Saturday, August 24, 2013

How we do Homeschool 101

School is in session!  We decided to start on the actual start date of our local school district again this year.  I let each of the kids pick out a "first day of school" outfit for the occasion.

I am really excited about this school year for several reasons.  We have some new curriculum that I'm really looking forward to.  ALL of my kids will be "doing school" this year (preschool-5th grade).  I've updated our schoolroom some and think it will help our school day flow better.  I've come up with a basic schedule for our days that I hope will help us to stay focused (at least most days).

Here is our schoolroom.

On the left are the girls desks with a couple 10-drawer storage units between them (will be adding one more in the gap). The center one is filled with preschool activities and the other two are for the girls' work. In their desks they each have a pencil pouch with basic supplies, a notebook, and bible.

On the right is my desk where I check work. The table in the center of the room is where we do work together or where the girls can spread out if they want/need more room than their desk.

This is the other side of the school room. We have a big sectional couch, which is where we do some group activities and reading. The train table that is beside the ottoman isn't supposed to be there. It's waiting to get hauled upstairs. 

This is the bookshelf that is on the right in the picture above. It houses all of our curriculum for this year. The stack of bins/books on the left is waiting to be moved as well (it's old curriculum). 

The cabinet of the bookshelf holds extra supplies (there will be more added soon as I clean out our old closet, and it will hopefully become more organized). 

Here is our curriculum.

Belle - 5th grade
English - Rod & Staff 5th grade

Spelling - Rod & Staff 5th grade

Reading - Rod & Staff 5th grade

Handwriting - Handwriting Without Tears - Can Do Print and Can Do Cursive

Math - Saxon 5/4

Rapunzel - 2nd grade
English - First Language Lessons - Level 2
Writing - Writing With Ease - Level 2

Phonics - Explode the Code - 5-6

Handwriting - Handwriting Without Tears - Printing Power and Cursive Handwriting

Math - LIFEPAC grade 2

Belle & Rapunzel (and sometimes Hercules and Aurora)
My Father's World - Exploring Countries and Cultures, which includes history/geography, science, bible, music, and art.

Hercules - Pre-K and Aurora - Preschool
Rod & Staff - Preschool Activity Workbooks

Letter of the Week - Confessions of a Homeschooler
and other preschool activities, including games, manipulatives, workbooks, dvds, and iPad apps

Belle is also enjoying these Millers book during her free reading time. 

The kids should be awake, dressed, beds made, room picked up and downstairs by 8:00am on school days. That means I can sleep until 7:30 and still have time for a quick shower and quiet time before we start our day. The little kids are almost always up by 7:30, so that's not really a problem. If they happen to sleep in, I'll probably let them. The older girls are not consistent as to their wake time. So they are setting an alarm (they share a room) for 7:30 to give themselves plenty of time to get everything done and be downstairs by 8:00. 

Here is our schedule.  I even created an "adjusted schedule" for days when we're out of the house in the mornings for various things (MOPS, dr. appts, playdates, etc.), because in the past, those days ended up being wash days because I just didn't know where to pick up in "just" the afternoon.  Now, no excuses! 

More curious about any part of our homeschool?  Leave a comment and I'll be compiling a Homeschool FAQ. 


  1. wow! I'm impressed! I've got a long way to go, but what great inspiration you give! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Hi Amber -
    I have a quick question for you - when it was time to do Kindergarten, did you do a comprehensive K curriculum, or did you kind of pick and choose different curricula for each subject area? I am starting to really think about this for Cooper - the problem is that I really feel at the K level, we should only be doing an hour at most each day of formal "schoolwork" and the rest of the day ought to be free for playtime, outside, chores, real life stuff. I am wondering if that would be easier with a comprehensive curriculum to whittle down to an hour, or if I would constantly feel behind. Perhaps it would be easier with each different subject matter being different, we could spend more time on the things that he is weak in and kind of gloss over his known strengths. Let me know what you think! Thanks so much in advance! :)