Structuring a Homeschool for Four Kids in our Sixth Year

Once upon a time, in our sixth year, this is how we homeschooled: we woke before 7.

It was a challenge to wake my teenager by seven. The younger three were awake before I made it through the last cycle of REM. (And they had eaten and groomed too).

For many years I organized my morning like clockwork. I decided to ‘let go’ and ‘let rhythm’ take its course a bit more this year.




That didn’t mean we didn’t have a routine though.

Math

We spent more time reviewing math concepts with each of the kids every morning. (Just what I wanted, a little more math.) But it does make math work easier for them, and me, as we familiarize ourselves repeatedly.

Languages

We did Ecoutez Parlez. LOVE this program. It is an audio review with a different module every ten days: basic French with simple exercises to reinforce the concepts.

The kids made a dramatic presentation of ten lines we learned: “Hello. How are you? What is your name? My name is Aurel.” Simple stuff to start, and a really effective approach to language learning. Nothing says second language learning then to actually practice the language.

We also have Duolingo accounts for each child all on the new iPad.

And there’s Latina Christiana too. Yes. I know Latin is a dead language. We might not speak it, but we are certainly using it EVERY SINGLE DAY in this house. The root words of many Latin words are in our present vocabulary, so we’ll learn a host of new words. Hangman games teach us new vocabulary and are a fun way to break up rote memorization.



History

Sonlight curriculum is a great way to learn history. Reading first-person narratives on world explorers is a stick-to-your-brain approach to remembering their origins. Columbus tried to convince his entire crew that the north star continued to move every night. He was trying to convince them to travel westward, to India, where, of course, they did not arrive (as we all know). Columbus bribed riches to some; threatened hangings to others. (Kinda sounds like a desperate parent, demanding desperate measures). He eventually convinced them to sail westward another day, and if they didn’t have evidence, the crew could hang him.

History through stories remains locked in young minds.

Handwriting

Some would say handwriting is dead as not all schools expect children to learn cursive, so there is no compelling.

I might be inspired by my father-in-law’s beautiful cursive, and I might also be inspired by my children being able to read their grandpa’s beautiful cursive; either way, the girls are practicing. There are cursive joke books & Scripture books. My third daughter enjoys creating beautiful God-inspired posters that later decorate the refrigerator door.

Our six-year-old learned printing instead. Just a year ago, he fashioned wiki stix to spell out words that he is learning to read. When he first began to read, he ran up to his older sister on the playground to ask, “Rachel, how do you spell egg?” (A sure sign he’s thinking spelling). Now he journals, dictates his creative stories while his older sisters write theirs, and completes his “All About Me” workbook. And he’s working through Explode the Code too. In the last year, he’s gone from reading Dick and Jane, Puff and Spot, to attempting chapter books.

Reading

We have reading lists for each child. I choose books for the kiddos.

Attempting to entice my eldest into writing teen book reviews, I suggested I would purchase a book for her to review if she would write a proper book review. Her book review blog can be found at www.mylifeashannahwiedrick.wordpress.com.

She declared one day, “Mom, I think my spelling is getting better because of my blogging.” Yes!



Typing

There’s a typing program too. A CD that pops into the side of the computer. The girls love screen time.

Phys Ed

The stuff they don’t get in their extracurriculars: tennis, golf, soccer, football, curling, lacrosse, badminton, table tennis, diving, basketball. All of these we find time to do throughout the year. Except for lacrosse. Despite lacrosse being the national sport, I have never even seen it played.

Music

Piano, guitar, choir: one daughter is taking guitar lessons, so she practices every day. The other two girls are in piano lessons. And all three are taking voice lessons and participating in choir.

Extracurricular activities

Youth groups, play dates, park time, coffee shop time, shopping, traveling.


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