Once upon a time, M and I decided to home school our children. Well, we did not have any children, yet. And I have been slowly dreading it to some extent. I mean, it is a lot of responsibility to educate your children, and we have this vision of a classical-traditional-sacramental education we want our children to have so that they can be awesome people.
Last year we went to the curriculum fair at the homeschool conference, and I
cried got overwhelmed about homeschooling. I was trying to decide if I should do some first grade things with G (who was five at the time) or not. I finally settled on giving her a year of casual kindergarten. And we did this, and I am going to do the same thing with L (5 in November) for kindergarten this year:
I finished this book (Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons) with G last school year, and it was a struggle. We may have fought and cried our way through the lessons. I wish I had become a more patient person through it, though I am not sure that I did. Well this summer (five months after finishing the book and reading really simple library books together), she came up to me out of the blue and said: “Thanks, Mom, for teaching me to read.” I really did cry then. Now she reads everything she is able to read. She loves it. She reads to her sisters, she reads to herself. She gets better everyday.
(NOTE: I know this sounds like the book 100 Easy Lessons was awful, but really it was just personality and my dynamic with G. L and I have done 20 lessons so far and it is much different. We think G does better as a self-learner.)
We have been working through the Handwriting Without Tears (Handwriting Without Tears: Letters and Numbers for Me) curriculum, so we just did that everyday. She wrote to her penpal, wrote cards for family birthdays, etc.
I did not buy a kindergarten math book, we just got more comfortable with numbers doing Montessori activities from this book: Teach Me to Do it Myself And it all went well.
So, I am going to do what I did with G last year for L this year, and if it goes well I will decide if she is ready for first grade next year or just do another casual year.
When M and I were discussing first grade, I really felt like I wanted to get a set curriculum. I am a slight perfectionist, and I can’t do something as major as homeschooling without something like, “You will do this exact thing today in this subject, and this in this other subject, etc.” That seemed the only way.
But my dear husband, reminded me of our plan to give our kids the education we preferred for them and none of the set curricula do what we want. So, he agreed to plan meticulously with me, with our textbooks and other books, what we are going to do this year.
We decided to start the Awesome School next week. Summer weather will hopefully continue, but I think we are all ready for some structure after the baby.
We are going to do two half weeks, and then after Labor Day jump in full swing. But this also means that I have to get my act together. This week is home organization, and school supply purchasing.
Here are the books we are using (minus the St. Joseph Catechism, because a certain six year old wanted to read it during quiet time):
For reading and spelling we are using the Catholic National Reader Primer and Book One.
For Math we are going with Singapore 1A & 1B, largely because we have heard it is the only curriculum that prepares students for advanced math. There are already algebraic concepts in 1st grade!
I think we will probably be doing school 4 days a week for 2 hours (8:30-10:30 depending on baby naptime), and 1 hour on Fridays or our twice a month co-op (the same one we did last year). Science and the Fine Arts will be only twice a week.
In addition to what I am doing with the girls, M is going to be working on poem recitations, Latin prayer memorization, geography, and some history with the girls a couple hours a week. He did this last year with G, and she did really well.
F (3 in November) is going to just tag along, color, listen, and be little. 🙂