Sunday, April 20, 2008

This Year at Our Homeschool

This has been an interesting year here at our (still as yet unnamed) homeschool. We have been learning many new ways of doing things, and I've been tweaking and reworking in an effort to find the most ideal situation. As I've mentioned before, we switched over to a Classical approach this year. I've seen such benefits from it and am convinced that that is the approach we will continue to use from here on out (probably). We have not stuck to the entire outline from A Well-Trained Mind, but the book did serve as a wonderful kick-off step for us into the approach, and I'm interested in integrating many more elements from Trivium Pursuit for the rest of this year and into next.

Isabelle is doing third-grade coursework this year and I am continually amazed at the progress she has made. This certainly has nothing to do with my teaching skills and everything to do with her innate love of learning. I personally find that to be one of the largest pluses to homeschooling. That love of learning we are all born with does not get squashed by the tedium and monotony so common in schools today. In an effort to stay realistic though, I will say that there are definitely days when Isabelle would rather not spend time on her seatwork. She doesn't always want to finish her math assignments. She sometimes does her work sloppily so that she can be done faster.

Yet those things aside, I've seen Isabelle's knowledge just grow by leaps and bounds this year. She is starting to think and speak in a much more mature manner this year. I can almost see her physically connecting the dots on so many of the principles we've been learning and discussing. As her teacher, that makes me proud. As her mother, that makes my heart sing! And as a side note, I love that she is learning cursive. I no longer have to print her assignments, and her handwriting looks so very feminine and pretty.

One thing I learned in previous years was that I needed to create a firm schedule for her to keep myself on track with lesson planning. She has really enjoyed this also because she always knows what each day will hold. She also looks forward to Fridays because we follow a lighter schedule. Here is this year's schedule:

Monday -Bible, Spelling/Vocab, Math, Grammar, Dictation, Science, History, Cursive
Tuesday - Bible, Spelling/Vocab, Math, Grammar, History, Reading, Narration, Latin
Wednesday - Bible, Spelling/Vocab, Math, Grammar, History (& memory cards), Dictation, Writing, Reading, Cursive
Thursday - Bible, Spelling/Vocab, Math, Grammar, History (& timeline), Reading, Narration, Latin
Friday - Bible, Spelling test, Writing, Dictation, Reading, Character/Life Skills, Art, Science experiment

This year Isabelle has advanced to doing a lot of independent work. I write out her lesson plans for the week in her school binder, one page per day of the week, and she just checks things off as she goes. I am always available to her for questions, but I've found she really learns best by reading things over on her own. She has also recently started blogging and she really enjoys posting about things that we are learning, and I also work it into some of her weekly assignments. It's wonderful to see the pride she takes in sharing through her blog.

I've come to realize we are really lacking in some areas with this schedule though. The two biggest are geography and "music appreciation." I've been so inspired by seeing the things Joy at FiveJs is doing in their homeschool for these subjects. I'm planning on integrating many of her ideas into our schedule. As we are getting close to the end of our official school year in some subjects (we tend to go through some of the books a little too fast and they don't last us all year), I'll be able to replace the things we are finishing with these two subjects. I am also planning on the two of us creating a home management binder of her own. It will be nice to mix up things a little bit in our schedule, especially as we get into warmer weather. We started official schoolwork a bit later this year, so we will be doing school through June, at least. We do keep certain school elements in tact throughout the year, although they are done on a much less formal basis.

Tomorrow I will write about what we have been doing with Alex and Olivia educationally this year. Also, if your homeschool has a name, I'd love to hear it, and how you came up with that name. This is our fourth year and we still have yet to decide on a name and I'd really like to have one!

4 comments:

Joy 12:54 AM  

Miller Homeschool Academy is all I ever came up with, although the only thing we ever write it on is our Book It Pizza coupons!

Have fun with the geography and music. You'll have to keep us up-to-date on how it's going.

Cajunchic 12:19 PM  

We will be revamping our homeschool schedule next year also. this was our first year so it was more of a test than anything else.

mbsabre 12:53 AM  

This was our first homeschool year with my fifth grade son. Daughter 2- is still in a small classical christian school. We joined a homeschool group found at www.classicalconversations.com. The IEW writing program was great for my son, and the memory games made the memory work much more fun during a year full of health challenges.

Homeschooling allowed a lot more flexibility while we explored his visual processing problem called Irlen Syndrome. Son1 has also come to know his 2 year old little brother a LOT better this year - now that we see Big Brother at home each day. I hope the 2nd year is easier, but I think we are both up for round 2!

mbsabre 12:54 AM  

This was our first homeschool year with my fifth grade son. Daughter 2- is still in a small classical christian school.

We joined a homeschool group found at www.classicalconversations.com. The IEW writing program was great for my son, and the memory games made the memory work much more fun during a year full of health challenges. Homeschooling allowed a lot more flexibility while we explored his visual processing problem called Irlen Syndrome. Son1 has also come to know his 2 year old little brother a LOT better this year - now that we see Big Brother at home each day. I hope the 2nd year is easier, but I think we are both up for round 2!

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