July 23, 2015

i heart school books

A friend and I went to a homeschool curriculum fair last week. LOVE. I was in homeschool heaven. There were books everywhere. Shelves of science materials. A whole section of things to dissect. Art supplies. History books. Everything you would ever need in one room.

I really could have used a million dollars. 

We're now all ready for the coming school year! We're super excited [read: Mama is super excited]! 

I get asked a lot about homeschooling in the mission field, and homeschooling in general, so I thought I'd share how we homeschool and what we use. 

Our homeschool theory: 
Our school is totally kid-led. Because my kids are so young, we can do school... or not. It's OK. Sometimes we do school everyday for weeks, other times we don't have school for weeks. Just because we're not sitting down, doesn't mean there's not learning going on! 

I try to keep homeschool very simple, lots of breaks, lots of variety. We do school outside, at the kitchen table, on my bed, on the sofa, or on the floor. I look for things that will teach more than one skill at a time. I avoid worksheets as much as possible. We do have one workbook and it's super fun and Millie asks to work in it all the time (it's her Express Reader workbook - more about that in a minute). 

Our school is Montessori-inspired with Waldorf undertones. That means, to us, as much hand-on, practical learning as possible with as much nature as possible. 

Here's what I expect from my kids - I expect them to be kind in everything with everyone. That's tops for me. Don't want to do math? Who cares. Don't want to share? Doesn't fly in this house. If my children learn nothing other than to be kind, I'll count that as a win.

Here's what homeschool looks like in a typical day:
We start with worship. Usually that's me reading a Jesus story to them. After that, we read our FIAR book, see what's in the basket, and then head to the table or to the shelves. I try to do some kind of art everyday, something in nature/science, and we read a lot. We usually do school for about 2-3 hours per day, although they often will revisit shelf work throughout the day. 

What we use:
This is the sweetest literature-based program ever made. You pick a book from the list, read it five days in a row, and spend the week learning all about elements from the book. History, art, science, and lots more all in one. We actually mix FIAR volumes 1-3 and BFIAR (Before FIAR, the preschool version).. This has a Christian Supplement with it that helps tie the principles in these stories to scripture, which is really neat. Both Millie and Sam do this

Millie loves, loves, LOVES this. She asks to do this more than any other subject. Express Readers is our reading and phonics program. It's new, last year was the first year it was on the market. I found it at a homeschool convention in Portland and fell in love. Here's why - it totally fits our hands-on approach. It comes with tons of games (several can be used more than one way) and things they can physically hold and see. It is so well though out and put together, which makes it super easy to use. Can't say enough about how much we love Express Readers! We started Millie with this last year for kinder, Sam will start it not this year, but next.
Coupon Code for 15% off: ISMERT

This was our big purchase this year at the homeschool fair. It will be delivered on Monday! Even though we haven't used it yet/it's not in the house yet, I'm pretty sure we'll love it. It's Montessori-style learning and very hands-on and practical. I'll report back once we're into it a few months. I bought first and second grade for Millie (Sam will use in a couple years). 

Other math items we use: geoboards, base 10 set, and Cuisenaire Rods, math wraps, and lot of games.

Millie did one of these in her homeschool co-op class last spring and really liked it - in fact she still talks about it. I printed the Easter study out and we did some of it, but it was just a little bit much for her. I have several of these studies and I plan on weaving them throughout this next year. They are very well done and Millie really thinks they're neat. 

We have a set of these wonderful science books. They are arranged topically, which I really like, and we plan on going through them more than once over the next several years. The books are K-6, so younger ones won't get as much out of it as the older ones, so that's why we will go through them more than once. We have Anatomy, Astronomy, Botany, Swimming Creatures, Flying Creatures, and Land Animals. 
These are creation-based with scripture throughout. 

Other science items we use: our microscope is often used daily! I was given a set of Christian Liberty Nature Readers that we'll be reading through also. 

These are some books I got at the homeschool fair. "Who was Mother Teresa?" "Who Was Neil Armstrong?" They are history stories for young ones. Millie will be able to read them on her own before long, but we'll likely read them all together this year as our history. I picked stories of 6 men and 6 women that will be very interesting to read about! 

Our homeschool is book-heavy because I love reading! I want my kids to love reading too! Right now we're reading through the Little House on the Prairie series. Stories are much fun and portable! And, it's good memories/bonding time.

Also, I want to add, we don't do all this stuff everyday or even every week. The things we do the most are Express Readers (because, LOVE), and science.

If you homeschool, or used to homeschool, what was your favorite part?


Unknown said...

We LOVE apologia science!! And I like the Who was books too! Another series of books that are really fun about history are called Childhood of Famous Americans. I loved them as a kid and Tessa loves them now too!
My favorite part of homeschooling is that it's flexible! I can take off and do whatever I want when I want to!

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