Friday, January 4, 2013

How do I do it? Generally Speaking of course.


When I was researching how I was going to homeschool (I'm a nurse not a teacher) One of my desires  was to really see a "normal" families schedule and exactly what that looked like. I had a few friends that homeschooled but they all had odd schedules and didn't work outside the home. I realize now each day can be SO different but here is generally how our homeschooling week/day/hours look like.(If I don't have special meetings for AACNS, sick kid/parent, a fun traveling field trip, or general mama fatigue.)
We did take a 2 week break for Christmas/New Year 2012.

 Our Family Life:


  • Parents week: Dad works M-F leaves the house at 7:30am and gets home approx. 6:30pm. He can have cub scout meetings or den meetings to take the boys to some weeks. Mom works Friday nights, Saturday, and Sunday days.  I usually have an evening meeting or fun night out once/twice during the week. I try and get up and out of the house to workout at 5:30 or 6 am- it really does improve my day. 
  • Kids week: The little one is attending preschool at  All Austin Cooperative Nursery School M-F 8:30am-12:30pm on T/Th he stays till 2pm.  I love the community. We have been attending the school since the middle boy was 3. I have been on the board of directors for 4 of those years and will miss everyone when the school year is over in May. 
  • The almost 8 year old has piano lessons on Mondays and a music theory class just before lessons. He is there for 1 1/2 hrs. He participates in a monthly homeschool science class at Austin Nature and Science Center (I walk the Lady Bird Lake trail while he is there)  and we are involved in a homeschool co-op on Thursday afternoons at the YMCA which includes meeting for lunch, two 50 min. classes, and an hour of free swim time or gym time. About 20 families ages infant to teen.
  • The big kid- I'll call him Bear- lives with us and works. He is trying to figure out his life and helps around the house, watches the boys for me often, and as the younger boys see it "helps with games, playing swords and makes us mac-n-trees". He is a much needed link in my circle of family life. 

Monday- Thursday Mornings: (with the almost 8 year old-who is extremly patient and sweet)
7:30- breakfast, getting ready for the day
8:15-8:45 drop off the little one at school and run any quick errands (return library books, bank, quick groceries) When we get back home I will read email, make another cup of coffee or peruse the web while the boy plays.
9:50am- the first bell rings (not literally- I usually call to him "Class will start in 10 minutes!")
10:00-10:20  Life of Fred Series- we are currently on Edgewood and moving through quickly, this boy enjoys math tremendously! The series is fun, story based, practical and prepares him for more advanced math. He started the series with a complete understanding of addition/subtraction and a good understanding of multiplication/division. He was tested and accepted into the gifted math program in 1st grade at public school and feels like this is his best subject.
10:20-10:45 First Language Lessons- We are just completing 2nd grade (next week we will do all the review work and then start 3rd grade)  and I appreciate how comprehensive the lessons are since I am a math/science gal. We can finish several lessons a day or only do one and the enhancement lessons help make for a thorough exercise that the boy is able to- and more importantly wants to tackle most days. He had a good understanding of general capitalization, and punctuation going in (they wrote a TON in 1st grade) but they didn't completely explain grammar in public school and I found that having him learn the fundamentals has helped him focus on his writing (and hopefully make it easier to learn a new language)  as opposed to just throwing words down on the paper to "fill it up". For us its quality over quantity when it come to writing.
10:45-11:00 Writing With Ease- This has been tricky, we love the parts of books that are used in each lesson (90% of the time we add the book to our "Must Read" list) It is somewhat repetitive for him and I find myself using it more as a reading comprehension exercises but do find the copy-work/listening skills make for a great way to review capitalization, punctuation, handwriting, and grammar.
11:00-11:25 Story of the World- Ancient Civilizations- This is another highlight for the boy, he loves history. The map work, craft projects, short 5-10min videos are such great opportunities to learn more about our entire world. We could spend hours doing this but usually have to make ourselves stop to move on to other subjects. I enjoy learning along with him because I was never interested or had the opportunity to learn history in a way that made sense to me. This timeline based approach is fascinating and helps put it all into perspective- for me that is.
11:25-11:35 Handwriting Without Tears- Cursive- We began this book half-way through this last semester and have found that cursive is more intuitive than print. The kid has some troubles with fine motor skills so we just keep practicing and learning.
11:35-11:45 Spellwell Aa- We just added this into our mix mid-semester as well. I did a TON of research on spelling curriculum- mainly because the boy didn't need to start at the beginning of a spelling curriculum but I did feel he needed the spelling rules review and enhanced vocabulary. This is a great series for us. Its fun and simple and if the boy misses 2 or less on the pre-test we skip the homework and move on to the next lesson. We moved through book A (2nd grade) quickly and will move through Aa at whatever speed feels right. It will be perfect for the little one after he completes the Explode the Code series. (see below)
12noon- we are usually done and at this point decide if we want to do a fun craft, art, reading for fun, practice piano, or play with toys, sometime just for a bit before we pick up the little one. On Tues. we usually go to the library and run longer errands in the morning (Costco/Wheatsville/Target) so we start school later and end later on those days we eat lunch and play until pickup time. On Mondays we have piano and on Thursday afternoons co-op. Friday is spelling test and history test day then play based learning i.e. science project, art/crafts, Lego building or just open playtime (parks,playdates,movies).
We do plan on learning both Spanish and Latin and have dabbled a little with both but due to our travel time this year and co-op board commitments (drop off takes time/short meetings)  I have set it aside for next year. We started out with Oak Meadow curriculum- it's a whole cirriculum in one- we loved their educational philosophy- following the childs natural development but I have found it lacking in our needs since the boy attend a high achieving academic kinder and 1st grade public school. I would love for it to have made been our only cirriculum but still have not found a place for it……yet?
     We take a long break after eating lunch and play till about 2:30pm- when the little one wants to read or "do school"- He started with Handwriting Without Tears- My First School Book and worked through that in two weeks. We then started Letters and Number for Me and feel like we will work through this quickly and move on to My Printing Book. We also began the Explode the Code- Get Ready for the Code series. Our school time together right now is about 45min. including reading time. He is self motivated like his brother and has the competitive drive that keeps him focused to be "just like brother". He is reading level 1 books and has a great start as a successful hardworking scholar (lol).
 I am so lucky to have such healthy, motivated and adorable students!