Apparently, You Want to Know More About My Homeschooling Plans

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You all left some great questions in the comment section of my homeschooling revamp post, so I thought I’d use a post to answer them.

First of all, please remember, it’s all an experiment. I am not a seasoned homeschool mom. I’m a “Hey, let’s try that new thing” homeschool mom. And did I mention this is my first “for real” year of homeschooling? I’m actually responsible now. To the state. For educating my {almost} eight-year-old.

As you read the answers to my questions, keep in mind the fact that my babes are young and I’m still learning how to do this homeschool thing well. It’s all a process!

Okay, here goes…

Will you share the character traits and accompanying Scripture that you’re doing each month?

I’m using the Character Concepts for Preschoolers flash cards and book that have the character trait and scripture. Depending on how things go, I *might* add in Our 24 Family Ways this year. I don’t want to be overly ambitious, so I’m waiting to see how our first month pans out before I add anything else.

Will your little ones be involved in all of your older ones learning?

Yep, just not as thoroughly. I’ll have age-appropriate things for them to do that correspond with the theme of the month and what I want them to learn.

Are you getting your unit study information/curriculum from anywhere in particular? Or are you just picking and choosing from books and other sources?

I’m just picking and choosing. Yay for Google and the library! Oh, and as I come up with ideas, I’ll share them for each month.

What day are you starting?

Monday!

Can you recommend any good character training books?

I really like Character Concepts for Preschoolers https://www.thelearningparent….
Even though it says it’s for preschoolers, I use it for all my kids.

My oldest is 3 and I want to start homeschooling! Where do I even start?

Start when they’re 6/7! Seriously, just play with your babe – they are always learning. The biggest mistake I made was trying to homeschool too early. Just relax, have fun, sing songs, go places, but don’t feel like you need to do anything formula-ish until they are older. My four year does worksheets here and there because she wants to be a part of schooling with her older brother and sister, but it is very simple and fun work. My son is six and we just do a few things, but nothing intense. Some math, and reading lessons, and letter and number writing, but we go slow. My oldest didn’t start reading well until nearly 7 1/2 years old, but now she is an avid reader. No rush!

Can I attend your homeschool next spring?

Yes. ;) But you have to bring your own food. My babes are eating me out of house and home already!

I did see your other post for this year’s homeschooling and was curious as to why you changed it up?

I don’t know, I think it had to do with Clay and Sally Clarkson’s philosophy to not rely on curriculum (except math) and my own revelation that putting theme’s into months could be fun and a great way to focus and engage on a topic. I’ll still use pieces of the curriculum I mentioned in that post, I’m just not going about them systematically (except maybe the spelling book – not sure yet).

Do you have a daily schedule/routine? I’m just starting my son with preschool material in 2 weeks and trying to figure out some sort of schedule.

If you mean a preschool schedule, my opinion is that preschool is a time to just be a kid and you don’t need to do anything formal. They are always learning, and when you’re in the car sing a verse and the alphabet song, when you see ants outside say they are insects; when you go places point out the colors, and count cars, and it’s all just really natural. My routine with my four year old is to print out a few worksheets for her (because she loves them) and have her practice her letters or numbers or patterns. I don’t get worked up about how they look, I’m just trying to let her enjoy and get used to the idea of school work, as it were. It really depends on your child, where they’re at personally, their bents, etc. I definitely wouldn’t push anything though. Honestly? Just read to your preschooler a ton.

If you mean our schedule in general, it’s flexible. I’m up around 6am every day (something I’ve committed to and have been doing for a month and half now) and my babes have to be up at 7:30 to begin the day: breakfast, jobs, school work. My mornings are going to be sacred this year; no plans until after we finish school work each day. Other than that, we are pretty wide open!

Are you hand picking each thing? How do you go about doing this type of thing with portfolios/submitting to school districts?

I am picking each thing, except for math (Math-U-See) and a few other resources here and there. I’ll be using the library and Google for books, craft and field trip ideas. :)

I love the Educating the WholeHearted Child by Clay and Sally Clarkson, and in it they say forgo curriculum (except for Math). I feel confident enough to do that. Also, I just connected with an evaluator today (she’s great) and she said this will work just fine as long as I’m meeting their learning needs as set by the state (we will). And good for you for just taking it easy with your four-year old. Just let her be little and play and have fun – she’s always learning! “School time” will come soon enough!

How do I figure out exactly what is needed for state and assessment tests?

Your state will have a department of education website and that will tell you what you need to know. As far as a general assessment (and I do stress *general* because all kids learn at different rates and that’s fine), see here:http://www.greatschools.org/st…

Here’s another good article, “Stepping Outside the Grade Level Box” http://simplehomeschool.net/st…

And just for fun:

Click here to see an info. graphic on how American Homeschoolers measure up!

Keep on!

Love, SM

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  • Erin Boyd Odom

    Wow, Sarah, I just have to say it’s freeing to find out your oldest didn’t read until 7 1/2! It sounds like we have a very similar philosophy! We are waiting until our oldest is 6 to start kindergarten (she was 5 in June, so she is “supposed” to start…eh…tomorrow!), and I just don’t feel like we should rush things!

    • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae

      I was SO worried about my daughter, but this summer through the library reading program, reading really caught! She loved that she could earn prizes for reading, and she set a goal, and completed it so quickly! Now, I have to pull books away from her at the table when we’re eating – it’s wonderful! :) And I learned something about her: she is incredibly goal oriented. Tucking that info. in my pocket for the school year!

  • Ashley

    Thank you for this post Sarah! My daughter will be 3 in October, but is very interested in school, so we’re starting ‘preschool’. It kinda stressed me out, so I bought a work book, but I felt like I should have been doing more. It’s so nice to hear someone say just play! I’m going to continue the workbook because she LOVES doing it, but it’s like you gave me permission to not be hard core into it…that make sense? Anyways, thank you again! Looking forward to hearing more about your year!

    • Betsy Moore

      Totally agree Ashley! My oldest is 3 too. :)

    • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae

      So smart, mama! :)

      • Ashley

        To add a little comedy to the situation (because that’s my preference for dealing with stress), I was reading the chart about home schooling to my husband and I’m telling him that 4 states offer tax credit for home schooling families. So naturally he asks “Which ones?”. The only response my geographically challenged mind can come up with “to be honest, I can’t read the map…”. Wrong answer. His face just said “and you’re going to be teaching our children this stuff?!” haha. He then proceed to quiz me and teach me all the shaded states. It’s not fair though, he’s a pilot so he has to know all those states in the middle….

  • Butterflie927

    We have been using Math U See and really like it.

  • Betsy Moore

    Thank you so much Sarah! I posted the question about starting homeschooling with my 3 year old daughter. What a breathe of fresh air to think that I could just let her be a kid for a few more years! YES! What is the darn rush? Love this. Thank you so much.

    • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae

      You’re welcome! I love being a part of your journey!

  • Shan Shan

    Great post with lots-o-details which you know all us ladies love!

    Congrats on starting the lst official year and I’m praising the Lord with you for His guidance and putting this confidence in your spirit!
    blessings,
    Shan
    http://www.The-How-to-Guru.com

  • christie elkins.

    Love this, Sarah Mae! We start our homeschool year today, it is our 2nd year, and our kids are 6, 3 and 2. I TOTALLY agree–I started WAY too young with my first. This is the year I plan to get a little more structured. Maybe. I am all about learning in the van on the way to the park for sure :)

  • Angi Schneider

    Good for you! We are very relaxed in the early years and get a little more structured in high school. My second son who is 17 didn’ t learn to read until he was in the 5th grade. At the beginning of 5th grade he was reading Henry and Mudge books. But a year and a half later he was reading Lord of the Rings and just 5 short years later when he took his college entrance exame he passed with flying colors. I’m not saying we didn’t struggle, we did, or that I didn’t loose hope at times, I did. My God is so faithful and I just found myself doing what I could and leaving the rest to Him. All this to say, there’s no set age for children to learn to read.

  • http://www.asimplehaven.com/ Jenn at a Simple Haven

    We are starting preschool (ish) at home this fall; it was great to hear your encouragement to just let them play/read…especially since that’s mostly all I wanted to do anyway :).

    I actually just wrote a post about the heart issues that accompany preschool/homeschool for me: http://day2dayjoys.com/2013/08/preschooling-at-home-heart-issues-and-practical-matters.html

    That homeschooling graphic was super interesting–I was intrigued by the similarities in kids’ test scores regardless of parent education, income, etc. I feel like that could be empowering to the mom who thinks she can’t homeschool because she’s not “qualified.”

  • Lynn

    Sounds great.,,,.I’ll send books this week. Check your emails for other info

  • Becca

    Thanks for your explanations, my oldest is 3.5. We are planning to start “preschool” this year honestly because I really want to home school but am NOT a structured person and I want to start training myself to establish school times. He loves his workbooks (i find him sneaking to get them out :) so we are planning about 30 minutes 2/week to see how that goes!

    • Carlyn

      Structure (and homeschooling) is something that each mom (and family) grows into! It also seems to change every year! It’s good that you’re thinking about starting some structure early (mostly to train and prepare yourself), but just remember . . . everyone has “on” and “off” days – even seasoned homeschool families! :) Enjoy your kiddos! This time is precious and they are learning constantly! The days will fly by and these early years of just being together are so very short!

  • faigie

    For preschool age kids if you read up on project based homeschooling and the Reggio approach you will better know how to direct their playing and reading so it takes it to a higher level. You don’t need formal worksheets and stuff but you will be missing out on a ton of learning with your child if you just let it all go

  • Lynn

    Sounds great….I’ll send books this week
    Check your emails from me

    • http://www.likeawarmcupofcoffee.com Sarah Mae

      Lynn!!!!!! :)

  • Amy

    I was very intrigued by the infographic you posted…especially the standardized tests statistics. I am currently staying home with my two young kids, but I was previously a 1st grade teacher. Homeschooling is definitely on my mind right now which seems funny given the fact that I was a teacher and my husband currently is a teacher :) I loved what you said about your thoughts on preschool homeschooling. I am a HUGE fan of movement and play-based learning. Most of the time my kids don’t even realize they are learning with the activities we do because it’s done in such a fun, natural, and play-based way. Thanks for the great post!

  • Jill Sharpe Pena

    I tried to share on FB, but it said it was marked as spam. LOL! What idiot did that.

  • Jen Reyneri

    Love to see that you’re homeschooling! It’s truly an adventure! A bit of advice from a “partially seasoned” homeschool mama- no comparison. It will kill your joy:) Blessings to you! Excited to hear about your journey!
    Jen