Saturday, August 15, 2015

How Our Homeschool Year Is Going!

Two weeks ago we completed the first third of our 2015-2016 school year. (And we're now five weeks away from the half-way point.) I thought it was time for a quick update!

What's Going Well

History - The history program that we're using is going really well. I promise to update on that soon.

Reading Aloud - We are managing to get 1-2 hours per day in, which is really up my alley. I believe that an awesome education can be found primarily in the hearing and reading of great literature, and it is my desire to get in as much as is humanly possible. My husband is helping the cause by reading to the children at night and listening to audiobooks with them.

Math - Our 9yo is something like a math whiz. I have no problems teaching math to this child. I think I'm going to be in for a rude surprise when I encounter a child who struggles with math (something I hear about often on homeschool forums), because this subject has been so blessedly easy (at least since we moved to Christian Light math!).

Memory work - This year we have started into full-scale memory work, and it is going so well. Children really do having amazing memories. The 9yo puts me to shame. Even the 3yo is picking up a lot of memory work just by listening in! We are memorizing Bible passages, poems, historical documents, and character trait definitions.

Character Work - We are using the free materials at Character First - character definitions and videos. These have been great for both the children and for me (I learn what I need to be teaching!).

Language Arts - While the 9yo isn't crazy about formal English, he's doing well. I don't think it will ever be his specialty, but that's okay! We are using Christian Light English. While it's very good, I'm not as crazy about it as I am their math (which rocks!). In other words, I'm content... but I'd also be open to change for next year. We'll see.

What's Not Going Well (Or Going at All!)

Piano Lessons - Yeah. Still haven't started those. It's both a matter of feet-dragging (I really am not crazy about doing this) and having NO EXTRA TIME.

Catechism - This one has really fallen off the map this year.

Science Experiments - Ditto.

Art Study - Ditto, possibly due to the resounding lack of interest in a certain 9yo. I hope to pick this up again soon.

Arts and Crafts - Never my strong point, and definitely not happening (much) this year. My efforts have really been poured into history and reading aloud, and the extras haven't been emphasized. However, we will be doing some arts and crafts projects with our history curriculum, and hopefully that should take care of this area. (Some mamas hire tutors to teach calculus. I would hire one to do arts and crafts.)

Field Trips - It's been pretty quiet this year with field trips, but our homeschool groups are about to start up for the year and our fall calendar is already filling up. I am in the middle of organizing a field trip for one of our groups!

Spring Cleaning - Spring cleaning was axed in favor of some reorganization projects, but my spatial skills being what they are, those projects are taking months rather than minutes. I think Spring Cleaning is just going to have to wait for next year.


* Homeschool decisions are never final. There are always things to investigate and questions to answer. Here are some of the questions I have begun to formulate regarding the 2016-2017 school year:
  • Is our language arts program working well? Or should I look around?
  • Which piano curriculum should I use?
  • Which science curriculum should we use next year?
  • Should we start Latin? Or Spanish? Or both? And at what grade level?
  • Extracurriculars - Which to pick? How to afford them? How to accomplish this without tearing our family into pieces?

* There is not time enough in any day to do everything that I would like to do. It's not possible. Thus, trade-offs are necessary. This year, science experiments and crafts have been minimized in favor of history studies and read-alouds. Every homeschool will have different trade-offs which will vary by season.

* Again, as I mentioned a few months ago, for the most part, the hard part of homeschooling is not the actual homeschooling. It's managing the babies and toddlers underfoot. It's dealing with relationships, attitudes, discipline issues, character, time management, and (my) self-discipline. It's making the decisions about day-to-day issues, keeping up with the housework, deciding which trade-offs to make and how to make them, and dealing with the million-and-one items on my to-do list.

Speaking of which, dinner dishes call!

Have a wonderful evening, dear friends!


  1. Sounds like things are going pretty well so far! We always have different things we focus on or do more of each year. For example, at least this first semester (possibly all year) my 5th and under crowd will be doing more science and less writing (though we sneak some of that in under science/notebooking so they don't notice it). My 9th grader will be doing more writing with One Year Adventure Novel as the focus and less of science (we decided that as she has no interest in a science based career she can take 2 years to do Apologia Biology. We may flesh it out with some outside reading and fun each year to make it 2 years work, we may not. For example, right now she's raising two bearded dragons, biology in action. So some of that can count toward her biology 1 credit, esp. if she does some formal projects or notebooking to record her learning/care of them.

    Other things I hope we get to once - like one composer and one artist this year. If we do more that is great, but I'll be content with one.

    Have a lovely week! I'm off to make sure I have everything I need for ours.

    1. I'm glad to hear that other mamas experience the same "different year, different focus" phenomenon. As I look back at our homeschool experiences, I can differentiate the years by their specific characteristics. "This was the year we did massive country-based unit studies." "This was the year we took slowly because of morning sickness." And etc. It really does seem like every year is going to be unique!

  2. I totally understand how hard it is to do music at home! I can't figure out why I can do math, but piano falls by the wayside. :) You're absolutely right about having to pick and choose what gets done and what doesn't. I always choose reading aloud over anything else. I'm finally figuring out that anything else is icing on the cake.

    It sounds like you're having a really good year. I hope you can see that you're accomplishing a lot!!!!!

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Anne! And yes, piano is something that has consistently gotten shoved aside in favor of other priorities. Hopefully this will change! :)

  3. I'm totally with you when it comes to piano! I did lessons with my oldest about once a month for a year and a half and she would love to do them more often, more consistently. And my 7 year old is BEGGING to learn. I hope to get into a good routine with them this fall!

    1. Yes, absolutely! We're going to try the Hoffman Academy idea and see if that can do any better for us. It can't be any worse than what I'm doing now!! :)


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