May 2, 2009

Taking the schooling off-grid

I've been homeschooling this last year, using the K12 program. Which, technically, is not homeschooling, because it's considered public school, funded by the government, tracked and assessed by teachers who are put in charge of contingencies of parents. We used the curriculum given to us, and tracked our lesson hours panstakingly, adding in our practicing and lessons and all to make sure we met state requirements.

This year we're going off-grid.

I'm so excited. I needed this last year to get myself organized; with the accountability I was able to force myself to stick to a schedule. And I didn't have to deal with both the overwhelming stress of being solely responsible for my child's education, as well as choosing all curriculum, during our first-time experience. All in all, I think it was a good choice. But I'm ready to take it all into my own hands.

The books we were given were OK. I thought the phonics program, for instance, was fabulous for Loli's first semester... so many manipulatives and neat games and fun things. But by the time we got into the second half, she knew everything and spending too much time on any one lesson bored her to the point of fidgeting, stalling, messing around with things at her desk, etc. So we just did the worksheets, and she still tested amazingly on every assessment. She's ready to move on. I think I'm ready, too.

I'm so excited. I've had a year in the homeschoolig coop to talk curriculum and preferences. I'm currently reading A Thomas Jefferson Education and it resonates sooooo well with what I feel and what I believe, and how I feel Loli especially would enjoy learning. Before the beginning of the next school year I also plan on finishing The Well Trained Mind and Diane Hopkins' Book.

The curriculum that I have chosen, based on what I have read, and the in-depth conversations and discussions in the homeschooling group:

Math: Saxon Math, level 2 Workbook and Homeschool Teacher's Guide.

Writing: Jr. Greatbooks series 2, 1st and 2nd semester

Handwriting Without Tears

Plus essay writing every day on the topics that we cover/book reports on the stories and books that are completed.

Reading: I am buying a bunch of paperbacks, starting with easier, shorter stories graduating to more challenging ones. The books I plan to do, in order are:

Addy Learns a Lesson (loli's already read the first book in the series)


Wayside School is Falling Down

Mr. Popper's Penguins

Charlotte's Web

A Little Princess

We'll see how many of those we get through. Yes, it's ambitious for second grade, but Skywalker (entirely homeschooled) was reading Ivanhoe at age 8, and Loli's already a ferociously amazing reader... and getting better at an astronomic rate. So I'm optomistic.

For Social Studies, we'll do the Story of the World audiobook, volume 1 (ancient times) in conjunction with Geopuzzles of Africa, Europe and Asia to learn geography. We already have a globe, too, which my kids love playing with.

For Science, We'll be utilizing A Charlotte Mason Study Guide. I was all set to get a giant book of science experiments to do in the home, too, but Loli informed me that she wants to learn about "all the animals in the world" so we'll be focusing on animals instead, using a set of jr worldbook encyclopedias that was gifted to us by my mother, and checking Iwitness and Nova videos from our local library. I'm still going to buy the Everything Kids Science Experiments book and do some experiments every once in a while.

I'm actually pretty dang excited. Which is a good sign... one thing I have realized is that, if I'm excited about something, Loli gets excited about it to. Honestly... that last sentence I wrote may be the big secret to successful homeschooling.


merrilykaroly said...

Wow, you're so awesome! To spend that much time figuring out how you want to educate your child. She is definitely getting a first-rate education. I love Wayside School and A Little Princess :)

A Girl Called Dallan said...

I'm excited for you! I loved our years of homeschooling, and making plans and choosing books and manipulative materials was great fun. Have a good time!

the nice one said...

saxon and handwriting without tears are great! that's what i use in my traditional classroom.

Tracy said...

I have a good friend that uses the Thomas Jefferson Schooling for her 5 children. She if very into homeschooling and this particular program. I hope you enjoy it!

Putz said...

I LOVE TO PICK MY OWN books now that i am so old, so it doens't surprise me that home school kids would like to pick there own the putz

Janell said...

Thanks for the info! It's nice to learn more about homeschooling

Fred said...

You sound like an awesome teacher. As one myself, I so appreciate those who can handle a homeschooling's very difficult. I'm not sure I could do it, especially in the math discipline.