Thursday, August 28, 2008

Our Homeschool

I know some of you read this and have no idea what we actually do for our homeschool. So, I would like to explain some things in this post.

In order to be legal in the state of SC we are a member of a Homeschool Association called REACH. (It is kind of complicated but there are 3 different options to choose from to be legal. Choosing an association is just one option. And, there are many associations to choose from! I will not go in to any more detail about that here. If you are interested check here for more details on SC law.) Within that association we have to attend 2 events (field trips) and host 1 event to stay current and active with the group. This group is also a great way to connect with other families and encourage and offer information and support throughout the year. We have a website and lots of different local yahoo groups to stay connected online. We also have playgroups and MNOs (mom's night out). We are required by law to cover all the normal subjects (language arts, science, social studies, etc.) but there is no set curriculum we have to use. In fact a curriculum is not even required. I just have to sign a sheet of paper that says I have taught those courses and am keeping some kind of journal or portfolio for our work. Testing is not required. I don't have to register or file paperwork with the school district. My association does all that for me.

This year we are participating in a homeschool coop. We will meet once a week for classes in science, world cultures, writing, critical thinking, and recorder. Parents will rotate teaching subjects. We'll use the Real Science 4 kids curriculum I've listed below and each parent gets to choose any culture to teach. The other 3 classes are taught by the same teacher/parent every week. There are 4 different age groups involved: preschool, 1st-3rd, 4th-8th, and highschool. The preschool and highschool are doing different classes during the time period. This coop has been around for 14 years (if I remember correctly) and the girls are very excited about starting next week.

As most of you know, homeschooling has become more popular in recent years. As a result there is so much information and such a huge amount of resources and curricula that it is hard to choose which ones to use. I have done a lot of research and found some that I really like and fit our family best. In general we are able to get all our basic school work done within 2 hours in the mornings and the rest of the days are used for extra curricular activities including dance, nature exploration, music, art, extra reading, library visits, museum classes and visits, shopping, etc. The girls have a lot of free play time as well--hours a day. I believe this kind of creative play is very important in their development. There is no TV or video games involved--just kids, some toys, craft supplies, and lots of imagination!

Here is the list of the curriculum we use and links for more info.
Math U See Alpha and Beta
First Language Lessons
Explode the code books 1 1/2 and 4 1/2
The Story of the World Book one:Ancient Times
Lilliput Station Copywork
Real Science for Kids

I took these pictures the same day we made the videos. Then we took a few silly pics to show that not all school time is serious. We take breaks and dig into special subjects whenever necessary or when the girls show particular interests. Sometimes we take breaks just because we can! The girls are cruising through the goals we have set for this year. It is amazing how much they can absorb at such a young age and in such little time. No standing in line or waiting for others to catch up to something they understand quickly. Since we don't take a break over summer we don't even need to review. We just keep moving forward.

Anyway, here the girls are sitting at their table doing copywork.

Coloring is very important too:)

A little bit of silliness from mom too. Messy playroom in the background and all!
This is a picture of the art project which we did last week. It was perfect since we learned about paper mache AND had a gift our good friend could use at her birthday party! We'll be making one for Ellen's 7th birthday next weekend too. I got the directions for making this here at Mother Earth News online magazine.

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