Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Still figuring out what homeschooling looks like for us

I said before that I've been reading through old posts.  The ones that I've been most interested in have been the ones about our homeschooling days.  It's been interesting to read about what I liked doing and what worked and what was frustrating.  I often look at our curriculum (especially in November, February and May) and wonder what I should do differently next year.  I want our learning experience to not be boring or frustrating and if the curriculum can help with that, I'm all for trying new things.

One website that seemed really interesting is called Easy Peasy homeschool.  A homeschool mom decided to create her own curriculum for her kids using free on-line resources and then wrote out each assignment.  Everything is included and you just need a few basic supplies, besides a computer with internet and a printer.  I decided to try it after Christmas break with Rachel and Owen.  I didn't want to stop our language arts or math but we weren't doing a structured science or history course so I started with that.  It's been good and I'm very impressed with the website but I don't know that it's one I want to use next year.  I don't like having to have a laptop in front of me all the time when we're doing school.  I like turning pages, not scrolling.  I did start having all the kids practice their math facts on XtraMath, a web site that is used with her curriculum.  I've realized I need to utilize technology more but I don't want to rely on it entirely.

Another question that came up for me when I was looking at this website was the idea of our Pioneers co-op.  The curriculum on this website was for 180 days.  If we do Pioneers, we meet about 27 days during the school year so we would either have to go longer in the summer to finish this curriculum or double up on some days or not do Pioneers.  There have also been some classes that have been difficult for Brendan and Tori at Pioneers for various reasons.  I started contemplating what it would like if we didn't do Pioneers.

We started school this Monday after Christmas break and everything went great.  Honestly, it was such a good day of learning.  Tuesday was the same.  Then Tuesday night we found out that Pioneers was canceled and I was relieved and thought, yup, maybe I need to rethink being a part of a co-op.  Then today dragged on.  We did our normal school work and then took the afternoon off.  Instead of feeling like a break, it felt like a prison.  I know part of that is because we've already been off for 2 1/2 weeks.  But I think the co-op is good for us - it gets us around people, gives us a day off from our normal routine, and I think it's good for the kids to figure out what other teacher's expectations.

So, after reading through past blogs and trying out a few different things the past couple days, I am getting ideas about next year.  I want to look for a structured science book for Rachel and Owen.  We are definitely planning to do Pioneers again.  And I want to look for ways to incorporate technology more.

Now to set some goals for my kids for this year . . .

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