I know we’re only a couple of weeks into our school year, but it’s going amazingly well this year. I think there are (at least) 10 reasons we’re having an amazing homeschool year. Want to know what they are?
I’ve been giving Brianna assignments sheets for years, but the last time I tried it with Josh and Megan, it was just a waste of time. For whatever reason, it’s really clicked with them this year.
I just use the one page weekly lesson planner (the blank one) on Donna Young’s site. My needs are simple since I’m just transferring some information from the lesson plan pages that come with Trail Guide to Learning and adding some of our extras. Jolanthe has a great editable Weekly Homeschool Planner if you need something more detailed.
I include all the assignments that they’ll do independently and make a note that they’ll need to see me on the ones we do together. Also, because I have a tendency to forget to check, I’ve added a spot for them to record their daily score in math (Teaching Textbooks). That’s just to hold them accountable since the rule is, if they make below a certain percentage, they have to get with me so that I can reset the problems they missed and help them understand what they’re getting wrong.
Art for Megan/Drums for Josh
I used to have everybody work on art projects, but the fact is Josh just doesn’t care for art. So, this year, I’ve given him the assignment to practice his drums while Megan and I work on art. Megan was afraid it would be too loud, but it hasn’t been. It’s actually enjoyable – the boy’s got rhythm.
I know I keep bragging on these Apologia general science worksheets ad nauseam, but they really are perfect for us. Between the worksheets and doing science as a family, I’m starting to think that we may be able to make Apologia work to meet our “4 years of lab science” requirement (to meet college entrance requirements, not state homeschool requirements…don’t freak out, Georgia homeschoolers!) even though it was a terrible fit for Brianna.
Silent reading time
Can I just interrupt this list to tell you how awesome I think Lexercise is? From the words that Josh surprised me by reading with ease yesterday to the fact that there is no complaining by him (or anyone else) about silent reading time anymore, I am in awe of how their online dyslexia treatment has turned reading around for Josh. Amazed.
That being said, we are all really enjoying having silent reading time every day after lunch. Lately, I’ve been just as bad as the kids about not making time to read for pleasure. Now, though, they’re just as excited as I am to make that time for it every day. I’ve also noticed that I’m no longer the only one who continues reading after the time goes off. That makes me happy.
Daily personal Bible study
The kids are really enjoying having their own personal Bible study time each day. We still try to do a family Bible study a couple of times a week, but it’s exciting to see them digging into God’s Word on their own. It’s also interesting to see what insights they glean.
The worldview study we’re doing is going well, too. It’s made for some great conversation.
Cleaning checklist on Friday
Fridays are typically a light school day for us, but I’ve instituted a new rule this year: We all have to complete a cleaning checklist before we go off to do our own things on Friday afternoon. The kids pretty much do the same things each week (dust/vacuum/clean their rooms) and I’m trying to either tackle basic housecleaning chores or, if those are caught up, work on some projects that tend to get pushed aside.
The cleaning checklist assures that we go into the weekend with a clean house and helps to ensure that the kids’ rooms don’t get cluttered to the point of being overwhelming to clean.
Trail Guide to Learning
Trail Guide to Learning continues to make our school day much more enjoyable. It’s not an exaggeration to say that it has transformed our homeschool. Some of the things that make me love it so much are:
- Minimal teacher prep
- Great literature as the foundation
- The layout (general flow of the day, six week units, four day school week)
We’re halfway through Paths of Progress now. I hope to have a review of it up next week.
Uncle Eric books
As of yesterday, I decided that the Uncle Eric books – well, probably not all of them, but most of them – are going to make the basis for Josh and Megan’s economics, government/civics, and history (the World Wars, anyway) classes for high school. They are written in a way that breaks down complex topics so that they are simple enough for the average person to understand. And, I know everyone may not agree with the author’s viewpoint, but I appreciate his stance on liberty, free markets, and international neutrality.
Year ‘round homeschooling
Even though there was no complaining about starting school the second week in July and we’re all enjoying it, there also won’t be anyone complaining when it’s time for our first break. Breaking our school year down into manageable segments is a sanity saver for all of us.
Brianna has been meeting with a friend of mine – a high school algebra teacher – to get help with her math. One of the drawbacks to using something like Teaching Textbooks is that I’m not much help when Brianna runs into problems. It’s hard to go back and pick up the trail of the lessons to figure out a problem – particularly when I’m weak in math anyway.
I’ve been having Brianna write down the types of problems that she’s having trouble with so that Julie can help her with them when they meet. It’s been very helpful for Brianna and a relief for me to know that she’s getting help from someone who understands the subject much better than I do.
Have you started your school year yet? If so, what’s made it amazing for you so far?
This post is linked to Top Ten Tuesday.