our homeschool method, for becky

June 12, 2012 at 07:49 3 comments

a few notes before we get to it:

1) i’m sorry.  sorry that i haven’t been physically writing all of the blog posts that i’ve written mentally.  not sorry that i’ve been putting other things before the blog though!

2) things i’ve been putting before the blog:  school, school, school, SCHOOL.

we took a lot of time off in the winter, so we’ve been doing double-days for the last 4 weeks (at least!) to get done in time for a decent summer vacation.

with that in mind, becky, i’m writing this for you because you wanted to see our system, but TOMORROW IS THE LAST DAY OF SCHOOL!!!  woot!  we were hoping to be done by the end of june, and the kids have been working so hard, that we’ll be done way ahead of schedule!

forgive me for the iPhone photos!  i had to take the pics quickly while i still had stuff to take photos of!


totally have strongbad singing “the system, is down” in my head now!


1) the curriculum.  i’ll put links for what i use at the end of the post, but i wanted to say that the curriculum you choose can make or break your homeschool experience.  we almost broke.  the experience of learning that lesson saved us though.  i always recommend Cathy Duffy’s book “100 Top Picks for Homeschooling Curriculum” to find out what will work best with your kids’ learning style, and your teaching style.

2) method. again, experience is the only thing that can teach you what’s best for your family, but here’s how we do it.

i keep a binder with about 10 weeks of curriculum schedules sorted and divided with labels.  this year anne’s in SK, eli’s in grade 2, and this is the best way for me to combine their days so i could teach them separately but at the same time.  i try to keep it basic: history/geog (core), language arts, reading, and science.  the math doesn’t require a schedule, since we go through the books unit by unit, as the kids develop proficiency.

each morning (or the night before) i go through the binder, and pull out the books required for the day’s work.  i picked up these cheap-o file folders at staples, and although they’re pretty beat up now, they’ve been a great help throughout this year.  each kid’s file rack is a visual overview of what they have to do each day.
i let the kids work though the folders, choosing the subject that they’d like to do next.  as they finish a subject, they put the books and work on my desk, and rejoice that they can see the work in their folders shrinking.  i also throw their piano books in to make sure they practice every day.  sneaky!

ps: we just use the dining room table & couch to do school.  i used to have a designated classroom, but i really prefer having school happen in the actual living space of our house, instead of contained to a room.

the books go back on the shelf until the next day, and written work gets stored in these neat zip-up binder pouches that i found at costco.  they also serve as great dividers in my school binder, to separate each week in the schedule.

that’s basically it!  prep. work. organize.  do it all again the next day.  except soon it’ll be prep. work. HAPPY DANCE!!!  wahoo!  totally love this time of the year!!!

curriculum details:

  • reading/history/geography/language arts/science: SONLIGHT.
    the expense of it put me off for a loooooong time, during which i spend a ton of extra money on curriculum that didn’t work for us.  so basically i spent more on not-sonlight, before i learned to just bite the bullet and buy what would work.  no regrets.  it can be a little overwhelming to look at the site because there’s so much stuff, but they have some great information sifting tools here.
  • math: MATH-U-SEE.
    i like canadian math.  i tried Horizons math, but it was just too irrelevant for the awesome country that we live in.  math-u-see is a great tool for teaching math, and the site also has worksheet generators, and extra drill pages that you can print out if your child needs a bit more practice on a particular unit.
  • writing:
    i tried Handwriting Without Tears.  i’ve used it for a couple of years now, but i feel like letter practice is pretty mundane.  once the basic letter shapes are learned, the best tool is simply practice.  my kids keep journals.
    anne is still at a stage where she needs help writing neatly, and i found this tool on pintrest that has totally replaced any handwriting curriculum that i’ve invested in in the past.

i know there are a lot of homeschoolers out there!  i’d love to hear what system works for you and your family.  every year of homeschooling builds on the previous year’s experience, so give me your experience!


Entry filed under: homeschool.

breakfast Minion problems

3 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Julie  |  June 12, 2012 at 09:16

    I still don’t know how you homeschool! But I love your first sentence about apologizing for the stuff you haven’t written, but not for the stuff you did instead (paraphrase!!). That sums up my blogging perfectly!

  • 2. lifelibertyeducation  |  June 12, 2012 at 16:00

    My first year I bought simple workbooks at Barnes and nobles and we read books. The second year I started buying “proper ” curriculum which never fit our family style. After buying yet another curriculum that doesn’t fit us I have changed the plan. Next year we will read books, do experiments, and have a math workbook each. Essentially what worked the first year but I panicked was not enough. Not only will this be cost effective but it is also less stress.

    • 3. bononers  |  June 14, 2012 at 11:22

      EXACTLY! “panicking about it not being enough” got me too! Definitely took me a while to find the system that worked for us. Thanks for your comment!


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