Homeschooling journey: Our first half of the year...


Well we made it through the first half of the year of school, and I was thrilled to start back up again after the holidays. As always, the holiday season is fun, joyous, and activity filled. It's also a time I choose to let loose a bit on our daily schedules and routines. I can pretty much handle that for about 2 days before I'm aching to get back to my organized system as soon as possible.

So I thought I'd go over how the first half of the year went, for those interested.

The first half went well. Despite me being a scheduler, I appreciate the freedom homeschooling gives us to make changes in our day. Some days things just aren't happening, and everyone needs a break, and so we can make up that work the next day. When I first started, I thought I needed 7 hours of school planned didn't take long for me to realize that is not the case with homeschooling. It takes far less time to teach 2 children than a class of 20+. This made my life easier. 

Not every day goes over perfectly. Like any other mother/child, we have power struggles at times. Some days Abigail says she's too tired after just 20 minutes. Some days I'm not as patient because I had a horrible nights rest because our children climb into our queen sized bed that isn't meant for 4 human beings...and I'm too tired to take them out. 
Sidenote: When Josh and I bought our bed we thought since we are not the tallest of folk, a Queen would be adequate for the two of us. Now I realize we should have gone with the King to accommodate the extra bodies that would be accompanying us one day.

As a whole, I feel like we had more good days than rough ones. I've enjoyed teaching them and seeing them grow, and it's pretty awesome to see things 'click' as they understand something new. The first morning back, after the Christmas break, Mailie woke up and asked me, "is it time for school?", and when I said yes she jumped out of bed and yelled "YES!" and rushed to get ready. I love that as a whole, each day they are pretty excited about learning. I hope they keep that with them their whole lives. 

The subjects and curricula we use:

Reading: We use HOP and OPG. We were lucky and found the complete HOP sets Pre-K through 2nd at the DI. It was a major blessing, and just another reason I love the DI.Abigail is cruising along. She's nearly finished with 2nd grade HOP, and moving faster than I anticipated, so I need to decide on a 3rd grade curriculum. 

Mailie hit a learning growth spurt, and is picking things up quicker, with recognizing each of the letters and the sounds they make. She loves the letter A. She sings about the letter A on a daily basis, and writes it everywhere. She is proud of her written A. You could be in a conversation with her and she will randomly bust out her "This is letter A, I am holding letter A" song. So, we've mastered the letter A.

Math: We use Saxon, and love it. It was definitely our biggest expense when it came to curricula, but it has been worth it. I'd just really appreciate Mailie liking it when it's her turn, so it gets double the use. Abigail really enjoys math. She likes us to quiz her, which is helpful when we need to keep her entertained on long car rides. 

History & Geography: We use The Story of the World, which I love with all of my heart. I am even learning, which I crave. I loved Hist&Geog, but it's amazing how much you forget when you haven't been studying it for years. Each lesson has map work, activities, and projects, that both of the girls can get involved in. 

I try to have Mailie involved in as much as possible when it comes to Abigail's subjects. There are certain math activities she can join in on, and I have her listen to our History readings and do the activities that come with. Science and Art are both easy subjects for her to join in on. Currently with Science we are learning about many different animals. A sure win with my girls, as animals are mighty loved in this home. Science curricula right now is 100% Library/Youtube/Pinterest based. At some point I think I'll look into buying curricula, but I don't think it's needed at this age, with all the free resources there are.

Art: Our art curricula comes from Erica at Confessions of a Homeschooler. We cover a different artist per month.One of our Art subjects was Picasso. I actually thought Abigail would like his quirky paintings, but Picasso didn't do much for her, aside from some of his more "normal" work. van Gogh will be coming up soon, and I would be shocked if she didn't love his work. 

Spelling: We use Spelling Workout. Abigail says Spelling is one of her favorite subjects because she loves to be quizzed on the words, and she likes to make mother like daughter. I love seeing letters she writes, and the words she spells out phonetically (screwed up English rules). Sometimes she laughs when I tell her how something is spelled or sounded out because she says that doesn't make sense. All I can tell her is I agree, and that English often doesn't make sense.

Writing/Grammar: We use First Language Lessons. So far I'm happy with it. Abigail is learning. Nothing too crazy exciting to report. 

Onto the next half!

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