Around this time every year, when our motivation for homeschooling begins to fizzle, I look back over the year to evaluate our success in our current homeschooling plan. I look at the year, without any biases, to see what worked, what needs tweaking and what needs to be scrapped altogether.
Since this year was the first official year of homeschooling for Baby Honeybee, we had a little more structure than the previous years when her learning was led by her interests. For Kindergarten, I had a plan that was inspired by Charlotte Mason. It was a good framework, but has evolved through the months to look slightly different from what I had envisioned.
We have not finished reading all the books I had on our original book list. We did finish the first book in the Little House series and made this lap book. The books on our list that we don’t finish this year, will roll over to next year’s list, as they are classics and are worth the time and effort to read.
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The dry-erase handwriting binder shown in this previous post, is utilized often and has been helpful to her to recognize and write her letters and numbers. Her enthusiasm has waned on the handwriting binder, so she mostly practices by writing letters to us and by making her own books in which she is the author and illustrator. We have gone through 3 trays of watercolors and our stapler has gotten quite a workout.
We continue to enjoy The Berenstain Bears Big Book of Science and Nature and have many nature hikes under our belts.
Calendar practice is ongoing with her Sofia the First calendar she received at Christmas. Thanks, Santa. We will continue to work on telling time using digital and analog clocks. She understands the concept, but the wall clock is still blowing her mind.
We have accomplished much more from our plan, but it’s nearing Spring and my brain is scrambled from having four children all in various stages of life, so I’ll move along to the curriculum plan for Baby Honeybee’s first grade year beginning in the Fall. It’s just a plan and sometimes plans change, but without a plan I’m drowning in the days, one day sliding into another.
Our goals for our homeschool next year will continue in the spirit of Charlotte Mason’s teachings. My girls are kinetic learners and do best when they are involved in the learning process with all senses engaged. A Charlotte Mason education teaches the whole child by creating an atmosphere of learning.
Below is the framework for our Charlotte Mason homeschool:
Easy Peasy All-in-One Homeschool has all the subjects in one place. The menu is easy to navigate and the year is broken down into daily work. Reading, spelling, math are all addressed in Level 1. There are many other subjects such as, music, art, history and science. Many subjects are for older children, so there is something for everyone. We will use this as the main source for keeping us on track. I need a schedule!
The drawback to online school, for me, is the amount of screen time it involves. Since there are so many excellent teaching resource available, I plan on using other methods in keeping with my little kinetic learner. Having school online is convenient, but Baby Honeybee doesn’t sit still for long and I prefer to minimize screen time at her young age.
Language Arts encompasses grammar, spelling and handwriting. Passages from great literature will be copied to practice handwriting and to reinforce spelling. Another great resource are these Read! Build! Write! mats for hands-on word building.
For more writing practice, I plan on making my own handwriting practice worksheets.
For Math, I’m leaning toward Life of Fred – Apples. Life of Fred has been a sanity-saver for my older daughter. If you’re not familiar with the Life of Fred series, it reads like a book. Instead of math drills and worksheets that turn innocent children into math-haters, Fred invites you into his life to solve his problems using critical thinking skills. The real-life application is learned at he same time as the concept. It’s genius, really. I love Fred and I don’t care who knows it!
Reading: Life of Fred has a new Beginning Reader Series that I am considering. The math book can also be counted as reading, but after looking at the sample pages, I can see a benefit to using these as well. We will continue to add books to our reading list and enjoy more classics. I’m eager to read The Adventures of Alice in Wonderland to my girls, following it with a Mad Hatter tea party, of course!
Social Studies: Little Passports is a monthly subscription service that brings the world to you. Every month, your child receives a new adventure kit that includes an activity book, mini landmark souvenirs, and stickers, just to name a few. You can pay by the month, or get a discounted rate for paying for an entire year up front. I plan on using Little Passports as the center of our unit studies each month.
In our state, teaching good citizenship is a requirement for homeschoolers. There are many ways in which this can be taught and it depends on the age and maturity of the child.
Building Christian Character is one way we will teach good citizenship. Also, we are just beginning Raising Lil’ Rockstars through the Bible A-Z and Baby Honeybee is enjoying the activities. I was encouraged to see her looking inward and seeing the ways in which she doesn’t show Christian behavior. I’m hopeful this will help her think before she launches into a eardrum-splitting tantrum for not getting her way. It’s hard growing up.
Lastly, I will be spending more time in the kitchen cooking with kids. Yay me! The older kids appreciate good food and know the importance of being able to feed themselves. Baby Honeybee is such a picky eater, partially due to food allergies, that I’m hopeful she will try new foods if she has a hand in making the dish. I plan on sharing our journey as we attempt to instill healthy eating habits in our children.
I’m always curious how other homeschooling parents approach the school year. What is your homeschool like? Do you plan well in advance? Do you wing it, or do you fall somewhere in between?
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