I am excited to be linking up since it's my goal to blog more about what we are doing in our homeschool journey this year.
So here goes!
How long have you been homeschooling?
We officially started when my son was 3, almost 4. We had him signed up for preschool and then changed our minds. I started working with him at home since he was reading and eager to learn. Because of his late birthday, he wasn't ready for kindergarten for another year, so we continued to work with him. By the time it came around for him to start school officially, he was ahead and the last thing I wanted to do was send him to school where he would be bored. We all know how bored little boys behave. It would have been a DISASTER! So homeschooling came into our radar. Before that I was under the impression, homeschoolers were weird.
So officially this is 7th year, unofficially our 8th.
How many kids do you have?
I have 2 children. A son in 6th grade and a daughter in 4th grade.
What laws are in your state regarding homeschooling? How do you meet them?
VA doesn't require too much from homeschooling parents. We have to file our notice of intent and show proof of progress every year. You can show your progress by either supplying them with CAT tests scores or by having a portfolio reviewed by a licensed teacher. We choose to do the test. It's simple to do and we order it from Seton.
If you could summarize your homeschool philosophy in one sentences or mission statement, what would it be?
Instill a love of learning and provide my children with a strong faith. If a child knows how to read and tries to discover new things, then their learning will never end. Having a strong faith will help guide them through life during the good and bad times, especially during the rough times.
What is your homeschooling style?
We follow a Charlotte Mason, Classical, and hands on approach. It varies sometimes. I'm willing to change things if they are not working. What works well for one child may not work well for another.
Do you follow any homeschool curriculum?
Over the years, we have tried lots of "curriculums" like Seton, CHC, All About Spelling, Saxon, MUS, Story for the World, etc. Anything we didn't like I scrapped.
The first 5 years I created my own lessons. We used the library, unit studies, lap books, and crafts. We learned the basics but then threw in subjects that the kids wanted to learn about. I didn't feel like for K, 1st, or 2nd grade I really didn't a set curriculum.
Two years ago, I discovered Mater Amabilis. We loosely followed it. I took aspects of it that I liked and added them to our lessons. We followed their religion and science. We tried the Mater Amabilis history, but my kids found it boring. We then tried Story of the World, but I wanted something more Catholic.
For the past 2 years, we have used CCM. We joined a co-op that uses the program. I took the weekly topics and added more to them. We continued using the religion suggestions from Mater Amabilis on top of the CCM religion. With CCM, it's very easy to add to it. We can make it fit our needs. I prefer not to have too much laid out for me. I like to create my own lessons.
Next year, we will be using a combination again. We won't be using Mater Amabilis next year. We will continue with CCM, but will be adding Mother Of Divine Grace. With my son heading into 6th grade next year, we have started to look into higher learning. Our plan is to enroll him in MODG for high school. So next year, we are following the CCM weekly lessons but adding recommendations from MODG for English, Spelling, History(additional reading), and Latin. We'll be using All About Spelling for my daughter.
For math, we have used Saxon in the past, but we are switching to Math U See this year. I still like Saxon, but it just wasn't working for us right now. We may switch back to it when we get to high school.
I don't want to add anymore gray hairs to my head.
What do your best homeschooling moments look like?
My best moments are when my kids whip out information that they have learned. It makes me proud (and relieved) to hear them remember stuff they learned. I think the best homeschooling moment for me was when my daughter finally caught on to the reading thing! The pride in her face and the sense of accomplishment she had was priceless. Nothing beats seeing their faces light up when they have mastered a new task. I love days when the kids are happy, eager, and full of smiles.
What do your worst homeschooling moments look like?
Our worst days include frustration, shouting, tears, feelings of failure. Days when school work isn't done until 5:00 and we started at 8:00. This is one reason why we are switching math this year. When we have days like that, it's time to take a step back and reevaluate. Sometimes you just need a break.
One thing I am trying for next year is taking a Sabbath week. We will do school for 6 weeks and then take a week off. A dear friend sent me a link to a blog about taking a Sabbath week. The mom, from the blog, talked about how God took the seventh day for rest and how she discovered they needed the same break in their schooling. During our Sabbath week, we will straighten up the house (not much fun), take field trips, and just have fun!
How do you keep any non homeschooling children busy?
Unfortunately, I don't have that problem. When I first started homeschooling my son, my daughter was only 2. She wanted to do what he was doing, so I gave her coloring pages of the letters. She practiced using scissors and glue during art. Thankfully, she only cut her hair twice. She did puzzles, played with play doh, and her toys. One toy that she played with a lot while I taught her brother was her My First Dollhouse from Fisher Price. She LOVED that thing!
If you could give homeschooling advice to a new mom starting out, what would it be?
Don't try to do school at home, so much of learning takes place outside the classroom.
Love them. Encourage them.
Don't get caught up in what others are doing. Don't compare yourself or your children.
There is no right way to do things.
Most important be willing to change if something isn't working.