Sunday, January 31, 2016

Homeschool: Changing Things Up and Finding Our Groove

I have been wanting to write a homeschool post for a long time now. I have even started to write only to delete the whole thing. Now here we are, half way through our second year and I have figured out a few things about what works best and what doesn't work at all for us. We have recently changed a few things up and I thought I'd share a little about that process.

Throughout the first semester of this year, I felt God leading us a different way as far as school goes. I was becoming a seeker instead of someone who confidently followed the path they were on. I was constantly searching for new things but wasn't making any changes. That is exhausting. If you are always seeking, you are never content. You are never fully doing what you are meant to be doing.I prayed for God to lead and soon realized that He's always leading. I just wasn't listening. I wasn't following. Once I quieted myself,  He made it clear what my kids need and really laid out what my passions and strengths as a teacher are.  By January I knew what changes we needed to make. I found a co-op that fit our needs/wants and learning styles a bit better and changed some of our curriculum. These are the changes we have made. I don't go into detail about what each of these subjects looks like on a day to day basis but plan to do so in later posts. 

I looked for a co-op where our oldest, Kayla, could make some choices. Where Noah would be fine at home with me every day, Kayla needs more 'go and do'.  She needs a little of 'this is my thing that I do on my own without Mom.' I get it. The one we joined offers choices. She is taking a geography class, an art class ,and a sewing class. That is SO up her ally! She is a creative child and does so well when she has some freedom. In the geography class, she will get to cook food from the countries they are learning about an bring it in for a project. Perfect for her.  The kid is great in the kitchen! Noah will be taking a history class that uses Legos (big win there), an art class, and a P.E. class. 

We have started using Beautiful Feet Books and their Early American History Primary Study.  Beautiful Feet uses great literature to teach history. Since we are very literature based in our school, it is a great fit. I'm using it with both kids who are 7 and 10, even though 10 is a bit past their timing. I'm doing this because I don't want her to miss out on the great books in the study. It is working well because It is a higher level read aloud.  I seriously couldn't love this curriculum more. It incorporates copy work, Bible, narration, and writing among other things.  We are about to start the second book.  I plan on writing up a detailed post on how we are using Beautiful Feet soon.

A few months ago I discovered Brave Writer and have decided to jump in with Jot it Down. Since we haven't done this program before,  I'm going to use it with both kids and just modify the requirements for Kayla. I know that after a while she will need to move up but we will start together and go from there, but doing a few fun writing projects together will get us going. Once we have a few weeks under our belt, I'll share what this looks like in our school.

Making changes to our school (even though it's in the middle of the year) has made such a positive impact. There is a peace about it all for me that wasn't there before. I was worried and reluctant to change things up when it meant doing things differently than most of my friends. In reality, I think I was really concerned about what they would think and that's just silly.

One of the best parts about homeschooling is the freedom to find what works for you and your kids.  Find it. Then do it. Don't wait. It might look different than what your friend is doing, but it's yours and if you are really led to do it, it will work. Don't be afraid to change things up as long as you are seeking His help. He called us to do this and He will equip us!

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