We are officially homeschooling. Okay, since Kyri has a November birthday and isn’t eligible to start Kindergarten until next fall, I guess its not “official.” But I think she is ready so we are moving ahead. We started the week of August 22, and as we are wrapping up our Week 3, I can say that it is going well so far, even as we are working out some of the expected kinks. Here’s a breakdown of what we are covering this year:
1. Math – I will spare you the details, but overall, Kyri will be proficient with counting, patterns/sequences, addition and subtraction, fractions, geometric shapes, time and money. We aren’t using a specific curriculum for this – so far workbooks are more than enough. Starfall also has math and counting content for supplemental work.
2. Language Arts – This covers reading and phonics, and handwriting. We are doing A LOT of reading. I am realizing that the library is the homeschooler’s best friend! We get leisure books, books on topics of interest, and books that correspond to topics we are learning about in our other subjects. I really like the idea of learning from living books, and so we typically have a large collection at any given time. For Phonics and beginning reading we use Starfall. Kyri has been using Starfall.com since April and is able to read a fair amount. She is not limite to sight words that she has memorized – she is comfortable reading words by sounding out and using the Phonics she has learned. I am really impressed with her progress already. I also give her copy work to practice writing letters, words and sentences. We are working on improving her handwriting and correct formation of the letters.
3. Five in a Row (FIAR) – this is an interesting curriculum. You read aloud a classical story five days in a row, and each day you use the story to lead into a different lesson. The curriculum guide lists several learning topics, covering Social Studies, Language Arts, Art, even Math and Science. Some use FIAR as their core, but I am really using it as a supplement.
4. Social Studies - We are involved in a co-op this year covering Social Studies and Science. For Social Studies, we are using Story of the World (SOTW) Volume 1. Each week we cover (typically) one chapter, and our children read living books, do map work, and some relevant arts/crafts. This week, we learned about Nomads and made cave paintings and bead necklaces. SOTW follows the Classical education approach outlined in the Well Trained Mind. One thing that I really like abou the Classical approach is its focus on living books. Especially at this young age, this is the way to engage them, not being limited by a stuffy textbook.
5. Science - the second topic we cover as part of our co-op is Science. Again coming from a Classical approach, we are using Elemental Science . This is a great introduction to scientific concepts for young children. Covering topics such as Dilutions and Solutions, and Density, it introduces concepts in a simple and fun way. Kyri has been having a blast!
6. Geography - I wanted to go beyond our basic topics and chose three extras to cover this year in addition to our “core” Social Studies and Science topics. I found Intellego unit Studies , which contains a large variety of curriculum choices in both Social Studies and Science topics. The Geography unit study that we are doing introduces maps, and for the next several weeks, we will be learning about what they are used for, and the different types available. Last week we even made a treasure map! We will also be covering cardinal directions and hemispheres. We have also covered our school room walls with various maps.
7. Civics - in the state of Texas, Civics is expected to be taught in schools, including homeschools. I am using a Civics unit study from Intellego.This particular Civics course introduces Symbols. We have started learning about the American flag, and we will cover topics such as the Pledge of Allegiance, and the Star Spangled Banner.
8. Astronomy - By far my favorite of our extra topics, our Astronomy unit study from Intellego has been a lot of fun so far. We have been learning about our solar system. We will cover galaxies, the moon and the planets during this topic. While I don’t expect my child to retain everything from the course, I think a broad understanding of the topic is really my goal here. Already Kyri has shown an interest in stargazing. Just this evening we all spent some time out back looking at the stars. I think a telescope is in our near future, as well as a study in Constellations.
These are our “official” subjects. We are still exploring options for Art/Music. She has shown interest in Ballet in the past and we are considering putting her in a class. I am hoping that sometime this fall we will have some sort of musical or artistic activity planned for her. We are also considering what to do for physical activity. We asked her if she was interested in Soccer and she wasn’t. Martial Arts are another option we have been considering. Like the Art/Music, we hope to have something in place later in the fall for her Physical Activity.
As far as the “kinks” go, we are still trying to find our groove. What I mean is, we need to find what type of daily schedule works best, how to best schedule our topics, how long should we work before taking a break. While I have our first six weeks planned out, I am waiting to see how it goes to see if I have been too ambitious in what I expect to cover in that time period. One of the wonderful things about homeschooling is working at the pace of your child. There is no reason to “move on” from a subject because that is how it is scheduled. If more time is needed for a subject, than that’s what we are doing. I accept that this year is going to be a learning experience for the both both us. I am learning what works best for us. I love reading blogs to see how other moms organize their days, as well as deal with the frustrations that occur.
At San Antonio Children’s Museum
Bubble Ranch at San Antonio Children’s Museum
Working on worksheets at co-op