Our 5th Year Homeschooling: Changing It Up, Again! (Our Beginning Of The Year Curriculum)

I cannot believe that this is our fifth year homeschooling.  Alex is beginning 3rd grade, Ava 1st, and Audrey recently demanded to “start doing ‘stool’ right now!”.   Our homeschool journey has been amazing.  We have discovered what we like and what we don’t like as well as what works for us and what doesn’t work in regards to home education.

We began our homeschooling journey four years ago by doing ‘school at home’, followed by deschooling and eventually unschooling, I even considered Classical education.  I now find myself here.  Where is here?  Well, if at this very minute I had to label our homeschool style it would be Eclectic.

Eclectic Homeschooling, as its name suggests, is basically a hodge-podge of several different styles of learning. Sometimes referred to as “Relaxed Homeschooling”, the Eclectic Homeschool parent forms his/her own homeschool approach from a variety of sources in the way of ideas, curriculum, and methodology.         – Pioneer Woman

I love this image.   Actually, several of the images fit our family.  We tend to sleep in until 8ish, we have Disney weekday annual passes, and the bookcases are quickly taking over our home (where do you fit in?).

Homeschool

 

It has taken me four years to feel comfortable in my homeschooling skin and I still have the occasional homeschool mama freakout.  I find myself relaxing more and more and really enjoying this time with my family.   I am so happy when my kids express their interests and we discover and learn together, it truly is a beautiful thing and I call it learning with love.

My comfort zone this year is a more structured learning environment than we had in the past.  Don’t worry, not this structured!

Homeschool Mom

The last few years we have had minimal structure so adding structure is proving challenging….to me!   Having three kids in the ‘learning mix’ and a husband who travels for extended periods of time has resulted in a mama who sometimes feels overwhelmed and simply needs a plan!  So right here, right now I am a homeschooling mama with a planner (although there are no dates on said planner) and I am very excited about this upcoming year and the many many years that will follow learning as a family with love.

So let’s get down to the how and what we hope to learn this year.  I have a pretty basic plan (actually I consider it very structured but have found that it really isn’t to most people)  for what we hope to learn and  discover this year.  I have also left plenty of free time for us to follow any individual interests that may (and certainly will!) pop up and lots and lots of time for play.

For now this is what is on our upcoming homeschool path looks like…..

History

This year we are discovering American History.  This decision is due to Alex’s extreme interest in history, currently American History.  I am piecing this study together in units which will span approximately 6 weeks each  (you can look at my first 6 week ‘plan’ here).

We will read the A History Of US series by Joy Hakim as our ‘text’.  It is an 11 volume series that we are really loving.

My kids love History Pockets so we will be using these to help create our history notebooks.  They really enjoy having a finished product to showcase what they have learned; therefore, lapbooks and notebooks are used frequently in our home learning.

image credit:  http://journalofmommak.blogspot.com/
image credit: http://journalofmommak.blogspot.com/

I recently discovered the American Adventure book series.  This is a  44 chapter book series that follows generations of one family from the Mayflower through WWII.  I know that Alex will love it!

Science

Ava love animals, she aspires to be a veterinarian in the future.  Ava’s interests led us to focus on Biology this year.  I decided to purchase Elemental Science Biology because it can fit all 3 of my kids (seriously).  Elemental Science has a workbook that Alex can record science experiments findings and new information, lapbook pages for Ava, and coloring pages for Audrey. Elemental Science makes this structure thing easy for me!

However, Science is one of those subjects that random interests pop up from a kid and we hop over to another topic such as clouds, electricity, or tornado’s.  I am more than happy to follow those individual interests and investigate and learn all that we can about them.  That is what homeschooling is all about, right?!?

Language Arts

We read a lot.  Seriously a lot.  We currently have 84 books checked out from our local library and we will read them all.  I researched Learning Language Arts Through Literature and am very excited to try it out.  In this program you actually read entire books, not just excerpts.  I pick and choose the activities that we will work on in the activity book.  So far so good, we are really enjoying it.

Handwriting

My kids really love the Draw Write Now series.  We skip the handwriting section in Learning Language Arts Through Literature and are working through these books instead.   I am also thrilled to find that certain Draw Write Now books that correspond with our history and science topics, SCORE!

Alex is also teaching himself cursive this year.

Spelling

We are (re)introducing spelling into our home learning, we tried before and we gave up.  I notice that Alex reads wonderfully but tends to struggle with spelling so I felt that a spelling program would be beneficial.    Alex and Ava are trying out Spelling Workout this year, I don’t love it or not love it so we will see how it goes (PLEASE comment if you use a spelling program that you love!).

Math

We will continue to use Horizons Math, this has been a constant on our journey.   Horizons Math uses spiral learning not mastery and I feel that this keeps Alex from being bored.

So, for right now that is our learning agenda for the next year – stay tuned to see if we stick with it or change it up!

Care to share what and how you learn in your home?  Please, comment below!

 

 

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Affiliate Disclosure: I am grateful to share our life experiences in this space.  I want to let you know that this post includes affiliate links, please know that when you click links and purchase items, in most (not all) cases I will receive a referral commission (thank you, thank you, thank you). Your support in purchasing through these links helps to create our need for more bookcases! Thank you! 🙂

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