: We read a lot!  We visit the library weekly: we've listened to audio books, read books about pioneer families and gladiators as well as children much like themselves.  We also study a little etiquette and a touch of logic each week.

That's us, in a nutshell, for this year anyway!

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