The main objectives of our homeschool are:
1)The children grow in grace and knowledge of our Lord
2) The children’s minds be challenged at developmentally appropriate levels, and inspired by all that is good and true.
3) That the children have the tools to become passionate learners and discover and grow towards their unique giftings.
So what does that look like?
It sounds like Psalms sung, Bible stories read, and conversations about how much Arthurian legend pulls from the book of Samuel. It looks like piano lessons this year, because music is important and really good for developing brains. It looks like one child doing their work online while wearing noise canceling headphones, because that’s how she learns best. It looks like my 2nd and 4th grader working together in a third grade math book, because that’s how they learn best, and because knowing those times tables really well helps so much later on. It is the tales of English kings, weird animal facts, meteor showers in the wee hours, and the story of Camelot whispered at bedtime.
What does that look like day to day?
Our day starts with Psalm singing and a chapter from the Bible. From there we read history and do a little geography. Right now the kids are working on reports about a country in Europe. For my Kindergartener, that meant printing coloring pages about England, writing a sentence on back of each for an oral report, and cooking jam tarts. For my Highschooler, it means pages of thorough notes about Spanish culture, a complicated desert recipe, and a well written report. When we finish up with History and Geography, I’ll probably add a Science class for the younger children.
Highschooler puts on her headphones and does Algebra (Mobymax, Teaching Textbooks), Anatomy (Khan Academy), and Drivers Ed online. After that we’ll meet for Sequential Spelling. She’ll also practice piano for 15-20 minutes, read for an hour, and do some writing.
Jr High meets with a tutor, then does some online work.
2nd and 4th: Work with me in a practical arithmetic book geared toward 3-4th grade. (Strayer Upton Practical Arithmetic) They also do dictionary work, then read aloud to me and answer comprehension questions ( Little Women is our current selection). 2nd grader does “Draw Write Now”, a workbook that walks a child through drawing and writing exercises. 4th Grader does Kumon’s “5th Grade Writing”. The also have handwriting workbooks and are required to spend time reading to themselves daily.
For phonics, both my Kindergartener and 2nd grader do “Teach your Monster to Read” online. It is a free and very engaging resource. At some point, 4th grader will ease into Latin again, most likely when she has finished her writing and handwriting workbooks.
In reality, my Kindergartener spends most of the day playing. She listens when I read out loud to the group. She sings, and participates in group projects. Sometimes we cook together. She reads to me and does an occasional math worksheet, but I’m not too worried about academics right now. She meets all of the K benchmarks, and her little brain is better fed by pretend play and legos than seatwork.
All in all, we spend 3-4 hours a day doing formal “school”. This has been enough for the kids to seem to be progress well, and do well on standardized testing. Oddly enough, though I am not doing formal science with my younger group right now, they have developed a solid understanding from their explorations. They are driven by their own curiosity to choose books, documentaries, and activities that help them gain a better understanding of the natural world and its properties.
After “school” , all of the younger children have nature journals that they spend time filling each day. The kid all also have chores both in the house and “farming”. Highscooler raises sheep and goats, 4th grader helps in the garden and with the dog, and the 2nd grader cares for chickens.
So no, we are not super high achievers. More like gentle learners. And it works.