I frequently visit the Well Trained Mind message boards for inspiration, curriculum ideas, and to commiserate with fellow homeschooling mommies. One poster on the forums suggested linking our blogs in a blog hop, a sort of Who's Who for homeschooling, blogging moms....
On the left is Haley. She is my only child still homeschooling and I imagine with her lifestyle will homeschool until she heads to college or conservatory whichever she decides on. Haley is 8 years old...only one more month until she is 9! We tell people she'd be in 3rd grade if she were in school because it is way easier than explaining the different grades she is for each subject. Words I'd use to describe Haley...funny, intelligent, mature, talented, self motivated, and snuggley.
School subjects: Music, reading, and writing.
Color: Lime green
Book: "Out of My Mind" by Sharon Draper
Activity: Playing violin and Irish fiddle...hanging out in Irish pubs with her adult, musician friends.
Movie: Old Yeller
Haley's brother, Newt, is in the middle. He entered public school last year and this year is a freshman in high school. He is 15 years old and will be 16 in November (Ahh! Driving permit on the horizon! This is fair warning to all drivers out there.) Words I'd use to describe Newt...determined, strong, a leader, hard worker, and sometimes goofy.
School subject: Gym
Book: "The Outsiders" by S.E. Hinton
Sport: Wrestling (can you tell by the busted up nose in the photo?)
Activity: Wrestling and lifting weights/training for wrestling
Movie: "Ace Ventura"
Game: Candyland (Jokester, my son)
On the right is Dylan. Dylan went to school for the first time this year. He is in 7th grade. Dylan is 13 years old and will be 14 in October. Words I'd use to describe Dylan...creative, talented, sweet, laid back, and cool.
School subject: Science
Book: "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules" (Not so sure if he was being serious)
Activity: Playing guitar, banjo, or mandolin and trying out other new stringed instruments then asking me to purchase them.
Haley uses a variety of curriculum. We follow the Well Trained Mind history and science rotations for the most part though we did take a detour this year and do American History which we will continue next year using Joy Hakim's History of US as a spine with some lapbooking and extra readings thrown in for fun.
Math is Saxon with some supplements like Hands on Equations and Thinkwell. For biology this year we used PLATO science as the spine with tons of additional books, a little dissection, and experiments.
For language arts we've also used a variety from MCT Grammer Town level to Classical Writing to Best Short Stories. Haley loves to write so she does so often on her own whether it is a report on some subject she is interested in to her own short stories. She uses Spelling Power for a few months a year but is a natural speller so it is mostly just to make Mommy feel better.
For foreign languages we use Rosetta Stone and Destinos. She did Hands On History lapbooks for music and still working on artists this year as well as geography using the books like Minn of the Mississippi that came with a study guide and maps.
Ha! Funny you should ask. As the title of my blog suggests, we do a lot of driving mostly to Haley's violin lessons, orchestra rehearsals, Irish pubs, and fiddle lessons. (The car we purchased in February has 10K miles just to give you an idea of what I mean by a lot.) Some of Haley's school work is done in the car. Some is done either at the computer in the living room (Thinkwell and PLATO) or laying on the floor in the music room/school room. The rest is done sitting in waiting areas while Newt has wrestling practice...this is Haley's best work environment. She tends to be a night owl, preferring to spend her days practicing her instrument or working on her writings.
Some of the when is above in the where section. Ideally we homeschool 4 days a week (they might not always be weekdays) from the end of August through June. We then cut back to 2-3 days a week through the summer concentrating on math, finishing up history and science, and doing fun things like art.
I am eclectic homeschooler. My homeschool has looked different for each child. Haley is a very motivated kid and has definite ideas of what she wants to learn. I loosely follow a classical approach in that we cover a wide variety of topics to make her well rounded but we do it in an unschooling kind of way meaning I am more a mentor to her. I suggest curriculum, keep a wide variety of materials on hand, and help her along the way. We work on her schedule often just because we can...she's the only one home and it's just her and I. We've become more structured over the years but she's kind of led the way with that as well.
I started homeschooling because Newt started reading right before his 4th birthday. He was a teacher's worst nightmare in preschool...running out of the room, climbing tables, and talking constantly. He was not a mean kid...he was a nightmare in the sweetest sense of the word (LOL)...he was just bored. He has a late birthday for school enrollment so would have had to spend another year in preschool or I could have put him in the expensive private school early for K (but it was way too expensive).
I had no idea what to do so I started reading and researching. I hit on the idea of homeschooling and figured we had a year to use as a trial so we started. It wasn't easy. I went to school, excelled, and loved school. I wasn't the kind of person who went against the grain so to speak. But we jumped in and never looked back.
We took it year by year because it just worked with our lifestyle. I figured I would give the kids a good solid foundation, not only academically but within their own selves so they would be better prepared to handle the pressures of growing up. When Newt hit 8th grade, we knew he'd have to enter school to wrestle in high school so we put him in a year early to learn the ropes. He was accelerated academically so, academically, school was not a challenge but he made the transition well and I had never planned on him graduating early anyway.
This past summer, Dylan asked to go to school so we let him. It was the best choice for him. He has never been my most motivated learner and tended to be difficult to get to work but now as a school student, he comes home after school, does his homework, and takes pride in his work and his grades. The peer pressure was actually a good thing for this one.
Haley practices her music a lot every day and she is very accelerated academically, moreso than Newt was. I can't see her ever "fitting" into a school environment or "fitting" school into her lifestyle. I have plans to continue with her indefinitely.