A Mother's Account of Learning to Teach Her Children At Home
I am a SAHM and teacher of six beautiful daughters. I decided to create this blog because I needed somewhere to write down what I was and am going through as I learn about the wide world of homeschooling. I figured why not share that process, in case there was anyone that found it as overwhelming as I did! I hope you enjoy your stay and perhaps find something helpful in your own journey!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Field Trip to the Zoo

Today was a fun fieldtrip day to the local zoo. We weren’t doing a unit on animals for any of our science classes, but WOSU got free tickets for the students, their siblings and one parent. Then it was a cheap $9 for the other parent. And it was a sunny, hot day – probably one of the last we’ll have before winter sets in. The visit was extra fun because we got to go with Dad’s brother and his daughter. They are also doing the  K12 program.
The first thing the girls wanted to visit were the elephants. In front of the elephant enclosure was a large wooden elephant with hieroglyphs all over it. As the girls stopped to admire it, it began to make strange noises and had a startling surprise for them.
After that bit of fun, we went one to see the new baby elephant at the zoo.
Then we were off to see cats and giraffes.
We were wondering if this guy ever gets his tongue stuck to the pole in the winter.
After seeing all the animals, we ended our visit at the kids’ land they have in the zoo where they have playground equipment and a few exhibits about local wildlife. We let the kids wear themselves out before going to the car for a simple lunch of sandwiches, bananas and water. Then we drove home. Everyone was tired, so we took a nap at home before taking the time to write in our journals about the experience.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Brer Rabbit Goes Back to Mr. Man's Garden

Rebekah has been reading Trickster Tales in her current unit of literature.  This has meant a lot of short stories about the infamous character Brer Rabbit.  One of her recent assignments was to act out the short story she read that day for the family.  So, with the help of Rose, she put together costumes, a script and charged right in.  Here is the result:

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

K12 Disappointments and Pleasures

Well, it’s been a long time since I wrote anything here. Life has been hectic.

But, onto school news.

K12 is definitely not the answer for my oldest daughter’s language arts. Rebekah understands the majority of her assignments and works through them steadily. Yet each day, it takes her close to three hours to complete the work! I do not recall spending three hours steadily working on any one subject while in school (the only times we spent three hours on anything was if the teacher was dealing with the lowest denominator or unruly students). And she is expected to cover all the language arts subjects (composition, grammar, usage, mechanics, spelling, vocabulary and literature) every day. I think this is ridiculous for a homeschool course! By the time she finishes math and science, she is spending 5+ hours in straight school work; this is not counting breaks, meals, etc. She has no time for being a child or extracurricular activities like sports, art, music, etc.

Part of the reason the K12 language arts lessons take so long is that the individual parts do not relate to one another at all. A streamlined program would base the spelling, vocab and composition assignments/tests on what was being studied in literature. In the K12 program, each one is completely separate and has no relation to each other. The spelling lists and vocabulary lists do not even relate.

Then there is the fact that I was misled by the local Utah K12 school on Rebekah’s language arts program. She is slightly behind in her comprehension skills (according to testing results), so it was recommended that we start her in one grade lower’s program. It was explained to us that when she finished the fourth grade program, she could immediately begin the fifth grade program and work on it through the summer. Not true. She has to finish the fourth grade program before mid-February to be allowed to start the 5th grade program before the fall of the next school year. To do this, she’d have to do double language arts lessons each day. Obviously, by the fact that each lesson is taking such an exorbitant amount of time, that’s not a feasible option.

So, Rebekah will be finishing the language arts program with K12 this year but will starting a new program next year.

Thankfully, the K12 language arts program for Rose (second grade) is not nearly as intense. But I also plan to start her in a different program next year. I don’t know when the K12 program gets so intense and don’t especially want to find out.

On the other hand, I greatly enjoy the science programs that have been provided by K12 for both children. The lessons are straight-forward and full of interesting information. There is an experiment or hands on activity for each lesson to reinforce the lesson. My kids love hands on science, so really get a kick out of this. And K12 has provided all the materials I need to complete the experiments (minus some basic household items).

We have not really had time to delve into the history program provided by K12, simply because the language arts lessons are taking up so much time. I have decided not to push it for this year, but plan to implement a history program next summer and continue it in following school years.

Math is a breeze for both of my school age children. It seemed at the beginning of the year, their math lessons were way too easy. So we decided to start simply taking the tests with the plan that if they got 100%, they could skip that chapter. If they got 80-99%, we would review the lessons that the problems they missed correlated to and retake the test. If they got below 80%, they did all lessons for the chapter. So far, Rose has skipped 45 days worth of lesson and Rebekah has skipped 25. It has been quite the eye opener for our family on just how much time is wasted in review every year in the public school system.

To help the girls develop strong math skills in the basics, we also do math fact quizzes every day. These quizzes are designed to help them memorize addition, subtraction, multiplication and division tables, among other math skills. For every 20 problems they do, they get one minute to complete them. If they can finish them all correctly in the given time, they move onto the next quiz.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

K12 Groove

So, our K12 language arts programs for the girls arrived last Monday and we were able to start class on Tuesday.

Rose is in the second grade and her language arts program is very straight forward. It is also very time consuming for me, as I have to be with her for every second of her lesson. It is a similar situation with her math – simple and straightforward, but I have to sit next to her and do it all with her. In total, her lessons take one and a half to three hours each day (depending on her attitude), not counting preparation time.

Rebekah’s in the fifth grade and her lessons are much more involved, taking a lot more preparation time. Thankfully, she is able to do several of her lessons, including math, on her own with my just checking over her work and answering the occasional question. This is good for two reasons. One, it means she can be completing part of her lessons on her own while I work with Rose. Secondly, it enables her to work at a faster rate. This is especially good because she is repeating 4th grade language arts. So she has double lessons in LA everyday so that she can start 5th grade LA in February and be caught up by the end of the school year.

I spend each evening with their books, reading through the lesson plans online, gathering materials, writing out Rebekah’s assignments to do on her own, and any other prep work that needs to be completed.

Our daily schedule is pretty straight forward. We get up early and have breakfast, then get dressed and start chores. At 8:30am, whether chores are done or not, we start school. When we’re finished (usually before lunch), the girls finish their chores and then have free time.

Now that we’ve had a week to get our language arts and math schedules down, we are ordering our science curriculums and will add them on when they arrive. I hope to add on history, art, Mandarin and some sort of sports later in the year.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Washington Online School Utah

Thankfully, we are finally done moving (for the time being) and I can get back into the school routine, which includes blogging time! Yay!

Well, there have been some big changes to our homeschooling life. I was trying to plan an art unit study in which we would learn about da Vinci, Monet and Picasso over a three week period. But two things were causing me a lot of headache. The local library is TERRIBLE! They didn’t have a single children’s book on any of the painters or on art in general! So I was facing the prospect of having to pay $80 a year and travel about an hour every few weeks to use the Salt Lake County library. Then there was the aspect of trying to incorporate age appropriate science into the unit study. Add that to the stress I was already experiencing due to living with family and my husband still trying to find work, and I was ready to come unglued.

Thankfully, my sister-in-law is also homeschooling. But she’s doing it through the state’s online school. She gave me all the information and I checked into it. What a relief for my first year of school! Now I’m assured that the girls will not fall behind!

So here’s the new plan. The girls are part of the Utah K12 program, Washington Online School Utah. They will start out with language arts and science. Throughout the year, we have the option of adding up to five courses per girl in history, art, music and some languages. The K12 program does have a math program, but we’ve decided to keep the girls in the Saxon math program (for which we had already bought curriculums earlier this year).

We'll still do our school journals and family reading, in addition to the regular subjects.  And we still have the flexibility of being able to travel or have field trip days when we need them.

And we haven’t given up on unit studies, either. But instead of that being the basis of our homeschool, it will be a supplemental. We’ll do mini-unit studies for holidays and special occasions. We’ll do full unit studies (like the art study I’ve already put together) during the summer. Then, if a unit study that we’re really interested in doesn’t lend itself well to certain subjects, we won’t feel guilty leaving them out.

This has taken an immense amount of stress off of me for the time being. If the girls do not respond well to their curriculum, we’ll check into others for next year. We’re starting with K12 because it’s free. But if it doesn’t work, we’ll start looking into more purchased curriculums.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Review: "The Complete Guide to Home Schooling"

So, I’m finally done with The Complete Guide to Homeschooling. It took forever just because things have been crazy around here and the book was chock full of good information that I didn’t want to skim in a quick read.

So, while the book has had some of the best, most up to date information I’ve read so far, I’m scoring it down because of the tone of the authors. They have a very arrogant, their way is best, everyone else’s are to be looked down on tone. Have you ever met a person that claims tolerance of all groups, but then when they talk about how tolerant they are, their tone of voice oozes snideness, sending the message that while they’re ‘tolerant’ they think the other person is an idiot for doing it differently? Well, that sums up the whole tone of this book. But if you can force yourself to ignore their tone, there is a ton of good information in this book. Especially for the parent that is planning on using textbooks as a major part of their curriculum. I also like that it had chapters devoted to things to do with different age groups (elementary, middle school and high school).

This book has so much information that applies to my situation, that snide tone or not, I plan on purchasing my own copy so I can reference it whenever I want instead of having to go back to the library and hope it’s not checked out.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Husbands & Homeschooling

Today was a good and bad day.

Good because the girls and I maintained our morning schedule. I’m up at 5 and have an hour to myself. The daughter helping with breakfast is up at 6, the rest of the kids are up at 6:30. We’re done eating and dressed by 7, when we start our chores. Done with chores by 9, then read scriptures for 15 minutes and personal reading for 30 (morning reading is done silently to ourselves). All of this is done before Daddy gets home from work (he currently works 3:30 – 9:30AM).

Then Daddy comes home and usually causes a ruckus – this is why we need to be done before he gets home, because nothing gets done after.

I got very frustrated with him tonight when we were supposed to be doing our family reading time just before bed. I was reading chapter four of Charlotte’s Web and the older girls were listening attentively until Daddy decided to start goofing off… So we didn’t finish the chapter. After the girls were sent to bed, I kind of laid into him about needing to set an example for the children and that reading time is serious as it’s one of the homeschooling activities.

Will see how things go tonight.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Happy Days!

Today was an excellent day in the course of establishing our daily routine! Everyone got up on time, ate quickly, got to work on chores and we were done by 9am! I was so happy with the girls. After the chores were done, we read scriptures for 15 minutes and then whatever we wanted for a half hour.

Tonight, I read chapters two and three of Charlotte’s Web aloud to the family. Rebekah and Rose were attentive, but Rachel was being kind of a pain. Not sure what I can do to get a 2-year-old to be quiet during reading time at night. Will have to work on that. Robin (7 months) kept squealing during reading time, but it was nice to know she felt involved. After I finished, Dad read Mosiah 23 from the Book of Mormon aloud to the family. Then it was time for family prayer and bed.

If we are able to follow the morning and bedtime routine everyday this week, then I will add journals (for penmanship) to the routine next week.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Tentative Subject Schedule Outline

Daily Activities
  • Personal reading time silent
  • Personal reading time aloud
  • Scripture reading time aloud
  • Family reading time aloud
  • Family scripture reading time aloud
  • Flash cards – alphabet, colors, counting, states, capitals, countries, presidents, prophets, multiplication, subtraction, addition, division, body parts, etc.
  • Math
  • Journals
  • Life skills - chores, cooking, etc.
  • Physical education - play outside, take a walk, bike ride, etc.
Weekly Activities
  • Science 2x
  • Fieldtrip 1x
  • Game & Puzzle Afternoon 1x
  • Spelling test 1x
  • Research paper or book report 1x – Rebekah only
  • Arts & Crafts 2x
  • Creative Writing 2x
  • Library 1x
Monthly Activities
  • Social Studies Project 2x
  • Health education 1x

Friday, June 11, 2010

Progress Is Being Made

Yay! The girls got all their chores done in two hours today! Happy days! Thus we were able to go to the library. Our library is being renovated, so harder to find things right now. But the girls were able to find books for their personal reading in the morning and I got a copy of Charlotte’s Web to read aloud as a family at night. I read it to Rebekah when she was a baby, but have not read it to any of the others. And of course, my husband has never read it. The girls got me to promise that any books we read that have movies made; we will have a family movie night and watch it when we get done with the book.

I’m at a loss for what to do about a curriculum. We got very lucky and were able to get the Saxon math programs we needed for dirt cheap from other homeschoolers that were done with them. But I haven’t had any luck with anything else. I’ve found several curriculums that I would love to try, but they’re too expensive, especially with my husband not having a full-time job yet (wonderful economy). For now, I think the best course is to use the internet to provide science lessons and experiments for us to all do together, work with the Saxon math, and then read various books from the library on other topics. Some of the books I’ll have the girls do oral reports on to the family and others write reports. Our local library has kits that have lots of picture books on a particular subject. I think we might get one of those each week this summer and check out some harder books for Rebekah on the same subject. For penmanship, I am thinking of journal and creative writing. The creative writing, I’d fill a jar with various ideas or themes. Have the girls draw one and them give them a specific amount of time to write on the subject.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

First Fieldtrip

Today was a good day for homeschooling!

We got all of our chores done! It took longer than I would like, but that’s because the girls’ room was a disaster. Now that there are no disaster areas in the house, the morning chores should take a lot less time. We will see how it goes tomorrow. I was just so glad we got it done. And in time to play some games before lunch, too!

This afternoon, we went on our first fieldtrip. We took the girls to a local museum that has an exhibit about the evolution of dogs. The girls are crazy about dogs, so had wanted to go to this for a while. There were lots of neat displays that the girls enjoyed learning from. There were some giant dog ears that you used to find the sound of termites, to give a person an idea of what it would be like to hear like a canine. There was another area that had a pressure plate where you could feel the rhythm of a human or dog heart at rest or running. The girls really liked the areas that showed the many ways in which dogs help humans.

Another section of the museum has a kids' room to play in and learn about local wildlife and history. The girls had a lot of fun playing in the log home, tipi, beaver dam and caves. Don’t know if they necessarily learned a lot in this area, but they had fun.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Success & Failure

Today was a good day for Rebekah, not so much for Rose. It took Rebekah and me less than three hours to get our chores done, and tomorrow will be even better. Rose fought me all day and never finished her chores. Here is how I have decided to handle her stubbornness. When it comes to the public rooms of the house (kitchen, dining room, living room, hallway and bathroom) – we will clean together and it will be done each day. Chores that involve their bedrooms, I leave to them to do. If they do their chores, they get privileges. If they don’t, they don’t. In July, when we start lessons, we will stop cleaning at 9AM every morning whether done or not. If they’re not done, they will have to complete them after lessons for the day before they can play, watch TV, play computer, go outside, etc. Fighting with Rose doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Maybe if she sees her sister getting to play while she’s stuck with nothing to do she’ll start doing them without fighting me.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Unexpected Interuptions & Reading Aloud

Homeschooling today started off well, though a little late because I was up all night with the babies again, until a friendly neighbor reminded us of a church activity my oldest daughter was supposed to attend. I had completely forgotten. She was going on a hike and needed a packed lunch, sunscreen, towel, hiking shoes, etc. So we spent the next hour and a half scrambling to get all her stuff ready and get her to the leader’s house on time for departure. That just threw my whole groove off. But I did get a lot of laundry done! Several hours later, when she got home, we picked up on the cleaning routine where we had left off, but didn’t get finished before time to make dinner. I double checked my calendar – no events going on tomorrow to surprise me! And I kept the babies up most of the day with only short naps, so I should get a good night’s rest and be ready for tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll even get time to do some more reading and write a new review soon!

As a plus, we did get to start our reading aloud as a family today! I read from Wuthering Heights for fifteen minutes, and then my husband read a chapter from the Book of Mormon. While it was successful in that we got it done, it was not without hiccups. The girls definitely need to work on their listening skills. Also, Wuthering Heights is too advanced for the kids – I spent so much time explaining terms that we only got a few paragraphs into it. So I’m headed to the library tomorrow afternoon to try and find a novel to read aloud that is better suited to their comprehension level.

Monday, June 7, 2010

A Birthday Holiday

Today we celebrated our oldest daughter’s tenth birthday. So we had a holiday from homeschooling, just doing minimal chores, and spent the day having fun instead. We went to a movie, played at a local jump zone, had cupcakes and Chinese food, and opened presents. I think this is one of the joys of homeschool. When it’s special occasions, you can take off from your routine and enjoy the time even if it’s not a national holiday. Then pick-up the next day where you left off without worrying about missed lessons or catching up.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Homeschooling Websites & Reviews

I love about.com. The sites are full of information themselves and always have plenty of links for more information. Homeschooling.about.com also has free printables. Beverly Hernandez is the writer for the site and has homeschooled her own children. She also owned a homeschool bookstore and has been involved in assisting/advising other homeschool groups. As it’s in blog form, she also has articles right up front that are applicable to the current date (like right now she has links to June holiday activities and a summer reading program).

A to Z Home’s Cool seems to have a lot of information available, but I found it difficult to navigate. It has so many ads on it that I often wasn’t sure if I was linking to a part of the site, or to a whole other site. Quite frankly, I don’t have the time to try to learn to navigate this page. With four children, I need stuff that is easy to find.

Homeschool.com has a TON of information. And I mean, a TON. The downside is that you have to pay for some of it. But they also have lots of free resources. The site has ads, but they are in one column and not jumping all over the place. You can get a free newsletter, and to help navigate their site they have a search box.

Homeschool World is mostly an online catalog. They do have some articles available online, but I find them more useful when shopping for something. They are the website for the magazine Practical Homeschooling.

So, I loved Lisa Whelchel’s book So You’re Thinking About Homeschooling. I like her website, as it provides many of the references she gave in the book. And since I don’t own a copy of the book (got it from the library), this site is of great use to me and anyone that enjoyed the book.

"Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA) is a nonprofit advocacy organization established to defend and advance the constitutional right of parents to direct the education of their children and to protect family freedoms. Through annual memberships, HSLDA is tens of thousands of families united in service together, providing a strong voice when and where needed." 'Nuff said. This site is wonderful for learning the laws about homeschooling in your state. I also highly recommend you join HSLDA if you are eligible.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Recital Night

As I thought, today was another slow day due to the ballet recital. I let the girls sleep in because I knew they were tired from rehearsal and I wanted them at their best for tonight’s performance. So in addition to letting them sleep in, I also ‘gave them the day off’ from chores. I let them veg in front of the computer watching some movies and we read a lot today. The recital did not get over until after 9pm and they were tired, so I think I made the best decision so that they’d be up to performing. Afterwards, we took the girls out for ice cream (traditional family activity after recitals). By the time they got to bed, it was almost 11pm. So I’ll let them sleep in a bit tomorrow, too. But then it’s back to establishing our routine.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Day Two

Today was a heck of a day on the homeschooling front.

First, we over slept (I’m supposed to get up at 5, the daughter helping w/ breakfast at 6, and everyone else at 6:30). We finally rolled out of bed closer to 9am. I blame it on the activities yesterday. We were wiped.

So we finally got out of bed and had a late breakfast of pancakes and bacon, followed by 45 minutes of reading to ourselves. Fifteen minutes are dedicated to personal scripture study and the remaining half hour is the person’s choice. I read some more of Guide to Homeschooling and Atlas Shrugged, Rebekah worked on a Charlie Bone mystery and Rose read several picture books from the library. Rachel took turns in everyone's lap, having them read some of their book out loud to her. It was a nice, relaxing time.

Then we got started on our house cleaning routine. We got a lot further than yesterday and would have finished but had to stop to get ready for Rebekah & Rose’s ballet recital dress rehearsal. So at 3:30pm, we stopped working and the girls got costumes and make-up on. Rachel & Robin stayed at home with daddy while I took Rebekah & Rose to rehearsal. We were there for almost four hours! I was so glad when it was finally over. But by the time we got home, ate something and got the girls to bed, it was 10pm. So I suspect we’ll have another slow day tomorrow that will also end early for their recital. Thankfully, ballet is all over for the summer and we can get down to business after that.

One of Dad’s uncles wrote me an e-mail today and suggested a book for learning how to teach. It’s a great resource and I’m so glad he reminded me of it. Teaching, No Greater Call is a book published by the LDS church primarily for Sunday school teachers, but it has principles that are true for the teaching of all subjects. It’s available in its entirety online for free and a wonderful resource I recommend to all.

Monday, May 31, 2010

First Day of Homeschooling

For our first official day of homeschooling, it was a holiday. LOL

But I wasn’t planning on lessons for the first month of homeschooling, so it’s okay. For this first month, we are going to work on establishing a house cleaning routine in the morning. First, we go room by room and clean all the public rooms together. Then the girls clean their bedroom and I clean mine. I would like us to develop a good rhythm so that we can have all the basic housekeeping done by 9AM each morning. Then we’ll be ready to start our lessons for the day.

Obviously, this is going to take some practice. As such, I was not surprised that we did not finish before 9AM today. But the girls were very good about pulling their weight and I’m sure they’ll get better with practice. But the rooms that we did clean look very nice, which does this mother’s heart good. I think the girls enjoy cleaning together better than being given an assignment to do on their own. This way we can talk, sing and laugh as we go.

After cleaning, I did some cooking and then we went on a picnic for Memorial Day. For our ‘lesson’, we went to the local veteran’s memorial. I don’t think we’ve ever taken the girls to one since they became old enough to understand what they’re for. It gave their dad and me a chance to discuss with them those that have made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. They wanted to know if their Uncle Bobby, a marine, had a plaque somewhere. It’s good to see them relating what they’ve been shown to their own lives; so we explained to them that he doesn’t but that doesn’t mean his service has been worth any less.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

'The Beginners Guide to Homeschooling' Review

Okay, I’ll admit it; I was a little frustrated with The Beginners Guide to Homeschooling, by Patrick Farenga. Instead of being a person’s experiences and thoughts on homeschooling, it feels more like a book catalog in a library. The author will give a sentence or two, then tell you for more information to see his appendices or reference another book. In a 124 page book, the appendices start on page 62!

The best part of the book is that while the author is a fan of unschooling, he does give resources about many types of homeschooling. And if you’re looking for a book to give you references for other books to read on homeschooling – this is the place to go. Though a lot of his references he readily admits are out of print.

Next I'm onto The Complete Guide to Homeschooling.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

"Homeschooling For Excellence" Review

So, I just finished reading Homeschooling For Excellence by David & Micki Colfax and wrote a review on Goodreads.com.

"I gave this book two out of five stars.

The main redeeming quality of the book is that it is well written in terms of grammar and thought flow. But it is extremely dry and I felt like I was being lectured by a holier than thou hippie, there was absolutely no humor or personality in this book. The book also has some good appendices. Though they are a bit dated, they still give one a lot of information and a place to start on your search for more up to date information.

The Colfax’s obviously have very talented children and their style of homeschooling worked for them. But unschooling is not a style that I really like. And due to that, some of their book recommendations were not good recommendations for my family. But they may work well for families that are interested in unschooling.

Also, the book spent a lot of time on simply tearing down the public school system. While I agree that public schools are not working, I was not looking for a book to bash them. But if you are looking for a book that discusses what exactly is wrong in the public schools of the United States, this book has very well thought out arguments."

Sunday, May 16, 2010

First Book Finished!

So, I am done with my first foray into the homeschooling world via book. And Heavenly Father seems to have led me to a great starter book. So You're Thinking About Homeschooling: Second Edition: Fifteen Families Show How You Can Do It doesn't delve into so much detail that the potential homeschooler feels overwhelmed. Whelchel doesn't demonize public schools or their teachers. She doesn't spend all her time trying to convince you of one form of teaching over another. Instead, she takes seventeen easy to read chapters to introduce you to fifteen different possible ways of doing it and fifteen different styles of teaching. Then, at the end of the book, her appendix is 20 pages of books, magazines, websites, etc. to give you lots more places to go for more in depth information if you're still interested. This book has reassured me a lot; because it really helps me to see that I can adapt homeschooling anyway I need to so that it best fits the needs of our family.

Next, I'm on to Homeschooling for Excellence. I will be sure to write up what I think as soon as I'm done!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Books, books and more books!

Today I am going to the library to pick up several books I’ve put on hold on different ways to homeschool. My library had a pretty lousy selection on such books (only 6!), but it at least gives me a place to start. As I read, I will comment here on things I like or dislike. Once I’m done, I’ll also add a full review of each book at Goodreads.com (I love that site).

I’m having a tough time finding a science curriculum for the girls. At 2nd and 5th grade, I don’t want a curriculum that focuses on only one science field. I’d much rather have some sort of curriculum that covers lots of types of science throughout the year. I’d also like to have something that I can do the basic lesson and experiments with both girls at the same time, but it has an option to go more in depth for my soon to be 5th grader. Suggestions would be very helpful.

I could also use some help finding some decent priced vendors for children’s videos, literature and music in Chinese. We have Rosetta stone and books to teach the girls basic vocabulary and how to write the characters. But we want something for them to listen to, watch or read to give them extra exposure to the language.

And may I say - homeschool curriculums are Expensive! I am very thankful for sites like Amazon, Ebay, Half.com, Learning Things, and Homeschool Classifieds (among others) that help me find the supplies I need for cheaper! If you know of other sites with good deals, please send them my way!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

In The Beginning…

I guess a good place to begin on this blog is a bit about our family. My husband just recently graduated with a bachelors in Economics and is now job hunting. I am a SAHM. We have four daughters that are 9 (fourth grade), 7 (second grade), 2, and 6 months.

Next, our family’s reasons for homeschooling. We are staunch political conservatives and active members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. As such, we have not appreciated the direction the public school system in the United States has been taking the past few years. We had been debating pulling the kids out of the public school system, and then last week was the straw the broke the camels back for us. We do not appreciate hearing about three incidents in one week of children in US schools being punished for wearing, defending or drawing the US flag! We’ve also been having a bit of a problem with a teacher this year being fairly liberal and pushing vegetarianism onto our seven year old. We are not rich – I cannot afford to make one of my children separate meals every day. Yet she is now refusing to eat most proteins because of this teacher. So not happy about that. We are also homeschooling because we feel our children will thrive better in such an environment, our oldest daughter in particular. She is extremely artistic, but rarely has time to develop this talent because there is no time during school or after due to homework. Both of our children that are in school are also showing signs of boredom due to being very smart but having to work at the slowest denominators pace. So we feel homeschooling will allow them to learn at a faster pace that will keep them more engaged.

This blog is to help me organize my thoughts as I go about learning how to homeschool and choosing from the plethora of ways to teach and curriculums. It is also meant to be a learning place for me and anyone that reads it. I would greatly appreciate comments, suggestions and criticism. Especially from other homeschoolers about what curriculums and learning styles they have used and liked or hated. On the side bar, I’ve also placed a list of the curriculums I’m planning on using for the kids next school year. These are not complete (I still need something for science and Chinese) and will probably change as we learn better our individual styles.