Monday, May 9, 2016

What Works for Us

Recently I shared with you how the Lord has changed my way of thinking when it comes to educating my children.  Today I would like to share exactly what our homeschooling day looks like, along with what materials we use.  No, this is not an "infomercial". Yes, I realize each family is different.  What works for us may not work for everyone - and that is okay! We homeschooling moms are unique, our children and their needs are unique, and our family situations are unique.  Some of us live in the U.S., some of us live on foreign soil, but we all have one unifying factor (besides the fact that we homeschool), and that is we have the same Heavenly Father who gives us the strength and courage to live this journey we call "Homeschooling."
Homeschooling, quite honestly, is a subject very dear to my heart.  I was homeschooled from 7th grade all the way through to graduation from high school.  My parents sacrificed a lot for me to be homeschooled, and I have always looked at being homeschooled as a privilege!  I never felt inferior to my peers, and now that I am a homeschooling mom, I look back and truly understand how much my mom sacrificed for my sake - and I am grateful.  I am also grateful that I have the privilege of passing that heritage on to my own children!  There weren't many homeschool curriculums around when I was in school - not like today.  My parents chose to use the ABeka videos with me.  I learned a lot and I can still remember some of the teachers I had.  I had my favorites the same as if I had really been sitting in their classes!
Before the Lord blessed us with our 3 treasures, my Beloved and I made the decision to homeschool our children.  There were so many choices of homeschool curriculum, and it was overwhelming to me when I started looking into all the options.  God has always graciously provided what we have needed for homeschooling.  It was while we were visiting my cousin and his family (who have homeschooled their children), that Matt and I were first introduced to Christian Light Education (CLE).  My cousin's wife had one of their readers, and as we looked through the book, we were struck by the fact that godly character was the emphasis in each story.  We were decided - and that was before we had children!
So what do we use now?  Well, we use a mixture of different things.  Some families choose to use one curriculum all the way through.  I started Martha and Ian both with the "ABC Readiness Books" from Christian Light...they loved those workbooks and learned so much!  It really was great for their K-4/K-5 year.  Since we had already settled on the Christian Light Reading, we decided to use their Language Arts as well.  This has worked well because the Language Arts reinforced what they were learning in "Learning to Read."  The plan right now is to continue with CLE Reading and Language Arts until 8th grade.  For High School, I am planning (unless God changes the plan!) to use ABeka for English and continue with CLE for Reading.
We started having some bumps in the road last year in phonics and reading.  One of my treasures started struggling and I began to consider the possibility of having a dyslexic child.  I started doing some research, and I started asking a dear sister some questions.  I just didn't know which way to turn, and Matt kept encouraging me to try a more "hands-on" approach.  We had just switched to Math-U-See, and my treasures were loving it!  It is hands-on math, taught outside of the traditional methods, and it is just what my children need and love!  The CLE Language Arts has spelling included, but I knew it was only a matter of time before the bumps in the road turned into mountains. A dear sister friend recommended trying All About Spelling.  It is also "hands-on" and once again we had found something that the kids loved!  Now my treasures not only can spell words, but they understand WHY they are spelled that way - it isn't just a bunch of word lists.
For Science we use AIG (Answers In Genesis).  My Beloved is the Bible and Science Professor for our school.  I love that the kids get to have that time with Daddy, that he gets to be involved in their schooling, and that it gives me some "wiggle room" in my schedule.  Some of that "wiggle room" is spent with Phebe, and some in keeping up with daily duties!  I like AIG - it is a multi-level curriculum, with application activities for each level - it keeps Science fun!  We also have the History Curriculum from AIG.  We haven't started that yet.  We spent last year on U.S. Geography and World Geography.  We are continuing with World Geography this year, then we will dive into History.
We have an Art Curriculum from CLE that we really like - "Art With a Purpose."  It is more than just coloring, cutting, and pasting.  It teaches different techniques like drawing, shading, outlining, etc.  
Towards the end of last year, I decided to try something is called "Lapbooking".  Lapbooks are 2 file folders glued together with all kinds of information on a certain topic inside.  The kids make little booklets or fold-outs to put in their lapbook to go with  the topic.  Since I added music class to our schedule for this year, we have a Lapbook just for Music Class.  More fun and hands-on learning!  This year, we are "testing the waters" in the area of Notebooking.  I have been using this method for Geography and the kids love it! So we are going to apply Notebooking to Science this year and at the end of the day (or school year) they will each have their own book to look back at and enjoy for years to come.  It is kind of like scrapbooking for children!  We love it!  
There are all kinds of online resources that I use as many of them have free printable pages.  One of my favorite homeschooling websites is  In fact that is where I got my geography curriculum from!  Erica (the lady who has that blog) also has an e-book called "Homeschooling 101" - it has been a great resource and encouragement to me!  I also recently subscribed (free) to The Old Schoolhouse ( - another source of encouragement to me!  Of course I don't necessarily agree with everything from these websites, but I use what I can and skip the rest!
So that is what our homeschooling life looks like right now.  It could change in the future, but God will show us what we need when we need it!  In the meantime, we are learning to keep learning fun....and that's what works for us!

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