Once upon a time, I said I would never homeschool my children.
And, yet…here we are, embarking on our 8th year of homeschooling!
This year, I have 4 students…ranging from pre-school to junior high! That should keep me busy and out of trouble…or, not.
Rachel is in Pre-School this year:
She is only 2, but loves being at the school table with her big siblings. I’m not entirely convinced that “pre-school” is an academic necessity. We tend to cover the content of most pre-school curriculum naturally, as we live life. So, while I am hesitant to push my littlest one into too much of an academic experience before she is really ready (something that, I’ve found, is very easy to do in the homeschooling world!), we decided to, cautiously, go ahead with a more formal pre-school time for our youngest this year. We are using Preschool Pathways by BJU Press. (We used this with Rebekah last year.) It can be set up for school time every day, or just a few days a week. It is colorful, fun, and laid back with a big emphasis on learning through play. But, at the same time, it will also give a little bit of structure and direction to her days, and hopefully help to keep her purposefully busy and engaged while I am “doing school” with her older siblings. I love that it gives us some special one-on-one time during our busy school days. And, even though their lessons are different, there are enough similarities that I will be able to combine some of her pre-school time with Rebekah’s!
Rebekah is in Pre-K this year:
I know. I just said that it is very easy for homeschoolers to push our kids academically, or to assume that they are more advanced than they are. But… (There’s always a but.) One of the things I love about homeschooling is the ability to know my children, and to know their needs and abilities, and somewhat customize their education to match. Some of my kids have shown true interest and academic readiness “early.” But, we have generally tried to keep to a more traditionally accepted schedule. But, Rebekah will be 4 in October, which means that, if she were in the public schools here, she wouldn’t be eligible for Pre-K (or “Transitional Kindergarten”) until next year…and not eligible for real Kindergarten until just before she turns 6! This girl spent all of last year begging for more work. (So much so that I almost considered just putting her in Kindergarten alongside Titus!) So, waiting 2 more years would be tough on her. And, probably a little tough on her mommy too. We are going to be using Footsteps for Fours, by BJU Press. We do lots of playing, and coloring, and reading together. And, my goal is to keep things low key for her, and not push her into something she is not really ready for…but, at the same time, I don’t want to hinder a genuine desire to learn right now. So, this is a great fit. It will give us some focused learning time each day, but in a developmentally and age-appropriate way. Yes, she is almost 4…but she is still only 3. So, we are taking a similar approach with her, as we did with Titus, and we will just take it at her pace. Right now, she is all about school! And, I could definitely see her going through this much faster than the year-long plan that I have laid out. Or, her enthusiasm may wane a bit, and we may slow down as things get harder. And, you know, that would be okay too! For now, she says that she is looking forward to school (all of it!) this year!
Titus is in 1st Grade this year:
Again, according to our local school district’s calendar, he “should” be only starting Kindergarten this year. I had to put off teaching him to read a little longer than either he or I wanted (due to the demands of a job change for my husband, a new baby, a move, and my own health issues). He deemed this cruel and unusual punishment! So, my original plan to possibly stretch Kindergarten over 2 school years flew out the window before our last school year even started. He was more than up to every challenge I threw at him! Especially reading! Over the past year, he has become the family bookworm. He devours books, and reads above his grade level with incredible inflection and comprehension. Some of this may just be his natural bent…he is serious, analytical, and just loves to learn. But, I also credit a lot of this to how reading and phonics skills were approached in his Kindergarten curriculum. So, we will be continuing with BJU Press for 1st grade. I pray that this will only continue to increase his knowledge, and strengthen and improve his skills and love of learning. He said he is looking forward to all of first grade, but thinks that math is going to be his favorite subject this year.
Hannah is in 7th Grade this year:
I have a junior higher!! Speaking strictly as her teacher, I’ve dreaded this moment. But, as I looked over her curriculum, and planned out her lessons, I was surprised to find myself looking forward to it all! I am excited about what she will be covering in her different classes this year. Of all of my kids, I think she is facing the biggest changes, academically. After some serious consideration, prayer, and discussion, we decided to take a step back from the somewhat classically-eclectic approach (mixing classical, textbooks, and unit studies) that we’ve used in past years. We decided to go back to a more cohesive, unified curriculum, with a traditional, textbook approach. It just seems to be what works best for our family dynamics and schedule, and for the variety of personalities, learning styles, and abilities represented in my children. So, like her siblings, she will be using BJU Press for 7th grade. On one hand, her classes are still the most intimidating to me, because I have never taught them before. (Poor thing. As the first child, she is our homeschool guinea pig.) But, the school that I attended from 7th-12th grade used a lot of BJU Press materials. So, although they have been updated quite a bit in the past several years, I am actually very familiar with her curriculum from my own experience as a student! So, this year will definitely be a challenge, for both of us, but, I think it will be a very good one! After looking over her new textbooks, she says that she is most excited about her Literature book, and thinks that will be her favorite subject this year.