We are 8.5 weeks into our homeschooling adventure and it is going fantastically! Even though Josh and I both felt like this was the right thing for K, it was still a scary thing to pull her out of her beloved school and give this a shot with absolutely no frame of reference for how it would go, but it has been even better than we’d hoped.
We are using a curriculum called Exploring Countries and Cultures from My Father’s World for her the bulk of her subjects (Bible, Science, Geography, Art) and have pieced together the rest. She is doing 6th grade spelling and using Handwriting Without Tears to strengthen her handwriting skills (print this semester, but we may attempt cursive in the Spring). We added in an extra Apologia science course because we felt like the ECC science was too light for our science-loving girl. She is using Teaching Textbooks 4 for math, it is a curriculum that she does on the computer and it has been a great fit for her thus far. She still reads a lot, much of it for fun, but we also have a “book basket” with topics that enrich the subject areas we are covering in school that she spends time reading most days. She is working on creative writing with a book of prompts called “Unjornaling” (which we have been really pleased with!) and typing them up in blog form because she fatigues so easily from pencil to paper handwriting and we have to limit that a lot. She thinks having her own blog is awesome, even though it is private! As part of our main curriculum, we “travel” to a variety of countries throughout the year (she even has a passport and we exchange her money at the border) and learn about their geography, ecosystems, and culture. So far we have traveled through the US, Mexico, and are currently in Canada. While in Canada, she decided she wants to learn French, so she is working on that daily with DuoLingo! She uses websites like National Geographic, Time Magazine for Kids, SeTerra, Sumdog, and ABCya to practice and reinforce various skills. She loves that we get to paint, do fun stuff like practice geography with Nerf guns and a big map and frequent hands-on science projects, host a Canadian Thanksgiving, or wittle Inuit soap carvings (like today). The school portion of homeschooling has been great because K is a self-motivated learner and excels with reading, so it has not been a struggle to keep her engaged. Even with adding in additional subjects, she still finishes school somewhere between 10-11am most days. I feel like she is getting a very well-rounded educational experience with MUCH less time/energy expenditure (and less busy work!), which was one of our main goals.
With a good portion of her time and energy conserved, she has been able to start some extracurricular activities, too! This summer she did karate for a couple of months, but she decided that wasn’t for her for the long run, and she started theater this fall. She LOVES it! She also auditioned for a singing part in the Christmas show and got it, so now she goes to vocal rehearsal once a week and theater once a week. This is something she couldn’t have done with full time regular school on her plate. We are also part of a homeschool “support group” which is really just a big organization that sets up field trips, classes, and meet-ups that we can join in, if it works for us. Last week, we went to a board game group for kids with special needs they hold once a month and K loved it. Tomorrow, we are going to a local farm for a hayride, corn maze, and other fun stuff. They also host holiday parties for the group, so K won’t be missing out on any of that fun!
Now onto the health aspect of things! With K not being in school, we were hopeful we might miss out on the Back to School Crud, but no luck there! Maybe N brought it home, or maybe we picked it up when we were out and about, but K spent several weeks at the beginning of the year not feeling well with respiratory crud. She was not running a fever, but she was not doing well either. It finally took a pretty major shift in her respiratory meds, steroids, and hefty antibiotics to get her past it (and that created its own issues with her GI tract) to get her over it after about a month of illness. If she had been in regular school, I would have hated sending her to school every day in that state, because even though she was not clinically sick enough to justify absences, she was not healthy enough to exert herself like that. We barely made it through our little workload here some days! It was just another confirmation that we were making a good decision for her this year. She was able to continue learning and get plenty of rest and downtime, too!
Here are some pictures from our year so far!