Thursday, September 15, 2011

Back to School In Three Parts

We started school on Labor Day.  Jamey was scheduled to work, so it didn't seem like much of a holiday for the rest of us, so we said a prayer (with me on my knees- that was one important prayer) and we jumped right in.  We're almost finished our second week and so far it's going well.  There have been a few tears, but I've also heard, "I love school this year" so it all evens out (thus far).

I want to clear the air a bit before I go on.  I believe that there are pros and cons to both homeschooling and "big school" (as we call it).  Each family has to decide which of the two has the most pros and if that choice suits their situation and inclinations. We all have doubts and second guess some of the choices we make for our kids.  It's all part of being a good parent.  Questions cause us to sit back and review the reasons we've made the decision we went with.  They can remind us of why we've chosen to be where we are and they can affirm our choices.  If we didn't care, we wouldn't question, but that doesn't mean that if we question we've made a mistake.  

Is anyone still reading this?  Am I making a semblance of sense?  I just want you to know that I really do care about you and don't want anyone to come here and interpret my sharing as anything but that.  I'm just sharing our life.  Your family and life and experiences and choices are just as important.

Now that I've conveyed my deepest thoughts and feelings, I want to do a couple things in this post.  I'm feeling organized at the moment, so we're going to use headings today.

Encouragement

For those of you with younger children who are considering homeschooling, but aren't sure how it works with more than one little children, I want to tell you a couple of things.  Homeschooling starts out slowly.  Around here, public kindergarten is all day, Monday through Friday.  In our experience, homeschooling kindergarten takes one to one and a half hours.  Really, it does.  It took that long when I did it with Sam and it's taking that long this year with Sadie.  First grade takes a little longer and so forth.  I want to tell you this so you don't think starting out is an all day affair.  It begins gradually.

Secondly, there is room for a lot of flexibility.  This year I have a 4th grader, a kindergartener, and a two-year-old.  So who does the school schedule revolve around?  The two year old, of course!  Our morning session coincides with Sesame Street and Sid the Science Kid and our afternoon session with Miriam's nap.  I've found that each year, our days look differently (sometimes they even change mid-year) and that's all right.

What We're Studying

This year, Sam is doing Sonlight Core D + E (Intro to American History) which also includes Bible, reading, geography, art, and language arts.  He's using Sequential Spelling 1, First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind (level 3), Homeschool Saxon Math 5/4, Exploring Creation Zoology III (Land Animals), A Reason for Handwriting D (Cursive) and mandolin lessons with Jamey.

Sadie is doing Sonlight Core A (Intro to the World: Cultures) which also includes Bible, reading, geography, art, and language arts.  She is also using Zaner-Blosser Handwriting K and Horizons Math Kindergarten.


Sam and Sadie do art and science together and they both listen in on each others read alouds.

The Room

It's one of the things I loved most about our house.  Even when Sam was two years old (the year we moved in), I was pretty sure we would decide to homeschool.  A separate room is certainly not necessary to home school, but if you have one, it sure is convenient.



During the summer, it's the "play room" and the school table is folded up and the Foosball table is uncovered and brought in from the shed.



Yes, the lamp is bent (it still works, so it stays) and one of the cabinet doors is broken (and on Jamey's honey-do list). Pin It

15 comments:

  1. I think your school room is so calming and inviting and inspiring. I love that you have their diaramas displayed on the shelf above the door. And the colorful mobile hanging in the window makes the room look like a creative place to be. That chippy gray bookshelf is amazing! The display of crates and the globe looks so interesting and decorative yet also serving a storage purpose.

    I love that I can live vicariously through you...Ian really didn't want to homeschool and has committed to doing better this year. I never wanted it to be a punishment...I wanted it to be an opportunity. He's been in school 3 weeks now and so far so good. Not great...but good. And considering he does NOT like school...this is OK.

    Your curriculum sounds really good...you are good at putting that together. That part of it sounds fun to me....but I can have a chance at it when I become a special ed teacher. :)

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  2. I love seeing how other people homeschool. Thank you for sharing this. In fact, your post about Sonlight (from a little more than a year ago) inspired me to start looking into homeschooling. I read about it incessantly for a year and now we are officially starting our first year of homeschooling. :) Thank you for the inspiration.

    We did purchase a Sonlight P 4/5 core. However, I learned that I don't really like to follow the IG, so I think for a while we'll just use booklists and just read, read, read! My kids are still pretty little (the oldest is 4.5) so we don't have do much yet.

    I love your big bookcase with the doors. Perfect! Where did you find that? I also love your comfy couch.

    Thank you for all your inspiration shared on this blog. I appreciate your ideas and admire your goal of "living simply in order to give."

    Keep the homeschool posts a comin'!

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  3. Natalie,
    Jamey made those built-in shelves from old barn boards. I'm so excited for you as you start your homeschooling journey. You are so right to alter the curriculum so it works for you- Sonlight encourages this:-).

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  4. Love your homeschool room! We're a formerly homeschooling family of 4 years with our 3 oldest children currently enrolled in public school (one of those it's best for our family right now things) and planning to move back to homeschooling next year as our oldest would be starting middle school. We have used Sonlight and Winter Promise in the past and will probably be using Sonlight again for middle school and high school. Love to hear what others are doing.

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  5. I loved your disclaimer paragraph! I sometimes feel that every post I write should have a disclaimer (I'm focusing on the good stuff on my blog, this is only a slice of my life, etc. etc.). And we're still tiptoeing into school since G started kindergarten this year. . . the 5 full day kind. sighhhhh We haven't ruled out homeschooling. We'll see.

    I also think that's a neat tradition to have a play/school room with the foosball table as the signal :)

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  6. A separate room for homeschooling would be so nice, but we depend on our computer, and it is in the main living area. I do kind of like it though, that we are all together, and that even when I am baking cookies or dusting the living room, we are all in the same space. What I don' t like is having to clean everything up just so we can use our table for eating on! :)

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  7. I love your homeschool room and when you share about your schooling activities and organization with the kids. We had a bent lamp like yours for yours until it didn't survive a move and would no longer remain screwed together and vertical.

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  8. makes me want to start school all over!

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  9. I love that your lamp is bent and you still use it! Makes me feel a bit more normal about some of our furnishings! That made me smile today.:-)

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  10. I have to tell you, I just adore your bookshelves/cabinets!
    We are a couple years away from kids, but we are planning on homeschooling when the time comes; seeing how other people do it is immensely helpful in forming our ideas, goals, and expectations. So thank you for sharing!

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  11. Wow, I just popped over here from a link from Mary Ann's blog, and I'm blessed to have stopped here. I have a 4th grader, a kindergartener, and an almost 2 year old, and we homeschool as well! Think I'll take a peek around your blog some more.

    Blessings to you and yours!
    Katie

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  12. Love your inspiration. Even though my children are past the early stages I can offer some inspiration. We've got one in college now and he not only survived his role as my learning curve but is doing well. Our school work (both traditional and nontraditional) never took more than 5 hours a day even when we were loaded down with college preparatory classes. (I do admit some days I miss those early days of schooling, but at least they still let me read to them...lol.)

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  13. I have found that I can't do a 'summer break'. We just back off and only do school once or twice a week during the summer.

    I wish I had a school room, we have school stuff everywhere in our family room. Not a big deal, but it would be nice to separate from it sometimes, and have more to display the kids' work.

    I hope you and the kids have a great year!!

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  14. You make a LOT of sense (referring to your disclaimer paragraph.) As much as I love homeschooling, there is MANY times that I need to sit back and remember why I am homeschooling and if this still is where the Lord wants me. And I know many many people would look at the same list of pros and cons and choose differently. I'm okay with that!

    Loved to see your room! We just built on to our house and are hoping (when everything gets rearranged, to have a designated school area! Now we are on the dining room table which works well to!
    Gina

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  15. I'm insanely jealous of your school room. We live in an ancient remodeled farmhouse (think built pre 1880), and our school area is the kitchen table, living room couch, and basement wall (where we have our big maps posted, there's no room anywhere else!). We're currently keeping our school *stuff* on a rolling tea table in the corner of the kitchen. SOMEDAY..... :-)

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