Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A look back, this year of Homeschooling

I was drinking my coffee this morning scratching my head in amazement. Here we are at the first full week of June,....we're in June already! June, for our family typically means another school year has gone by.
Another fast-year-of-school behind us.
How can it be?
It feels as though yesterday we were getting acclimated with a new set of curriculum books....
Setting new expectations....
Setting fresh goals....
Setting the stage for yet another school year.
If you're recently visiting and not aware, I am a homeschooling Mom {wow, sometimes I need to remind myself ....I am a homeschooling Mom!}. I homeschool our four children and have been for about four years now. It often boggles my mind to think that our family has been homeschooling that long.
I love our kids....I really love our kids....I say it again....I love our kids!!
We have had our children in the public school system before. Yes for a while we "wore the hat and bought the t-shirt" of traditional public schooling. Then we {initially my husband} felt the calling to homeschool them. {{Let me make mention here, we're not against public schooling or some of what it has to offer, it just isn't what we see as the best fit for our family and the standards we feel are best for our children}}.
Sharing a personal instance here, often times when I would drop our children off to public school I found myself wanting to cry. At first I thought it was just that "separation-adjustment stage" that Mothers go through. Nope. Not with me. I missed my children. They were so young, and I missed them when they were away from me that long during the day. Not realizing at the time as I do now, I truly believe the Lord was "setting the stage" for me to have the desire to homeschool. I enjoy being with my kids throughout the day. I enjoy being an intimate part of their education. I cherish being able to see how they grow, how they change, how they stretch themselves academically. It burdens my heart to hear other Mothers dread the summer months when their children are home. My heart weighs heavy hearing Mothers anticipate their children going back to school from the summer, when their children will be "out-of-their-hair". Please don't be under the assumption that our homeschool is all straight A's and problem free schooling. Believe me when I mention there are times when I want to throw in the towel. There are times when I wonder if this is worth it. Times like these are when my greatest support of all {my husband} encourages me, reminding me that this is what's best for our children. Reminding me that I am the one who knows my children, their needs and their learning style better than anyone else-what a God-given role, AND responsibility for me. My husband believes in me and that keeps me putting one foot in front of the other : )
Wrapping up the school year....here are pictures of the curriculum we used this passed year as well as pictures of curriculum to be used throughout the summer.
We strive to start each day with family devotions. If not as a family, then at least personal Bible study time.

Everyday their daily school work is written down {by me} in their personal homework journals. This sets the stage and expectations of the day. Sometimes I have these written out in a week advance, typically though on a daily basis due to daily assignments they may need to correct before going on to the next lesson.
Here we have our History studies. The book on the far left is our main history book: The History of our United States from Abeka which is do to be completed this week-yay! The other books are ones bought at local book stores {Barnes&Noble/Schulers} which the children have wanted to read throughout the year. One thing we love, when our children ask {and they do often!!} for us to buy them books!! How can we say no to that?! Love it!!
This is our Science selection. We finished our main Science book: Understanding God's World from Abeka early in the year. We then moved to studying Health. Again the other books are ones the children asked for during visits at local bookstores. I love learning with them!!
This is some of our son Daniel's curriculum. He is finishing up fourth grade. He leaps into fifth grade having mastered certain subjects while still improving in others. That's truly a special incentive to homeschooling; they learn at their pace. If they're not ready for advanced subjects, there isn't the immediate need to move forward to keep up with the majority of the class. Same as if they're excelling in a subject and need to be advanced, we have that freedom as well. Nothing to hold us up.
This is our son Brad's Literature and English curriculums. We were pleased with the Literature curriculum. He seems to really enjoy the stories, poems and novels in there, however this English curriculum wasn't to our fancy. It doesn't seem to build principle upon principle which seems helpful for our benefit. Thank goodness English is one of my husband's strong areas! Joe really enjoys coming alongside Brad and instructing him in areas where I am weak at....{English-the ins and outs of all the grammar rules....whew!}.
We move to Brad's Math which comes from Bob Jones University. We are very pleased with this years choice of Math for him. Math is a very strong area for Brad {he doesn't think so but it is} and this kept him at a very good pace, yet challenging him in just the right areas. I love Math and I totally enjoy going through this with him! Him and I are like-minded in Math. This is a subject we plan to continue throughout summer. If anyone ever asks you why we need to learn Math {or any subject} in school, tell them you need to learn it in case you have to teach your children someday : )
These are poetry books which came very useful as we introduced poetry to the children. It was such a rich blessing to hear the poems they created on their own. I am truly blessed!! {thanks Cody for these books!!}
Additional reading material our children enjoyed this year: Oliver Twist, Black Beauty, Sherlock Holmes, Tom Sawyer, Huckleberry Finn, James and the Giant Peach, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Common Sense Business for kids-just in case they want to own their own business someday! More reading material the kids thoroughly enjoyed. These favorites personally picked out by the children themselves: Titanic, The story of Anne Frank, Theodore Roosevelt, Presidents of the United States, John F. Kennedy a book about the Human Heart and a really big favorite-Abraham Lincoln.
Additional essential supplies. Each of the boys had their own Dictionary and Thesaurus which is helpful when they are both assigned sentences and definitions. Other flash card facts were fun to explore as well.
Here is Emmy's complete curriculum. Some subjects she finished, others she has yet to master. We plan to continue traveling through areas needing attention this summer. She enjoys Art and Writing. She also seems to grasp and flow through Math well.
Here's a glance at my students-my children hard at work. It brings me great joy to see such harmony in the home. Learning, growing, changing and maturing together in the family dynamic. I am blessed!!
Here is Brad mastering his Math....it's a fun challenge.
Daniel studying Health. Daniel is so sharp in History and Science. He thrives on these subjects. It helps that he enjoys reading. If he was given the opportunity, he would read History all day long. Our oldest girl Emmy, completing her Phonics.
Bradley being a "seventh-grade-buddy" to Emmy, helping her with reading. Not only does this help Emmy's reading skills, it provides Brad the opportunity to sharpen his leadership skills through patience and understanding. He is a great leader in many many ways! There are definite reasons why God made Brad the oldest!! : )
These are a few tools that have tremendously aided me in the adventure of Homeschooling. The recent book I'm thankful to have picked up is Lies Homeschooling Moms Believe. It helps me in the area of self-doubt, reassuring me that this is so worth it and to continue believing in God, my children and in myself. It causes me to be aware that the enemy is trying to steer me away from God's plan. I get the needed encouragement from these tools.
Yes, you are seeing right....these are board games. These are educational games we incorporate into our studies. We laugh, and often times even cry because we're laughing so hard and we encourage one another through fun learning. It's amazing what can be taught and learned through educational games like these. It was through playing "Are you smarter than a fifth grader?" that we learned that Male Sea-horses give birth. Playing games like these lead us into exploring and studying subjects we never thought of before. Learning isn't only from 8:00 am-4:00 pm. Often times learning is when you least expect to learn something.
Here are our Summer Bridge books. These books are designed to fill in the summer gap of no schooling. We won't do our traditional every day school day work through summer, instead we will be traveling through these books which is set up to allow the children to have about three worksheet every other day. I plan to incorporate summer reading into the summer schedule as well as continuing in their Math books.
Their worksheets will include small assignments on key subjects from Math to Science to English and History/Geography. Summer Bridge books are geared to keep their minds active and sharp!!
It has been a fun, exciting and rewarding school year. It has its challenges but the rewards are so much bigger. With the Lord's help and guidance, I look forward to the upcoming school year having the privilege once again to teach and train my children according to the instruction of the Lord.

Even if you're unable to comment, thanks for visiting!! : )


  1. Wow! Your homeschool looks wonderful! Can I come? :)

  2. I agree. It brings me to tears to hear moms complain about their kids being home over the summer and looking forward to them getting out of their way each fall. If only they understood how much they are missing out on and how damaging that attitude is to the hearts of their children. Then they wonder why their children end up in rebellion, drinking, pregnant and on drugs... or even worse.

    We love most of the Abeka materials especially their history and their readers. My boys have already worked through most of their readers for next year just sitting by the pool. Even though, I no longer use readers for Emma she still reads each one as if they were novels.

    Congratulations on a successful school year and best wishes for a blessing filled summer, with your darlings.



  3. Hi! Thanks for visiting my blog! I enjoyed visiting here. It was neat to see all of your homeschool curriculum laid out! I agree -- this year has Flown by!

  4. Thank you so much for stopping by again, Amy! I have been having so much trouble with comments lately as well. I have a private Bible reading accountability blog, and 3 out of 5 of us, have been unable to comment the last few weeks. They said it's an IE problem, and the girls that have switched to google chrome or firefox, aren't having issues anymore. I tried upgrading to IE 9 to see if that would work, and it didn't. :(

    I LOVED this post! Your feelings are my feelings, I couldn't of said it any better! It's the most important ministry a mother will ever have, and I think it brings along the most joy too! It was great seeing what you guys use! I think all homeschool moms love to see what others use! I pray you enjoy your summer, and find some great deals for next years curriculum! I have 3 done today, and my oldest will hopefully be done in two weeks! Much love, Kristi

  5. That is a great look into understanding home schooling. I am glad that you and the kids enjoy it and that they are excelling. Great job!

  6. Sounds like you are wrapping up a great year of learning! Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving me a comment! I always enjoy "meeting" other homeschoolers!

  7. I totally enjoyed reading your post! I have never had a close look into the schooling process you have set up and I am very impressed to say the least. You and Joe have always had my support in your choice to home school, I think it is perfect for your family. Also thanks for the pictures of the girls, I am going to be making them new dresses over vacation!!

  8. Looks like a job well done, Mom!

    One of the saddest comments a parent said to me was "I couldn't stand to be with my kids all day like that." How sad! Why have them if you don't want to be around them?

    We have used some of the books you pictured. And we, too, are continuing math through the summer, along with leisure reading. I will need to do some phonics work with the youngest and pray that it clicks more with her so that she will read more fluently by fall. :)

    I'm slowly catching up on blog reading and I'm glad I stopped here today!

  9. Isn't homeschooling wonderful?? =)