Thursday, September 11, 2008


I've had a few internet friends ask what curriculum we use to homeschool and/or how we actually do it. Most want to know how I school the little ones. My 13 year old is still homeschooled, but most of her classes are at a tutorial, so here's a little peek into our homeschool day with a kindergartener (Miyah-almost 5) and a preschooler (Mei Lin-2.75)...

Every morning we start our day with prayer and a Bible story. We are using Rod and Staff's "Bible Stories to Read," which also comes with a coloring book with a coloring page for each story. Here's Miyah's page she's Job.

The girls are memorizing Bible verses using the CD "Sing the Word from A-Z." Each week we learn a new verse beginning with Mei Lin's letter of the week.

Then we have "calendar time" when we talk about what month and day it is today, what the weather is like, what the season is, and then list/sing all the days of the week, months of the year, seasons, and count the days of the month.
Miyah is using Handwriting Without Tears. This is our first year trying this program and I prefer it over others we've tried. Here she's using her sponge to mark over the letter "M" on the board.

She also uses her small chalkboard to write and then wipe-off her letters. I don't know what it is about the chalk and sponge thing, but both the girls love it. After some practice with chalk and sponge, she writes the letter in her handwriting book several times.
For Phonics we're using both Happy Phonics and Alpha Phonics this year. Happy Phonics is all hands-on games and activities while Alpha Phonics is a (boring, but essential) reader. We also do a bit of Explode the Code along with the Happy Phonics. Here's Miyah doing a Happy Phonics activity. She picked a picture card and put a sentence together..."The pig is not in the pen."

And here she is reading her Alpha Phonics lesson. She protested about this new reader so I decided to use one of my better parenting tools and began giving her a "surprise" (a sweet snack) when she's finished with her lesson...bribery will get you everywhere. Now it's the first thing she wants to do after Bible and calendar :).

Another Happy Phonics exercise.

We're also doing Singapore Math (earlybird books), and K12 for history and science. My girls are LOVING K12 for history and science (the kindergarten courses) and I love them, too.


I'm also asked how I keep my 2 year old busy. Great question because I was wondering how I'd do it, too.

I did a little research and got some great tips from other homeschool moms. I put together some ziploc bags of activities for her to pull out. Each week we highlight a new letter for Mei Lin and she does different activities with that letter each day. She also has math activities, puzzles, etc.

Here she is playing with the cuisenaire rods and making things that begin with "C." She also colored and covered the letter "C" with her rods.

She likes to wipe off letters on the board, too.

Or play with puzzles.

This one is fun. I draw a letter on black paper with chalk. With a towel under the paper, she pokes holes on the "C" with a push pin. Hold the paper up to the window and the light shines through! Great for strengthening those finger muscles and helping identify her letter.

She's picking up some phonics from her big sister's Happy Phonics. She's pointing the letters "SH" and telling me, "Sh!"

She puts stickers on the letter of the week.

There's her sticker "C"

And actinig crazy keeps her busy for a long time!

She also likes the paint daubers and paints her letter, or plays with pattern blocks, or strings beads, etc.

Another common question: Where do you school? Everyone does it differently. We don't have anything fancy, in fact, it's rather small, but it works for us. We carved out a little area in our bonus/rec room for two small tables and a bookcase or two for our things. We once had a designated school room, but we gave that up so Pat could have a home office for work.

This is a cheap little shelving unit from $40 or so. I LOVE it! Thanks, Heather, for the idea. Heather actually has hers on wheels and has charts, calendars, etc. on the back and sides. She wheels hers into her school area in the dining room each day...clever!

This is my 10th year homeschooling and people say to me all the time, "I don't know how you do it. I could never home school!" And it's true, teaching your children is not easy, but I've done it both ways and I actually think homeschooling is the easier choice for me. I'm not saying it's the best choice for everyone, but it is easier for me and I feel it's the best for my kids at this time.

I love having my children at home all day...most of the time. And those times when we are butting heads, I know there's a lesson there for both of us...we're learning how to get along because we know we have no choice but to resolve our issues.

I'VE learned so much spending these days with my kids. We've had many hard, frustrating, "I'm sending them back to school!" days, but we've learned so much together, have grown closer, and have some wonderful memories thanks to homeschooling.
Megan doing her homework outside on the deck.

2 incredible comments!:

Sharon said...

Thanks so much for posting that!! I think I will be checking back to this in the future too. Now I already got great ideas for Bailey now!! Thanks Cindy!

Carla said...

OH you gave me some great ideas and shamed me at the same time...I'm making the boys do BORING work these days. Survival I guess. I really should be doing more with them. I owe it to them.