Curricula- plans revised for the New Year

      I've been finding old lost blog post from my wordpress blog that disappeared stored as Facebook notes. They pop up in the daily Facebook memories, sort of my personal day in history. I'm republishing these as I find them, but backdating to when they were originally shared.

        We are relaxed homeschoolers. That’s kind of a label for not following a routine. That has changed from when we first started homeschooling and tried doing everything just right. Now, instead of “just right” my goal is more long term. 
        We want the kids to grow up and be confident sharing their faith in our Savior, Christ Jesus. Everything else comes after that. So if they have an interest in becoming rocket scientists, we can call our friend at Stennis Space Center who really is one, and maybe they can learn from him, too. Or if the girls want to be a Mom, I want to set them a good example now for that role. But whatever they decide they want to do, we want them to be equipped to learn and apply themselves to the situation at hand. 
        This year, homeschooling has changed for us even more, with product reviews. As part the TOS Homeschool Crew, we are receiving products to try that are opening up even more new paths for us. I’ve always been an avid reader, and since beginning this homeschooling journey, have enjoyed learning about curriculum opportunities. My favorite catalogs have been Timberdoodle, Library and Ed, and CBD which together possibly cover more than half of the options out there. And we have ordered from quite a few that aren’t listed in those- Sonlight, ABEKA, just to give you an idea. Because of the Crew experience, this year has been extremely eye-opening about online options. There are so many valuable e-books and online programs, and this opportunity will undoubtedly just increase as our kids grow.
        Some of our best learning happens while we are just doing things that need to be done. I love watching my 5 year old son sit down beside his dad, with his own set of tools, imitating Mitch. This doesn’t always turn out ideally (like when he laid in an ant bed under his toy tractor while copying Daddy,) but more often than not, Joseph can share something he has learned. Emily is picking up fractions in the kitchen. I don’t tell her “come do math with me.” She enjoys cooking, so while we are preparing a dish I’ll ask her things like, “if we double the recipe, how much of that ingredient would we need?”
        We re-arranged again this week. The girls don’t typically do a lot of work at their desks, so I gave one to my Mom and Joseph now has the other one. He sits at it for handwriting.  The girls have each claimed a side of the table we moved to the front of the living room (the extra dining room table Emily won at a cooking show.) They have crates which they store under the table for their current books and notebooks. Other subjects are done all over the house, and when the weather is a bit warmer I prefer taking the books outside. We frequently re-evaluate. If something doesn’t work now, it may later. I can relate to that comment of one homeschooling mom who said that surely all of the full bookshelves help insulate the house. 
        We have tweaked our plan again. Subject to change, we are now using the following:
12 years old daughter:
She enjoys reading; science and math are her favorite subjects. 
Math- Mathletics and Teaching Textbooks “Some of it is too easy, so if I can just skip that part…”she recently asked. Um, let me think about that- yes. 
Science- Physics, Chemistry, and Biology from Bright Ideas Press (She completed Apologia Botany.)
History- Mystery of History
Language Arts- SOS, Novelist club and editing NaNoWriMo novel
Health- Nutrition 101, Sue Gregg Whole Foods 

10 year old daughter:
Language- All About Spelling, Novelist club and editing NaNoWriMo novel. Although we started out with ABEKA’s Language Arts program and she still enjoys that, the practical things work well with Emily. When she reads to me, I have her write the words she stumbles over or doesn’t recognize, and then later she looks them up in the dictionary. 
Bible- we are all still enjoying the Grapevine Old Testament study
Math- Mathletics, Quarter mile math, and Teaching Textbooks
Science- ABeka, Bright Ideas Press Chemistry
Health- Nutrition 101, Sue Gregg Whole Foods
History- Mystery of History

5 year old son
Handwriting- This is to be continued, although after mastering all 26 letters he sincerely shared with me "I can't do it anymore. I did all of it."
Math- Ruth Beechick’s advice, Mathletics, and Quarter mile math (he asks for this one)
For history and science he listens to the read-aloud portions of many lessons as I do them with the girls, and I give him an appropriate activity.
Bible- He listens as we read and memorizes Scripture verses with us. I found some great color sheets from Rod and Staff at the CHEF convention last spring, one verse beautifully written per page. Joseph also asks for the Grapevine Old Testament Study, he enjoys drawing. 
Phonics- Rocket Phonics
All about Spelling

        Including all of the extra things, (typing, music lessons once a week, Spanish classes with the homeschool group, Keepers at home for the girls, library, field trips, ministry opportunities…) this is a pretty comprehensive plan.
        Reviews have definitely shaped our plan, and in quite a few subjects changed our plans. Dollar Homeschooling, one of my newest reviews is an entire K-12 curriculum as it was taught in the 1800’s. I am enjoying reading through it and incorporating parts of it. Other current reviews include: Mathscore, Christian Keyboarding, Saxon online, ZeeZok penmanship, and Apologia

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