This is how we homeschool:
First, let me tell you that we have routines, not a schedule based on time. We get up and eat breakfast. We pray together, put on our spiritual armor, and say The Lord’s Prayer together. Shawn, the oldest, leads the others in this while I take care of the two babies. Then he supervises the 6 oldest while they do their chores. We use Chorebuster.net to help us make the chore assignments each week. It has been the best chore organizer we’ve used. I put the information in one time, and then each week we print out what Chorebuster puts together and the kids don’t get mad at me; they blame Chorebuster for the chores they get. Each of them gets 2 or 3 chores each day. They set the timer and try to get everything done in an hour. I spend time on the computer during this time sometimes. At other times I help with cleaning. Then we come together, and I read aloud to the oldest 6.
I read from the Bible or from a living book that we’ve been reading. Right now we’re reading the second book in The Kingdom Series by Chuck Black. The boys really like it. The girls like it, too, but Patrick, in particular, really likes it. It reminds me of Pilgrim’s Progress, but it’s easier to understand.
I’m also reading a book about 12th century Korea called A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park. It is a well-written book that is making us want to keep reading on and on. We love to read books that get us so involved in the story and so fond of the main character that we just have to find out what happens next.
Some days, we will do a lesson from Heart of Wisdom’s Adam to Messiah. I also have a unit study on Israel that we’ve started. We work on it sometimes. One week I read the assigned readings from the Daily Bible in Chronological Order every day, and it happened to be in Psalms. I really enjoyed reading those comforting words out loud each day.
Every day is the same, but different. I try to be led by the Spirit in what I read and speak to my children each day during our school time. Sometimes we discuss prayer needs that I’ve come across through email and Christian news online and needs of family and friends, and then we pray for them together. We used to make everyone pray, but that took a long time, and we had to really prod some of the younger ones to pray, so we changed our policy, and now we just allow anyone who wants to pray for a certain need to pray for it. Our together school usually lasts about 2 hours. Sometimes we discuss issues that have arisen and caused strife between certain children during this time. At other times, I have praised individual children for character development that I’ve seen in them and things that I’m pleased about in their behavior.
By the time we finish together school, Daddy is home, and we switch gears to welcome him home. He gets a big welcome with lots of little children yelling “Daddy’s home” (usually led by Emma when she hears the garage door start to go up) and running to him and hugging him. Some of us bigger ones run to him, too, if possible. Then he tells us what happened to him that day. This teaches them to honor their father.
Then most of the kids scatter to their separate rooms and activities. On alternating nights, Daddy takes the older kids to the YMCA where they lift weights and run and walk and generally get some good exercise. On the other nights, Shawn and I intend to do Geometry, using Life of Fred, but we haven’t been sticking to that plan very well. I think he’s getting antsy enough that he will press the issue soon and we’ll get cracking, so he can move onto Algebra 2, which we think he will like a lot better than Geometry. The younger kids do Math Mammoth. They do the pages, then bring them to me if they have a question and to check the problems when they’re done. The two next oldest kids use Teaching Textbooks which they can do on the computer, and is self-checking.
Science for us is everywhere. I have lots of books about science topics in our personal library. I also check out science-related books from the library. They like to watch nature shows and are drawn to nature books. They find things outside and study them on their own quite often. I can’t wait until we can move to the country and these kinds of occurrences can happen more frequently. Surprisingly, they did find a snapping turtle on the street in front of our house smack dab in the middle of a manicured-lawn neighborhood the other day. So no matter where you live, I guess nature happens!
We discuss Creation Science versus Evolution quite frequently. I have done some online Science courses through Cindy Rushton’s classes with the younger children this year. We did an online class about water from CurrClick.com with Kelsey and Morgan.
The other areas get covered by copywork and reading on their own and writing on their own. My girls do lots of writing without any direction from me. My boys are another story. I have to look for things to motivate them to write, such as letters to friends, lists of things they want, lists of things to do, etc. I use the Getty-Dubay Italic curriculum to teach them handwriting. I absolutely abhor teaching handwriting. The process turns me into a monster. So I let Italic do it. You can also find these at Rainbow Resource Center.
We also do lots of lapbooks. They are my babies. The kids aren’t as crazy about them as I am, but it’s the best way I’ve found to make them write some information about a topic on a page. My favorite lapbooking sites are lapbooklessons.com, homeschoolshare.com, In the Hands of a Child and knowledgeboxcentral.com. We do some notebooking, too, with the same results. I have to make my kids do them, and they resist, but they do like the results. Don’t ask them, they won’t tell the truth. I know they really do like their notebooks and lapbooks. They just don’t like being told that they have to do something.
That’s about it. They learn a lot about raising young children. They have each learned a lot about the stages of development. They learn a lot from daily things that happen to us and our loved ones. We discuss politics and spiritual ideas openly, and I know that even the younger children are picking up important principles and truths from listening to our discussions.
The older children read to the ones “assigned” to them at bedtime. I didn’t really assign them; it just kind of happened. They have Bible storybooks that they read to them and other books, too. I have to stay in my room to get the babies to sleep each night. Katie usually does late night kitchen clean-up.
We try to have family movies that have a good family theme from time to time. We love to make lots of popcorn and all sit around together watching a good, wholesome movie. Unfortunately, Emma manages to make a big mess of the popcorn every time. One night, when the movie was over and we turned the lights on, I discovered Emma asleep with her feet inside one of the popcorn bowls. Our family movie nights are educational in what they teach about sharing, cooperating, being together as a family and the importance of bonding. Oh yeah, and how movie theater ushers feel when they clean up after a movie.
That’s all I can think of for now. I believe that
Education is a Life
as Charlotte Mason said it. And our life is about getting to know God and learning what He wants us to learn, so we can be ready for whatever He has for us in the future.