Sunday, September 13, 2009

Our Homeschool

Last year I made the decision to try homeschooling my son, Ethan. Though he was only 4, I decided to start introducing kindergarten age concepts and consider it a "trial run." I didn't use a formal curriculum, just worked from various books to introduce developmentally-appropriate material to him. If our "trial" failed miserably, he was still young enough to start kindergarten in public school next fall. If it was successful, I wanted to be ready to jump in with both feet and be prepared to educate my son. He soaked up EVERYTHING I introduced to him and loved doing workbook pages and playing with math manipulatives.

I started doing research on various homeschool methods and my local homeschooling laws. I found myself drawn to The Well-Trained Mind by Jessie Wise and Susan Wise Bauer and after checking out from our local library a third time, I realized I had to buy it. The classical style of education (or trivium) made a lot of sense to me as it is history centered and more or less chronological, on a four-year cycle. I have a bachelor's degree in history and found it very disconcerting when I realized that Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln were not only contemporaries, but born on the exact same DAY. I was taught history in a disjointed, disconnected, very US-centric way, that I had no idea what else was going on in the world during the US Civil War.

Ethan was catching on to kindergarten concepts so well, I decided we'd jump right into a first-grade curriculum this fall. For our first "formal" year, I chose to closely follow the suggestions outlined in The Well-Trained Mind. It is sort of my safety net or the foundation of our homeschool.

For "core" subjects, I've stuck with the suggestions in the book and/or using books the authors created such as First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind for grammar, Writing With Ease Workbook for writing, Spelling Workout, and Story of the World. For math, we chose Saxon. I had to research a variety of math programs before choosing this one. We like it, though whether or not we'll use it in future years, I haven't decided yet.

I used the book suggestions for a science curriculum, combining animal study, human body, and plants, but to add in some hands on we're working our way through The Usborne Big Book of Experiments. Ethan LOVES the experiments because he thinks they're fun and I like that they take very little prep work and use mostly common household items (which also makes them a bit safer).

I've taken some of their suggestions a step further, using Harmony Fine Arts for our art and part of our music. I'm supplementing that with G Major Music Theory to teach music theory and piano basics.

We do a lot of reading. Ethan has quiet reading time and we read together a lot. Trips to our library are a weekly event. I choose nonfiction books that correspond with our studies for the week and he chooses fiction stories for his quiet reading time. We're working our way through the "Little House" series together and enjoying them a lot too. I love to see him enjoying reading and picking up books without prompting.

That pretty much covers our homeschool for this year. We started "full time" on the 8th and are getting into the groove. We ran out of time for his math lesson on Friday, and he reminded me on Saturday that we needed to do it!

1 comment:

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