Homeschooling Day by Day

We are now two months into our school year and things are going pretty well.  We have had to make some minor adjustments here and there, but overall our curriculum choices seem to have been good ones and we are all learning lots of new things.

Both boys started the year taking an enrichment class on Wednesday afternoons.  We weren’t sure if we were going to continue them after the first quarter ended last Wednesday, but the choice was made for us when I fell and broke my ankle.  The really sucky part is that it is my driving foot so I won’t be driving anywhere for around 6 weeks.

So now we have our Wednesday afternoons back and soccer is also almost over.  (thank goodness since my poor hubby has to do all the driving now)  We will try to fill in that space with some other things.  Samurai Guy is signed up for an online html class and Little Yoda has quite a few of his Top Secret Adventures piled up waiting for us to complete them.

I’m really pleased with how much both boys seem to be progressing this year.  The switch from Aleks math to Teaching Textbooks seems to have really helped Samurai Guy in his quest to dominate pre-algebra.  Boy boys are really taking in an enormous amount of understanding and appreciation for the middle ages with their History Odyssey levels.  (I so love Pandia Press, all of their products are so well made).  I wish that our chemistry had more experiments, but I have some books on the shelf with some fun things that we can use to supplement.

Little Yoda has become quite the reader lately.  Last week was kind of strange for us with me getting the cast on and trying to adjust to what I can and cannot do. Little Yoda had a lot more free time than he is used to, but I was really happy to find that he was filling his extra hours with reading.  It’s my understanding that he has made quite a mess in the basement by getting out a lot of books and spreading them around to read, but since I can’t get down the steps to see, I’m just not going to worry about it!

We have also had to suspend our usual spelling, All About Spelling, because we do it on the floor and I can’t get up and down right now.  I downloaded the free app from spellingcity.com  and the boys are getting to just play around with some of their lists.   When all else fails, improvise!

I still feel like I am failing them with art.  It is just so hard to fit everything in.  Things may get easier through the winter when we have fewer outside activities going on.  I also want to get back to our study of musical composers, but at least both boys are learning music theory from their music lessons.

The biggest thing I have learned is that I am always going to feel like I am failing them in one subject or another, but when I stop to think about it, I know that they are learning much more then they would have in public school.  I can see how much they are growing and learning, and I truly feel that it is a privilege to be able to teach my children.

Dealing with the big “S” word. Socializing and homeschool.

One thing that I always get asked by non homeschooling people is what about time for my kids to socialize and how could they possibly do that without going to public school.This always seems funny to me.  Apart from school, when in your life will you spend all of your time with only people of your same age?   Outside of the school walls you have to deal with all kinds of people.  Homeschool groups are anything but homogeneous.

For the last four weeks Samurai Guy has been taking an archery class with five other kids.  There were boys and girls with the youngest being 7 and the oldest 14.  Our park days and swim lessons are similar. This is a great way for my boys to learn how to get along with all sorts of people. Our outings often have everything from babies through high school, with many races and religions represented.

Where we live there are so many groups and activities to choose from that we could never do them all.  We have an outside of the house activity almost every day, and some days more than one.  There are multiple park days, enrichment classes, field trips, and on and on.

Next to choosing curriculum, finding social activities is the probably the next most difficult thing for new homeschool families.  So where do we find all of these great things?  The first thing I would suggest is to search yahoo groups for something in your area.  I currently belong to three separate yahoo homeschool groups and they have been an incredible source of information for gatherings.  The second suggestion I have is to google homeschool classes or groups in your city.  A quick search in my area finds coops, swim lessons, and martial arts classes all specifically geared to homeschool kids.  My final advice is to ask other homeschool families what activities they are involved in.  Once I made a few contacts it became much easier to get the kids involved in things they enjoy.

How to pay for all of these extra activities?  I’ll have to get back to you on that one, after I figure it out!