Friday, September 17, 2010

Homeschooling- first 4 weeks under our belts!

We're four weeks into our school year and I've learned much.

1.  I'm amazed at how much my kids can accomplish in a given day!  I worried that we were biting off more than we could chew this year.  We added art for the first time and science as a formal subject (for Monk, 11) also for the first time.  The kids have done great and are finished most days by 2.  This is largely because of some changes I made due to concerns of not getting everything done each day.  Mainly, we're getting started 30 minutes earlier (the kids rise at 6:30 this year instead of 7 like last year), and the kids do two pages of Greek at breakfast every morning (this is kind of their ticket to breakfast- talk about motivation!).  I've even had time to give Prince (4) a reading lesson most days and read his Five in a Row with him.  He looks so forward to this special time with mom each day.

2.  I've learned that when going from Saxon math to Teaching Textbooks, go up one grade.  I did that with Monk, skipping Pre-Algebra, and he's done great in Algebra.  Twinkle Toes (9) missed 2 questions on the Teaching Textbooks Math 6 placement exam, so I bought Math 5 for her instead.  (I blame my mom for this.  She had just pointed out to me what an intense mother my poor children have.)  I've really regretted it!  She needs to be in Math 6.  I'm having her complete two lessons per day right now (which only takes her 30 minutes!) so she'll probably start Math 6 in January.  That said, the kids are loving the break from Saxon, though I remain grateful that Saxon served us well for so many years.  The kids have obviously benefitted from the laborious practice and repitition that Saxon requires.

3.  Sonlight 3+4 has some GREAT read-alouds and my kids are loving the readers, too.  The readers are a little below their reading level so reading each day's assignment only takes them about 20-30 minutes.  I firmly believe in 1 hr per day of reading, so we're going through the books at a faster pace and supplementing with other great books I've found through Sonlight, Tapestry of Grace, and other places.

4.  The most important thing I've learned is that my kids really do love to learn!  My favorite words to hear each day are, "Just one more chapter, Mom!".  They must not realize they're learning!

5.  My children are not cookie-cutters of one another.  Measle (7) has been a challenge and a joy.  She is not the independent student her older brother and sister are, but this forces me to spend one on one time with her throughout the day that I know we'll both cherish someday.  Since the readers in Sonlight's 3+4 core are a little too challenging for her, we're reading some American Girl books together right now.  (I'm not worried about Measle missing out on the great readers because she'll go through Core 3+4 again in a few years with her little brother when her older siblings study Core 100 American History).

6.  I'm glad I moved all the notes for each Sonlight book up to the corresponding week tab rather than having to search for the notes each day at the back of my binder.  Thanks, Roan, this system really is working well.

What are you learning?  Any regrets?  Any tweaking going on?  Anything going more smoothly than you thought it would?


  1. We are having a great year also.I feel like we have so much in common.We are both are expecting.We homeschool,and find great joy in it all.Please stop blessings,Marla

  2. I've learned that I need a nap every day, and that scheduling Sonlight read-alouds during the toddler's naptime means I will need to take a nap earlier or later! I don't want to miss our Sonlight time. : )

  3. We are doing a lot of tweaking here. I am already reorganizing and ordering new curriculum. I thought I had poured over this enough that it wouldn't is our second year. Also, our oldest is in 8th, and he is struggling with Teaching Textbooks 7. I see where the public school failed him in Math, because he was so advanced in reading (12th last sem in 5th grade). It makes me sad and mad, but more than that, grateful we can do this at home together!
    I also am switching a subject, as a well-known hs writer put something I was horrified to read on her Facebook page. I was using her curriculum, but will not use it anymore!

  4. Marla- Yes, we do have a lot in common- right down to the big bowl of green beans! I cooked a bunch and froze some yesterday.

    Nicki- We also read aloud during my almost 2 yr old's nap. I think that's the only way to do it for now! In fact, I've kept her morning nap much longer than I otherwise would have for just that purpose. I'm not getting many naps right now, but have been going to bed earlier.

    Samantha- Your son may not need to go all the way through TT 6. I've found there's almost 50% overlap between levels. You might just spend a few months on TT 6 and then try 7 again. I'm sorry to hear about your writing curriculum. We're enjoying Sonlight's writing assignments that are related to the books the kids are reading. They spent two days last week writing a character sketch on Pocahontas. They had just finished a book about her, so it also helped show me how much they retained from the book at the same time as teaching them to outline and write a one paragraph character sketch. I think we'll try the Institute for Excellence in Writing in one or two years, but for now Sonlight is working great for us.




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I'm an on-the-run mom to 6 kids who studied and taught exercise science in a previous life. I love all things running, nutrition, and health-related. I usually run at zero dark thirty in the morning and am often quite hungry before, during, and after my run, but I live a rich, full, blessed life with my children, family, and friends. My faith in God is my anchor, and looking to Him and His promises allows me to live fully even when life circumstances are difficult. While running gives me an appetite, my desire is to hunger and thirst for righteousness more than for physical food.