Friday, July 29, 2016

Our school weeks 2-4 and a little encouragement

As children go back to school we will be in the middle of our school week 5! The kids and I both have really enjoyed My Fathers World Creation to the Greeks so far. We are learning about Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Noah and his family, the Tower of Babel, and ancient Egypt. We have made a cuneiform tablet, pyramids, and a reed boat. We have learned about the Fertile Cresent and all its glory. God sure did take care of people long ago who didn't worship Him. We are also learning some interesting fundamentals of art, how to draw pyramids and other 3D shapes in art. We are really loving our art program. It is called God and the History of Art. We have learned about Vivaldi in our music. We are learning the Books of the Bible from the Old Testament. Freedom Kids on YouTube puts this to song and makes it very easy to memorize. For science we have been learning everything you can think of about light. We do an experiment before every lesson and the kids just love that. We have a very STEM minded household here. 

We have also been learning so,e very valuable lessons in our Language Arts. Noah is doing Communications in Grammar this year. He is also doing Esssentials In Writing. He needed a lot of work on this part of his Language Arts. No spelling for him this year as he has pretty much mastered that. For math he is doing Teaching Textbooks 7. The program for Grade 7 is more on real life situations. He will have a mock checkbook and we pretend he gets paid and pay bills, buy groceries, and do what grown ups do. I hope this will prepare him for real life. We are also watching the election process and discussing it together. He seems very interested in that. Next week he starts Rosetta Stone Spanish. He does a separate science from Sarah and Caleb. He is doing Apologia General Science this year. I think he likes it. We have always liked Apolgia Sciences. They make it so fun. He also participates in Sarah and Calebs science because he just wants to. 

Sarah and Caleb do Language Lessons For Today for their grade level. Sarah does Essentials in Writing. She is doing well with sentence forming. When all is said and done I think she is going to be an amazing writer. She has a hard time processing her thoughts and putting them on paper however, she has did well under the instruction of Essentials in Writing. She is writing more complex sentences and they are very impressive. This is a DVD program with a workbook to go with it. The lesson on the DVD is short and to the point but filled with lots of information. Caleb still does phonics. He is in Explode The Code Book 4 and he is doing very well.  He has used this from the very beginning and I can't say enough good things about these books. There's no twaddle or busy work. It seems so simple and to the point. I wasn't convinced when someone told me their children learned to read by just doing these workbooks but I can say now that he is in Book 4 that this is very true for Caleb too. I fully intend to use Explode the Code with Hannah. For Spelling I am Rod and Staff Spelling by Sound and Structure for Sarah who is 5th grade and Caleb who is 3rd grade. This is really the first time we have used a separate spelling program and really liked it. We tried Spelling Power which is recommended by My Fathers World for upper elementary and it just didn't work for us. Rod and Staff is a more structured and somewhat independent Spelling program. It's exactly what we needed!!! I'm so happy that I found it. I will definitely be using it for Hannah as she moves forward in school. Sarah also uses a Teaching Textbooks 5 for her math. She has begun to like math pretty well. At first there were tears and I questioned whether this was the right program for her but she is the type that resists everything at the beginning so I've started just making her do what I have. Noah has done Teaching Textbooks since 3rd grade I believe. Maybe 4th but anyways I already had Grade 5 and so Sarah is stuck with that. However with Caleb he is doing Living Math Lessons. It's a workbook and it's a very gentle, real life situations math program. Some would say it's very weak however, I say that it works for us because he needs the good foundation of math. We have Grade 3 of Teaching Textbooks when he is ready. I'm thinking I will start him in that in January 2 days a week and we will still so the Living Math 3 days a week. I will reassess at the end of the year.

All in all so far it has been a good year. I want to encourage new homeschoolers and those who may not have found their place, It has taken me to last year to really find what fit well for us. In that I found that some of my kids will adjust to whatever we have however some need specifics. I have finally settled upon mostly Charlotte Mason style of homeschooling. I don't really have time to get into that but it's a more relaxed approach to teaching. At first glance back when my now 7th grader was in 2nd grade I thought that it was way too relaxed and a crazy style of teaching. What I didn't know is that it's not the traditional way of learning but it's learning all the same. It's just in a different, very different way than what I was used to. So with that said don't focus on what others are doing. You can glean off other homeschoolers because Lord knows I have but please do what is best for YOUR family. All family dynamics are different in some way, shape, or form. School is going to look different for you than it is for me. Pray and ask the Lord to guide you and apart from all the other advice you get take the Lords leading into consideration the most. I completely hand over my year to God. I ask Him every morning to help me teach the kids the way HE wants me to teach. On some days that's not even what school is to some.

Just know in the end that there are going to be struggles whether you send your child to school or if you teach them. I learned this very valuable lesson when my defiant 1st grader who I thought refused to learn to read because she was just hard headed. I sent her to public school. My battle continued. It just switched from morning to afternoon. It went from her fighting me as the teacher to her fighting me through homework. This lasted only a week and I told her we wouldn't be going back. What's the point? She is now in 5th grade and is a very good reader. She reads ALL the time. ALL the time! I figured out that she just wasn't ready at 6 years old to read. She wasn't ready until about 7 1/2 or 8 actually but let me tell ya, when she got ready she skipped forward a few grades. It was hard! But what would have been harder is for me to have left her in public school and her be labeled as slow. That's never removed from someone's mind after they've been labeled that. She knows now that there was a struggle but she also knows that she persevered and she is above and beyond her peers now. Not only did this grow her but it grew me too and it solidified my goal and the calling to homeschool that God has placed on my life.

So mamas I pray that you have a good homeschooling year. There's nothing like teaching your sweet child to read and that first book that they sit down and read to you and knowing that you with the help of the good Lord taught this child to read. It's an amazing feeling. I pray that all you mamas who are teaching your children have an amazing year and don't grow weary in well doing because the benefits of pressing onward are great! 

Blessings, 

Jennifer 


2 comments:

  1. I love hearing about your schooling. I never knew you sent Sarah to school for a week. She's a beautiful, sweet, bright kid! I'm glad you didn't leave her to be defined. One of mine have had as struggle too followed by a breakthrough in the making! It's encouraging to read another's journey! My heart rejoices for Sarah & your family! You are a great encouragement!

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