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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Homeschooling Overview for 2012-2013 School Year

Hi friends! Just a little update now that school is in full swing this year. While we continue to home school, we remember it's a journey, not a destination so we revise our plans a bit each year depending on work circumstances, the boys' ability to work alone or in pairs, where we need to work harder, whether a particular curriculum is meeting our needs, etc. Plus, we pray like crazy over it and ask the Lord to fill the gaps, as there are sure to be some along the way.
So let's cover a few things that are the same as last year, then we will mention a few new things for this school year.
SAME~
*Same curriculum for all. D is using Blessed is the Man, an independent unit study approach that allows him much freedom in choosing his own assignments, but that keeps him focused on the Lord and his education. P is working through what will be his last year in MFW and is using the Creation to the Greeks set. DT is enjoying MFW as well and even though he's officially in second grade, we're re-doing last years 1st grade to reinforce some concepts that he's still struggling with in phonics.
*Same scheduling time blocks as last year. D and P work independently in the mornings while I work one on one with DT. Then in the afternoon, DT rests/plays quietly and I work with D and P.
*We have the same goals as well. We want our boys to have a firm foundation not only in the basics of education but to be well grounded in the Bible, character traits and loving their neighbors.
A few things that are NOT the SAME~
*We are not following the same pattern of working like crazy forever and a day, and then taking a super long break during the holidays. While we've enjoyed this routine and it was most definitely a must while I was working nights at Kohl's, I don't work at night anymore and the break was too long and allowed us to get too far off track in our studies and out of the good study habits we'd been working on so long. So this year, we are following a 6 weeks on/1 week off routine that allows us plenty of wiggle room when we need it, keeps us from getting burnt out on school before having a break, and doesn't let our good habits slip during the breaks.
*We've also returned to a 5 day school week, whether Dan is working 4 day weeks or not. The boys are old enough now to focus on school even when Dan is home :) And it gives us a little wiggle room for when we want to join our friends at the park for a picnic and some free time. DT's curriculum calls for one day of exploring nature, so he takes along his microscope and digs for bugs, leaves and such while he's playing.
*My parents will be joining us for the winter months. From early December until late April/early May, so we are really looking forward to that. My mom is already chomping at the bit to dig in and do school with the boys and has spent hours scouring books and Internet sites looking for fun learning activities. It will be such a treat for us to have them with us!
*D and P have added Apologia Science to their studies and are enjoying the experiments already. They are also working on their cooperative skills since I am asking them to work through everything together.
*DT has added tutoring to his repertoire of activities and enjoys his few hours with Aunt Jodi's office each week.
*We enjoyed our first ever home school Co-Op this fall and while P balked at the change in routine (he's such a homebody at times) I think P and DT enjoyed it. D opted out for the fall session. I have already signed up for the spring session and am looking forward to it very much.
*Last but decidedly NOT least in the new category is an actual HOME SCHOOL section in the monthly budget. Since we are nearly done buying curriculum forever (hurray for re-using curriculum) we can afford to spend a little bit each month on a new lapbook, a field trip, some new books, new manipulatives or a day of fun that's home school related instead of using a large chunk of the tax refund to buy new curriculum for all the boys. I'm pretty excited about this! This month's addition was D and P's Apologia curriculum. Next month's purchases will probably be some crafting supplies to make holiday gifts. :)
I think that sums up our school year pretty well. Things are rolling along smoothly most days and we are getting much done. Good stuff!
     Blessings, ~K~

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