We officially began homeschooling in December in the US after pulling Belle out of school in order to get ready to head back to PNG. There are so many curriculum options out there, that it really is daunting! Thankfully, I had done some homeschool preschool with the girls before, so I had a bit of experience before starting out in Kindergarten that helped me decide what to use! Of course, I can still feel overwhelmed at how many options there are, and doubt my choices and whether or not we are doing the right thing. I will undoubtedly change paths many times throughout this journey, but many of you have asked what we are using for homeschool this year, so I wanted to share what we have landed on right now!
We start our school day with Bible time. We include Everett in this. I first began using a harder book but then decided that I wanted this to be the one thing Everett could do with us, so I pulled out this book and began working through it. We will actually finish it this week, so I will replace it with something! It is a cute little book that has a lesson for each letter of the alphabet, like “K is for kindness” and then a little bit about kindness and some questions and a Bible verse.
The girls also have Bible verses to memorize. We add a new one each week and review the old ones too. Here’s our flippy memory verse book.
The rest of our school time is not always in the same order.
The girls are both reading well, so I started doing First Language Lessons instead of a reading program. It is more like grammar, poetry, and reading comprehension. Each day is scripted which is nice because I don’t have to look at it ahead of time.
Each of the girls have a notebook in which they do handwriting. We don’t do the same thing everyday. I started out using a handwriting book, but Belle had a bad attitude about it. I switched to this notebook idea and have loved it. Some days First Language Lessons has a copy work suggestion, which we do in the notebook and then draw a picture to go with it. Other times I have the girls write a sentence about a book they read and draw a picture to go with it. Or write out their Bible verse and draw a picture of it. Or sometimes we do something else. For instance, Belle has been asking to make a kangaroo out of construction paper for her notebook, so today I let her do that and she wrote a sentence about kangaroos.
For Math, we do a couple of different things. Lucy is not ready to do what Belle is doing, so Lucy goes through a basic Kindergarten math workbook while Belle does Singapore Math. Singapore math has two small workbooks and textbooks for each year. We have finished 1A and are in 1B now. It moves pretty quickly, but I like the pace and the common sense approach it has to math.
We recently made a big calendar for our wall and added in calendar time to our day. We just decide what day is today, tomorrow and yesterday and look at the date and the days of the week.
We don’t do this everyday, but a lot of days we do spelling. We are working through this workbook right now. Sometimes I copy the page and let the girls do it and other times I call words out and let them spell on their own dry erase boards. I know they get spelling practice with handwriting, but I think this emphasizes some phonics rules and those type of things which they might not just pick up on by writing. Besides, neither of their parents are good spellers, so they might need some extra help! 😉
Fridays are “Fun Fridays” at our school. We don’t do our regular curriculum unless we have some catch up to do from earlier in the week. We do an alphabet craft (another attempt to include Everett!) and read a different alphabet book to go along with our letter.
We also do some odds and ends that I want to do in school but not every day. We have looked at art books, sewed, read poem books, read a manners book and are about to start playing the recorder. Its my catch all day to fit in whatever I want/need to fit in.
We do a read-aloud every day before rest time. Right now this is what we are reading.
The girls read lots. Especially Belle. She LOVES to read. They read everyday during rest time. I have not assigned any books for school reading yet since I know they are reading plenty. Here is just a small sampling of the books that Belle finished up this week.
So that is what our school is like! We have kept things really simple this year, and it has gone really well. Since we aren’t doing all that much, we are able to do school while Sylvie naps (from 9-11), which is really convenient. Next year, for first grade, I think I’ll try to add some science and social studies (planning to do Story of the World for social studies, but haven’t decided for science). Next year… hard to believe that will be here in just a couple of months! We are not taking a real summer break. Since we started in the middle of the year, we really aren’t finishing up right now. And besides, we will more than likely take a big break when we make our move into the tribe, so it wouldn’t make much sense for us to take a big break now and then again when we move!