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
We found a homeschooling group that went bowling with every other week, and another homeschooling group that took field trips together. That year we went on many memorable field trips like: the airport, the natural history museum, the science museum, a yogurt factory, and an old Native American site.
We continued using ABeka for Grammar and Math-U-See for Math, but the most exciting part of this year (at least for me) was finding Konos unit studies. I found that I could teach Charles and Andrew everything (except math and grammar) together! With Konos unit studies we read great books we got from the library, and did lots of hands on activities- which is great for young boys. We learned about the body, the senses, music, frontiersman, Indians and birds.
We homeschooled in the mornings, then the boys played together all afternoon. My 3rd son, Isaiah, was a toddler at the time. This was the year that I started having my boys play with their younger sibling for about a 1/2 hour each morning so I could have some one on one teaching time. This turned out to be wonderful for everyone, and we continued to do this every year as we had more children.
Another thing that I started that year was having Andrew keep a journal. He continued journaling for many years. He has notebooks full of childhood memories to keep. Oh, I almost forgot about the YMCA where he took swimming lessons and basketball and soccer classes.
Andrew took gymnastics that year and during the classes we met another homeschooling family that we became good friends with. They had three boys that were the same ages as my boys and lived close by. We met together once a week to play and for science class. We used TOPS magnetism that year. TOPS is an inexpensive, hands-on science curriculum that uses everyday household items.
Another family joined us every Friday after science for character trait lessons. I forget the name of the curriculum we used, but it had songs, stories and a different animal to represent each character trait. The other 2 mom's and I took turns teaching the lessons (we had 13 kids between us).
We continued going to the library every week. Andrew was one of those kids that I could leave out a book on just about any subject and he would read it. Reading has always been one of his passions, but I learned that I could turn him off from a book if I told him that he had to read it for "school". I almost turned him off to Redwall by Brian Jacques by doing that. But about a year later he picked up a Redwall book on his own and it became one of his (and Charles') favorite book series.
to be continued...