As you may (or may not) know, homeschooling is something I always knew we would do with our kids. For the first several years, however, I didn’t know how to do it well. Sure, my kids learned how to read and what a noun was and the basic concepts of mathematics. But they learned all of that stuff in what was probably the driest way possible: from workbooks. During Munchkin’s Kindergarten year, which was Seahawk’s 2nd grade year, they each had 5 workbooks, and we did all five every. single. day. (Don’t even get me started on Seahawk’s early years.) I’d heard all about these homeschool kids who loved school, were ahead of their peers in pretty much every subject, and didn’t “do school” at home. But I didn’t know how to make that happen. So we bought the workbooks for $9.95 apiece. And they got the job done.
But none of us was enjoying the process.
Last summer, leading into this school year, I spent some time online doing research and found a great resource that provided an awesome curriculum outline for homeschooling in the Charlotte Mason method, Ambleside Online. I wrote about it in my Homeschool Prep post last August, and we faithfully used that program until January of this year, and used it off and on from January to June.
In November, I was accepted as a part of Schoolhouse Review Crew, and that has opened up countless opportunities for the boys that we a) wouldn’t know about otherwise and b) might not be able to afford to give them. Since I got that gig, we’ve split our time between Ambleside and doing review products.
Here’s what we accomplished this school year:
- We read the New Testament in its entirety.
- We read most of The Burgess Animal Book for Children. (We’ll finish that either this summer or next school year.) We looked at pictures of the animals we learned about on Wikipedia.
- We read Understood Betsy aloud together.
- We read 40-something chapters of An Island Story: A History of England for Girls and Boys. To go along with this, Will watched a British history documentary that we got on DVD from the library with the boys (he’s a huge fan of British history).
- We read kid-friendly versions of Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice and Romeo and Juliet.
- The boys read Tree in the Trail by Holling C. Holling.
- We went on several nature walks.
- We learned/are learning French with Mango Languages.
- The boys learned all kinds of things in the “science” world from Science4Us.com including but not limited to: Earth and Space, Physical Science, and Life Science.
- Seahawk worked on his spelling skills with Spelling You See. He still has a lot of work ahead of him, but he’s getting there.
- We learned about several different kinds of sea creatures and where some of our produce comes from with Curiosity Quest DVDs.
- We replaced our math workbooks with a similar-but-different program, CTC Math.
- Munchkin learned to write in cursive, and just as importantly, to read it.
- We learned why and how to be good stewards of what God has given us.
- We read Little House in the Big Woods and did a study on it. We are currently about a third of the way through Farmer Boy.
- We read Around the World in Eighty Days.
- The boys mastered their multiplication tables with Learning Wrap-Ups.
- The boys read The Whipping Boy and did a unit study on it.
- We did a unit study on Sound.
Whew! We had a productive school year!
Normally we take the summers off, but this year we’re taking it easy instead of off.
- They’ll keep their writing chops up by doing one report per week on a different sport. Seahawk is starting with basketball (of course!), and Munchkin has chosen badminton.
- They’re earning prizes for reading through the library’s summer reading program.
- They’re going to keep their math and language arts skills sharp with Learning Wrap-Ups and Learning Palettes.
- We will continue our study of French.