I have been home schooling now for fourteen years- going into our fifteenth year. Man, does that make me feel old to write that. I started teaching my oldest when she was four. Being my first child I spent a lot of time reading and playing games with her and did not even realize how much she was learning. At 21 months old I have a video of me pointing to letters and her telling me what everyone of them were and the sounds. I had her counting by 2's and 5's and 10's very early. I wasn't trying to win a game that my child learned things first, I just enjoyed being with her playing these games and she absorbed it all like a sponge.
My second child came along and I tried to read to him and all he would do was push the book and try to get down. No matter how hard I tried, he did not want to sit still for any length of time. So, I learned to make games out of playtime and teach him things that way.
We moved to Florida and it seemed everyone at our church home schooled. No one at that church seemed to know about birth control either so there were big families. Coming from a home where my brother was six and a half years older and moved out when I was twelve made seeing these families very appealing to me. I started wondering about home schooling, but like most mommies, was fearful that I was not able to do it. So, I decided to test it and see what it was like before it was time to send my oldest to Kindergarden. At four, I ordered the ABEKA kindergarden curriculum. We had a blast doing school each day and she did a great job of keeping up with the work. So, that began our journey.
I will have a 7th grader, 5th grader and a 3rd grader this coming year. This is what we will use for our curriculum:
7th Grade: Saxon Pre Algebra
ABEKA 7th Language, Spelling
Sonlight Readers for higher American History(can't remember which core)
she will also read the core 4 that she has not read as extra readers
5th Grade: Saxon 6/5
ABEKA 5th Language, Spelling
Sonlight Readers core 4
3rd Grade" Saxon 5/4
ABEKA 3rd Language, Spelling
A Reason for Writing- handwriting
Sonlight readers- core 4
Combined: Sonlight Core 4- American History
Sonlight Science- Different things that I have from different years
Sonlight core 4 read a louds
I have found that it helps a lot to be able to combine science and history. My kids all have been worst at spelling on their SAT testing. So, I plan to start with the 1st grade spelling and work through all the blends again, making games out of it. I am also going to add dictation daily to work on punctuation and spelling. I am going to keep a list of words they misspell in daily work and have them write those words 5 times. Then, use those words in the following day's dictation sentence so they get extra review.
We started off playing a game for math last year that they loved and I let it slip away when we got busy. I have the addition, subtraction, multipication and division que cards and we would shuffle them and I would hold it up and the first to answer won the card.
I have found that many mom's stress too much and a lot of times stress the kids trying to do too much for fear of falling behind. In math, we do all the Saxon practice problems each day, but every other review problem for the rest of the lesson. If they get the review wrong I can have them redo it and go back to do the other problems if necessary. In language, I also only require the first 10 if all the sentences are the same thing. ABEKA is too rigid to do everything they have and Saxon is too repetitive if they understand the concept. My kids quickly become bored or overwhelmed with repetition and busy work. They are there to learn and not just stay busy.
We made a family decision to put the oldest in a Christian school in 8th grade and our second just finished his first year, being 9th grade, this past year. They both now attend the public school since we moved to Alabama. The area we are in is filled with Christian people and their teachers in the public school have been really great and most we know to be Christians. We felt that they knew God and what is right and wrong enough to be able to attend and not fall to other opinions and beliefs. It has been an opportunity to be under our umbrella while learning to be amidst the world and learning to really walk out their faith. In honesty, they come into more pressure and contact with worldly things at church. Within school, it is easy to see a clearer picture of right and wrong. At church, you have people professing to walk with God but not having the training or understanding or backbone to stand firm and truly know how to walk it out. I totally understand and commend those who choose to home school through high school. With our family life and having younger kids to teach it was really causing me too much stress to teach the higher level classes. At the time we began, I was getting up to deliver papers each morning and living on five to six hours of sleep a night.