With a new school year approaching far too quickly, I thought that this may be a good time to answer a few questions I get asked a lot.
How do you homeschool all your children? And what curriculum do you use? Why did you choose to homeschool?
Why do I homeschool my kids? Well, truthfully, the main reason why I do it is simply because I love being with my children. I love having my family together. And I love the way my kids get to build relationships with each other on a daily basis. While it is certainly not easy homeschooling many children of different ages, from what we have seen, it is worth it! I am absolutely not opposed to public schools in any way. Some day we may go down that road. We just take things one day at a time and trust God to lead and guide OUR family. Every family is different and we all have to do what works best for our own families. In my opinion there is no right or wrong way to educate our children–we’re all unique and our circumstances are all so different. We just do what works best for our own families.
I must start by saying that I am far from being any kind of homeschooling expert. Half the time I have no idea what the heck I’m doing and kind of just figure it out as I go along. We’re heading into our seventh year of homeschooling our children and I have tried many different approaches to teaching and different curricula. Some have worked, others not so much. Some we have loved, others we have tried and abandoned soon after starting with it. It’s been a journey of trial and error, that’s for sure.
Homeschooling many different ages can be a challenge, but we have found a system that works for us. All our kids do their math and language arts separately. They all work on their own grade levels. For everything else we come together and learn at the same time. For the older kids, the work they get assigned is more difficult and complicated. The younger children get to do assignments that are grade level appropriate too.
In the mornings we do our devotional, math, and language arts. In the afternoons we work on all our other subjects. Some days things move quickly and we get finished early. Other days, school takes longer. The key for me has been to learn to be flexible and just go with it. I don’t stress when the days are longer. With toddlers around our feet and situations which always tend to come up at the worst times, life just happens. Ultimately, school always seems to be accomplished–even if it takes a little longer.
For math we absolutely love Teaching Textbooks. Oh my goodness, for any math-challenged mother, it is fabulous. I am a complete math dork! My kids pretty much get on with the work themselves and get graded as they move along so that we can see that they are grasping the work. If they struggle with a concept, they ask for help. It’s really that simple. Teaching Textbooks is easy to understand and my kids really do enjoy it. Of all the math curricula we have tried this works best.
Language arts has been one of those trial-and-error subjects. This year we tried Switched on Schoolhouse. It did not work for us. My kids really did not enjoy it. Too much time sitting at the computer. So we went back to using Learning Language Arts through Literature. We’ve used it for a couple of years. The only thing the boys don’t like about it is that sometimes the books they assign are for girls…they found that totally boring. Give them an adventure story any day.
We love Apologia for science. Awesome curriculum.
For everything else we have used My Father’s World for the last few years. It has been good as we can teach many different ages at the same time. The manual tells you exactly what to do and when to do it–which leaves for very little preparation time (always a bonus!). The books they use are absolutely wonderful. It has worked for us, but for the coming year we would love to try something a little different.
There have been many, many other curricula which we have tried along the way, but the ones mentioned above are the ones we have used the most.
Over the years we have always been involved in some kind of a homeschool co-op. Our kids have been able to choose subjects like art, reading, science (I fail when it comes to science experiments!), origami, knitting and sewing (for Hannah-Claire)…and a ton of other fun stuff. Co-ops have given our kids a great opportunity to meet new friends and learn new things.
Okay, so now I have some questions for all you homeschooling moms. And I’m sure others will also benefit from your shared advice.
~~ What curriculum has worked for your familes? Also, tell us why it has worked.
~~ How do you homeschool multiple ages?
~~ This year I am considering an on-line academy for Connor. He will be doing seventh grade and is a great independent learner. I’m thinking that he may do very well with an on-line school. Do any of your kids use one? If so, which one? Any advice would be much appreciated. We have never used an academy before and I don’t really even know what’s available.
I think that’s it. If anyone has any other questions, go ahead and ask them in the comments and I will answer them there.