This is our third year homeschooling.
Sometimes, I still don’t really feel like I know what I’m doing, but when I sit down to plan out our year, one of my favorite things is to chat with other homeschoolers and get a sense for what they’re doing.
This helps me find creative solutions for when we hit a brick wall in something I’m wanting our kids to learn. It often also gives me new ides of things to teach that I wouldn’t have thought of otherwise, and guides me to resources I had not heard about before.
So I thought I’d just take a few minutes and share with you all what we’re doing this year, in hopes that if you’re in need of ideas or encouragement that this would be a help to you. And even if you don’t homeschool, maybe you’ll find some neat tools for building connections with the kiddos in your life.
Morning Time is something new we’re doing this year. I’ve always made time for reading aloud, but some of the other things I wanted to include in our days on a regular basis—things like memory work, art, music appreciation, and math games—usually ended up getting put off over and over again. Morning time is helping me include all of those elements into our homeschool routine on a more regular basis.
And I wouldn’t have been able to figure out a way to make it work for us if it hadn’t been for Pam Barnhill’s morning time book, Better Together. This book helped me craft a vision for what I wanted our days to look like, and gave me practical steps for making it happen.
Every morning, after breakfast, we sit down and do several things together:
- We sing two hymns
- We have a little discussion about theology (more on that in a minute)
- We do something artsy (do a picture study, read a poem, listen to a piece of music)
- We review our memory work (we’ll be learning 6 passages of Scripture this year, and a few poems and science facts)
- We do something math or science-y (Bedtime Math, read from a math or science book, a quick game like Professor Noggins or Logic Links, watch a Mystery Science video)
- We read a chapter from our current read-aloud (this year I’ve chosen our books from the Brave Writer Arrow list, so that this coordinates with our language arts curriculum; right now we’re reading The Bad Beginning)
This has been such a delightful way to begin our days, and we’re really managing to fit in a lot of different things by doing just one artsy thing and one science-y thing each day.
When I pulled my oldest son out of public school after kindergarten, I wasn’t sure if we’d homeschool for one year or twelve, or somewhere in between. But despite the uncertainty of our future, I asked myself what I wanted him to know by the time he left our home as an adult.
The science and history curricula we were planning to use operated in four-year cycles, so as I considered how to break up the things I wanted to teach my children about the Lord, it made sense to me to follow this pattern.
So far, we’ve stuck with that system, and I’ve really enjoyed it so far. This is our four-year cycle:
This year, we are on year three and are studying theology.
The best tool we’ve found so far for an elementary study of theology is this book. It covers all kinds of things kids need to know about what we believe. We’ve just begun with the first few chapters about God, but my kids have already learned about the trinity, God’s perfect love, and several of his attributes.
We belong to an Assemblies of God church, which is Pentecostal, so when we get to the study of the Holy Spirit’s role in our lives later in the school year, we will probably supplement our studies with some resources from our own church. We also really enjoy using these Bible Quiz questions to help enhance our understanding of Bible stories and theology.
Just in case you’re looking for new resources to try, this is what we’re using to guide our study this year:
- Singapore Math
- Handwriting Without Tears
- Arrow Single Issues
- The Story of Science
- The Story of the World, Vol 3 (we’re merely using this as a guide; we’re supplementing with a lot of picture books and this Adventures in Odyssey series)
- Draw and Write Through History
- Chalk Pastel Art (right now, we’re going through all the free videos on YouTube, eventually, we’ll probably purchase some video lessons)
We haven’t gotten to it yet, but I also plan to use these things later in the year:
- Lift-the-Flap Times Tables
- Multiplication Facts that Stick
- SQUILT music appreciation Lessons (we’ll start with this one, and probably do this one at Christmas; beyond that I’m not sure)
- Simply Charlotte Mason picture study portfolios (we’re already using their method, but having art-quality prints is something I’d love to splurge on when we can afford it)
- First Language Lessons, level 2
- Lift-the Flap Periodic Table
So that’s what we’re planning to do this year.
I’m sure some of it will change as the year progresses, but so far, at about 5 weeks into our school year (yes, we started very early!), we’re really happy with our system so far.
I hope your school year is going well, and if you have any questions for me, resources you want to share, or other thoughts, just leave a comment below!
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