Looking Back Over 12 Years of Homeschooling (part 1)
I guess I'm feeling sentimental because my son just graduated, but here is a look back over 12 years of homeschooling him.
The Elementary years
Kindergarten-This was my first year officially homeschooling and I was so excited! I purchased the complete Christian Liberty Press Kindergarten curriculum but about halfway though that year we put the workbooks away because my son already knew just about everything in the books! Andrew was reading at age four (he learned by using Reader Rabbit software and following along during storytime) and he had also been doing workbooks and flashcards that I had bought at wal-mart since he was two.
I purchased some great homeschooling supplies through the Timberdoodle homeschooling catalog that we've continued to use every year with all my kids. Things like the Pathways Readers, math-in-a-bag, The Wonders of God's Creation videos, Drawing Textbook by Bruce McIntyre and Games Tools for Learning -a book with instructions for making homemade learning games. I enjoyed reading the entire Little House on the Prairie series aloud to Andrew and my second son, Charles, who was 3. We took lots of field trips and nature walks. One thing I remember about Kindergarten is how I hated to have stop my kids from playing so nicely together to do school. My oldest 2 sons are 22 months apart and have always been close.
Over the summer I went with a friend to a hotel to meet an ABeka Book representative and to see the curriculum. I was so impressed with all those colorful workbooks that I purchased the entire first grade curriculum. Well, Andrew read all the readers for the year in the first week!
That was the year that I set up a schoolroom in our home. There's nothing wrong with having a schoolroom, but I thought my first grader would enjoy sitting at his desk all morning doing his workbooks. I even thought we would say the pledge to the flag everday before starting school! By the end of that first week I told my husband that we had made a mistake and maybe we should send our son to school! He encouraged me that we had made the right decision and that it would work out. My husband has been my biggest supporter all these years. He wanted us to homeschool even before we had kids.
After I took more of a relaxed approach to homeschooling we had a great year! We did some of those workbooks, but we skipped some because so much of it was busy work intended for large classrooms. We ended up taking a month to study astronomy because that was one of Andrew's biggest interests at the time. We found a great homeschool group where we made friends and took field trips together. During that year my sister-in-law would come over once a week to do arts & crafts with the kids. I continued reading aloud great books to the kids and we took nature walks almost daily when the weather was good.