I’ve been dreading writing this post. Not because I hate homeschooling – I actually really love it! I dread it because I assume you, the readers, are expecting something big and wildly impressive. If you are looking for an incredible pinterest-worthy homeschool method full of organized charts and binders, you will not find it here. I have a completely more laid back approach that works great for our family. My main goal with this post is to help parents realize that it doesn’t need to be elaborate for it to be effective.
Know that YOU are Enough!
When we made the decision to travel and I was hit with the reality that I would be my children’s teacher, I was overwhelmed and felt significantly unqualified. My son was 5 and had to learn how to read. My daughter was 7 and was just introduced to multiplication in her current school. I was just a mom with no formal teaching experience. How in the world would I know how to teach these naturally curious beings such important skills?!
Then, we started. We jumped right into it head first. Just two short months later, my son was reading, my daughter was completing timed-tests with minutes to spare, and I was teary-eyed in the corner beaming with pride. Don’t underestimate you or your kids. Together, you can do the seemingly impossible!
Pick a Homeschooling Curriculum that Works for YOUR Family
If you’ve ever looked into homeschooling, you know the hundreds and hundreds of different ways to approach it. Researching them made my head spin. I know some great parents that only read with their children, while other great parents follow a structured curriculum. Both work great for their family. I had to find a method that was good for my family? I started by making a mental list of what I wanted and didn’t want…
1) We’d be going on field trips almost every single day, so I knew that I couldn’t commit to following a structured lesson plan.
2) It was obvious that my kids would learn so much about history, language, arts, and culture through our travels, so I didn’t even want to worry about those subjects.
3) It’s important to me that my kids continue working on their handwriting the old-fashioned way, so I wanted a traditional workbook instead of a digital one.
4) We couldn’t travel with piles of books, but reading is a huge part of any school. I wanted books. Lot of books. (For me, too!)
What Works for MY Family?
For those who don’t know, we are full-time travelers and field trips make up the majority of our kids’ schooling. Because they’re introduced to so many new things through our travels, everything else just isn’t stressed about. They’ve toured and visited some of the most popular landmarks in the world. They’ve seen and handled many different kinds of money. They’ve toured some of the most prestigious art museums in the world. They’ve learned how to say “hello”, “please”, “thank you”, etc. in multiple languages. They’ve witnessed the worshipping of different religions. They’ve interacted with nice people from all walks of life. The list is endless. Kids are exposed to so much when you explore different cultures. We are so blessed to give them this amazing opportunity.
I finally came across these amazing curriculum workbooks and ordered them. They’re called Comprehensive Curriculum of Basic Skills and they have one for each grade. The day after I ordered them, my very good friend (who happens to be one of the best kindergarten teachers on the planet) texted me a picture of the exact books and said, “If you’re still looking for a good homeschooling curriculum, I saw these today at the teacher store and they’re very good!” That confirmed my decision! So, I can personally say that these books are teacher-approved by a teacher I adore and trust.
I was able to peek inside before purchasing and picked the ones that met my kids’ levels. These books are broken into 5 subjects: Reading, Reading Comprehension, English, Spelling, and Math. Each subject covers a wide area of basic introductions within that subject. For example, in 1st Grade English, my son is taught and tested about Nouns and Verbs, Adjectives, Synonyms, Antonyms, Homophones, Abbreviations, Sentences, and Punctuation.
Math & Spelling Books
Because I chose to steer away from the structured and strict homeschooling curriculums, we can work at our own pace. We don’t move on until they understand the skill being taught. If they need more practice, I make up my own worksheets or get ideas on Pinterest. If something isn’t working, change it! For example, I noticed that they needed more math practice and expand they vocabulary/spelling, so I picked up these little notebooks and turned them into their math and spelling books. Every day they have school, they do one page in each.
Each day, they either have a math worksheet or play a math game. Pinterest has recently introduced us to the game called UNO Flip and it’s been a big hit. You have two piles of UNO cards (make sure they’re all number cards) and then flip them over and write them in a number sentence along with the answer.
They are given 5 new spelling words each week and they write them in fun new ways every day. At the end of the week, they are tested on those words. If they miss any, they have that word again the following week. It works perfectly for us and the kids are having fun with it!
While their workbooks require some reading, especially in the Reading Comprehension subject, they needed a lot more. For a few weeks, I was dependent on free books from the Apple Book Store. It was terrible and definitely not enough. We finally signed up for Kindle Unlimited through Amazon. It is AMAZING!!! We pay a measly $10/month to have access to hundreds of thousands of great children’s books! It is so fast and easy to download them and sync them on their iPads. They offer a 30-day free trial if you want to try it out. I can’t believe how much this has made a difference in their schooling. For example, this week we started learning about the Solar System and I quickly downloaded several books, both fiction and non-fiction, to go along with the lessons!
When I first started homeschooling, I was all business. I typed out an agenda and tried to stick to it. When the kids got behind in their workbooks because of a field trip, I’d make the kids catch up as soon as possible. I went crazy and the kids weren’t enjoying it at all. Adjust your method until you get it right. If you and the kids aren’t having fun, something needs to be changed. Kids naturally ask a lot of questions, so use these questions as teaching opportunities! For example, my son just asked me this morning why beavers chop down trees. I downloaded a quick book about beavers and can’t wait to read it with him on Monday. And, maybe I’ll find a fun activity on Pinterest later. We’ll see! 🙂
Any Questions or Comments?
There you have it, folks. I think I covered most of the questions that I’ve been asked. If you still have any questions about my homeschooling, please don’t hesitate to ask! If you have any suggestions or tips you can offer me as I’m treading my way through this, please let me know!
That’s all she wrote – thanks for reading!