Lori at http://www.mylittlewonders.blogspot.com/ has been asking for more particulars on our homeschool, so I thought I might as well make it a blog post because perhaps someone else "out there" is wondering the same thing.
I first started homeschooling the Elf quite suddenly in November of 2006, less than a month before J was born. He had a 504 plan at the public school and was *only* going to school for three hours a day to begin with. Of those three hours, about half the time was spent on non-academics (gym, art, recess, etc.). I didn't feel the need to jump in and do eight hours of nose-to-the-grindstone work right off the bat with my small Elf.
Amount of Time I Homeschool
I spent about three hours a day working with Elf when he first came home. Only it wasn't work. This poor little boy who had been traumatized by school now got cuddle-time with Mom while he read aloud. He could listen to Emperor read Dick and Jane just for the fun of it as well. We had *no idea* that we would be homeschooling the Emperor the following school year. We were just learning together and the time was pretty unstructured.
After a few weeks, we had a routine down. We started the day by writing our date and doing a Bible lesson. We did some math. We did some reading. We added Social Studies and later Science to our schoolwork, but we've discovered that covering Social Studies AND Science each day is a bit of a pain. I do a unit of Social Studies (a little each schoolday) and then a unit of Science. I think there is more continuity that way, but other homeschools might like to do shorter amounts of time and pack more subjects in to each day.
The time we spend on our homeschool is variable. This fall, we literally spent six hours each day on actual homeschool WORK. Yes, little kids can do that. Real work. You just alternate the math, English and "fun" items so that they think they're getting a break every now and then LOL! I knew that baby S was going to be coming sooner or later and I wanted to have the bulk of the actual schoolwork done by then. We now have well over 900 of the 1000 required hours for the year. I can now literally sit back, bake muffins with the boys each day and call it "home ec" and be done with my requirements for the year. I'm not going to, but it *does* take a lot of pressure off, knowing that I can relax a bit.
Now, we're doing 3 1/2 to 4 hours each day. I need to add this piece of information, however: We usually only get two or three subjects done each day. We're doing more "fun" things like art and home ec and taking our time in wrapping up the second grade curriculum. We may take a week off every now and then between now and the beginning of next school year (July 1).
But next year, I think we'll start on the crazy schedule again so that I get some wiggle room at the end of next year as well.
Essential Odds N Ends
At first, I bought a few Sam's Club workbooks for Elf. They're a great value for younger grades, and if you're doing a Bible study as well you'll have all the bases covered. After schooling Elf for a little bit and feeling we've gotten some of the basics covered (not "down," but "covered" LOL!), I wanted a curriculum that would help me teach. The Bob Jones stuff works the BEST, although it is terribly expensive. We are doing Lifepacs for Science and Horizons for Math. I haven't even begun most of our third grade curriculum, but I'm already looking into fourth grade resources. I'm seriously considering plunking a big chunk of money down for an entire year's curriculum in Bob Jones. But... I have a whole year to seriously consider a lot of options and I like looking at what's available online.
One thing I enjoy doing is going into the CBD website (link at left) and browsing the homeschool section. Frequently they will have a "look inside" button and I like to peek in books and materials to see if they're right for us. You're not supposed to, and it's probably technically illegal, but I have printed out a sample lesson and tried teaching it to the boys. That's how I discovered how easy the Bob Jones curriculum can be... trying it myself. Seeing the boys able to do the work as directed. I really would have no way of knowing otherwise without the sample, I think. That's what pushed me into making such a costly purchase! I'd strongly suggest looking at the website and seeing what's in the book. I'm happy with my purchases because I did!!
A Word of Encouragement
We all have difficult days. And weeks. But I think over the long haul there is a great deal of joy in teaching one's children. They're only small for a little while. I feel that I've missed so much with Patrick and G going to public school... but I only discovered that when I began teaching Elf and Emperor. *sniff* It's technically never too late, but past a certain age I think it WOULD be difficult to become "teacher" as well as mom. They are able to participate in some of our activities if we hold them on the weekends. We've had fun building gingerbread houses and doing various home ec projects together as well. Homeschooling in my opinion can make you closer as a family.
Bless you and thanks for reading my long-winded post!!