So I haven't posted in, oh, a month and a half. Sorry about that. Life here has taken a few turns and twists and I have been trying to keep up!
We decided to homeschool ALL the kids this year, as well as my neighbor, so going from just homeschooling my son to homeschooling 5 kids has been quite the adjustment. I think we're in a pretty good groove now--things have lightened up and I just might be able to find 5 or 10 minutes of free time now and again. Whew!
The kids are in grades pre-K, 2,4,5 and 7. Quite the spread, huh? I started out trying to teach each one each subject each day. Umm--didn't work so well. I was bouncing around from kid to kid like a ping pong ball while the kids called "Mom...I need help...MOM!". I quickly realized I had to make some changes. We have it down to a pretty nice routine now; the kids are rather independent with subjects like handwriting and reading so they work on those while I work with one at a time on math and grammar. In some subjects we've combined a couple of the kids so I can tag-team teach and I just adjust the level up or down a bit.
I started out with a reading comprehension workbook with my 2nd grader. I thought she'd like it--it's colorful and has one short story followed by some questions. She HATES it. After 3 weeks of listening to her complaining, I decided to completely overhaul her curriculum. I'm now doing Five In a Row (FIAR) which is a great curriculum for ages 4 -8 that is based on classic children's picture books. The library has all the titles, so I just needed to buy the lesson plan book. I am really loving it! We read Madeline last week and were able to spin so many things off the book. My daughter made a Madeline doll for art, she learned about France and Paris and can find them on the globe, we made French food, we made a booklet of all the famous landmarks in Paris, we made a booklet of rhyming words since Madeline is written in rhyme. We had a lesson on chromatic and mono-chromatic art since the artwork in Madeline consists of both. We used blocks to figure out how many ways the 12 girls in the book could be arranged other than "in two straight lines" (1 row of 12, 3 rows of 4 and so on). We learned about the body and what is an appendix since Madeline had hers removed in the story. This week we're reading a story about a Japanese girl, so we're delving into Japan and its culture. My preschooler listens in to the stories, too. It's a great way to learn and this is why I love homeschooling.
For math we are using Math-U-See; for spelling, we are using the lists on superteacherworksheets.com though we are doing a grade above since the words are a bit on the easy side in my opinion. The other subjects are a mix and match of books and materials. I ordered many of our books and workbooks on Amazon and I was thrilled to find several great hardback textbooks (and a few workbooks) at my local Half Price Books stores for only a few dollars each. These books (along with those from Amazon), educational videos and books from the library, free internet resources and the many items I had from when I taught and items and games I've picked up at garage sales comprise our curriculum and materials we use on a daily basis.
I love that we usually finish by early afternoon and then we can go on lots of field trips. The science museum, zoo, art museum, rec center classes, apple picking and co-op classes and clubs are just some of the things we are able to do regularly.
Homeschooling is a LOT of work, but so totally worth it!