Wrapping Up a Homeschool School-year and Grading the Teacher

Book Cases

So the summer has begun. I officially quit adding to the weekly assignment list spiral over a week ago and we are in our first 2 month summer break in a long while. We have homeschooled year round by necessity for the past few years because of distractions (two of them who are 6 and 4 currently), medical issues, and other problems. I would say that 90% of the time, the year won’t turn out the way you plan it… but about that often, something else will happen that wows you into the realization that God was the one re-directing your steps.

Scattered Lists, Distracted Teen

In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps. ~ Proverbs 16:9

Below is a brief look at what we set out to accomplish and below it is what we actually accomplished. Hopes & Dreams vs. Reality. It is important to note that we don’t get to every subject every day. I don’t want you to look at my list and think, MAN – I need to be doing all of that. Every family is different.

18, 6, 4

I had high school, kindergarten and preschool kids this year and there are days when we covered a lot, and days when we were good to get our teeth brushed and one or two schoolish feats accomplished. The general hope is always that we are prayed up and working hard towards having as many GOOD days as possible so we can reach our goals; but in retrospect, it’s also good to note that God often will trump mama’s best laid out plans because He has something BETTER in mind.

Christmas Devotional Time

Even if that BETTER thing is just cuddling on the couch with a book, or having that deep discussion about the meaning of life that prevents you from getting much more than cooking dinner accomplished on your check list. Give God your eraser. Write your checklists on weekly notebook sheets and keep them movable –  that will save you re-writing time if God wants to add things in to your week that you aren’t expecting.

Teacher Planner

Another good thing to remember is that every teacher makes plans and every teacher faces the reality of ending up having to toss some of them because they can’t all fit in the amount of time you have. It is important to note that even public school teachers have this trouble. Don’t beat yourself up. It is bound to happen. Just keep doing the things you think are the most important and keep finding sneaky ways to add in more learning in to your “free” or fun time and you’ll be fine.

Here’s my 2014-15 wrap up and a grade for the teacher (me) just for fun:

Grading KEY: A= Kicking butt, taking names. B= Great effort. Keep it up! C= Requires improvement, but at least you tried. D= You can do better than this. F= You Lose. Better luck next time.

Educational Activities and Subjects

PBJ by Koko

LIFESKILLS
Daily Chores – I really worked with teaching the little ones to pick up after themselves (A+)
Potty Training – FINALLY (B+)
Cooking – My daughter spatchcocked a chicken by herself (she’s already a gifted baker), and my 6 year old learned how to make his own peanut butter jelly sandwiches this year… I’m still working on teaching the youngest to ask before he pillages the pantry, and my oldest son needs more work on cooking things OTHER than fried and scrambled eggs, although he did accomplish Pioneer Woman’s cinnamon rolls by himself in February, so all wasn’t a loss (B)
Driver’s Ed – It only took a full year, right?! But the 18 year old is finally legal. Wooohooo!!! (C+)
Paid Chores – I mostly just paid a homeschool teenager who is saving up her pennies to come over and help out. My oldest helped mow the yard for pay, so he did get in some bucks now and then – and plans to continue through the summer (C)
Study Skills – This year we plowed through even in the most difficult circumstances, and I would have to say that both my teens have gained a lot of self-motivation and determination over the course of the year – which hopefully will pay off at SAT time this fall (B+)
Organization – I forced this issue pretty fiercely this year and have seen marked improvement by all of the kids, no matter their age. Not to say we don’t have setbacks here and there, but overall, we are continuing to improve (A)
Responsibility – Major growth for most of the kids; no other way to phrase it (A+)
Planning & Time Management – There’s definitely been improvement in this area but more than that, there has been a shift in MY ability to manage expectations, which has in turn taken a lot of weight off of my high schoolers. The eldest told me that he wanted to have a summer this year and we came to a compromise about doing 2 weeks in one all year with history so we could cover a larger swath and stay on track even with taking a month off during the holidays and a month off at Spring break and July and August off. During times off, the kids have done enough basics to compensate for the time they wanted and it has worked out well (B+)

Retreat Smiles

BIBLE/CHARACTER
Prayer Journals – I have really fallen down on this. I don’t know what journaling the big kids have done because I haven’t kept up with even putting this on the list as a priority all school year. The little guys are too young for it yet, also. My teens are doing the Purpose Driven Life journal and will continue that as we finish the book that goes with it next school year, and after that maybe we’ll get back on track (F)
Devotionals & Bible Studies – This year we did Breaking Free by Beth Moore (this one was my fourth time going through it, but the first for my teens even though we had tried a while back and weren’t able to finish that year), When Godly People Do Ungodly Things (also Beth Moore), and just recently we have switched to the Purpose Driven Life devotional and journal to close the year up. We also attended bible themed retreats (well, at least the teenagers and I) and did some personal studying on our own (A)
Reading the Bible at age level – We started off the year strong (me and the little ones), and ended up really not sticking to a daily routine. Need a lot of work on this next year. My big kids were doing a lot of Bible reading with their Biblioplan history program, so I didn’t add in very much extra reading for them (C+)
Teen Bible Class – My teenagers have enjoyed a teen bible study locally this past year and even had some pastoral counsel from the leaders of this group, which was invaluable. My eldest is still attending regularly, and both teens will most likely start back up next school year strong with this group. Our only issue is that when mama is busy watching the little boys or going on photography gigs, transportation is sometimes an issue. That will be on our list for next year’s hopeful lifeskills – both teens driving and at least one of them driving without a parent in the vehicle! (B)
Sermon notes weekly – It was a pipe dream… but maybe next year! (F-)
Ministry and Hospitality – We worked a lot this year on trying to be more hospitable, hosting things, having people over for dinner, cooking for others in need, etc. I think we made a lot of positive strides and all want to continue to grow in this area (A)
Service Project – We did great the first part of the school year, but the second half frittered away because of unforseen detours in our plans – hey, that’s OK… we’ll give this a go again next school year (C)
Virtues – This is a private thing that mama is watching and praying for her kids individually, so my grade here is only for myself, and I’m my biggest critic (B+)

English III Co-Op

PENMANSHIP/GRAMMAR/LANGUAGE
Phonics – Of course the big kids don’t need work on phonics, but my 6 year old is really catching on to reading now that he’s over half way through the ‘Teach Your Child to Read in 100 Easy Lessons’. He asked me last night if we could do 2-3 lessons a day in the summer. I am still on cloud 9 from that statement… and it makes starting OVER from scratch with homeschooling when I will be graduating 2 seniors next year so worth it hearing a little one loving to learn! (A)
Penmanship/Practice Writing – I haven’t pushed writing much with my Kindergartener this year, but he is great with phonics and recognizes all his letters and is reading small words. I really pushed my oldest students (graduating next year) to write early, and felt that I wanted to allow more time for the desire to be present with my youngest kids (6 and 4). I’m focusing more on motor skills and drawing – they love to draw – to prime them for letters in the long run (B-)
Journaling – Not to be confused with prayer journaling, this is just personal journaling. I sometimes mix the two in one, though. My big kids have done this on their own and I let them be in charge of it. They also art-journal of their own accord. I don’t grade any of this. I am just grading my efforts at encouraging them to do it, despite my lack of doing it for myself, which was the goal. Adding both of those together, I’d give myself a C because of lack of demonstration/example (C-)
English III – My kids did a full program English III at the start of the year, but after the holidays we slacked back to just writing essays and reading literature. The final essay of 2014-15 is still outstanding, in fact, and due by the end of July. Both of my kids are solid in grammar and vocabulary, and very talented writers, so I’m not concerned at all about this. I do, however, plan to ramp up prep for the SAT next year and find a good English IV program for 2015-16 to use depending on what classes my teens are interested in. My eldest wants to focus on creative writing and is writing a book in his spare time, and my 16 year old is interested in pursuing creative writing in college, now (she’s a bit fickle yet)… so we may scrap English IV for Creative writing pursuits, just depends on where we want the transcript to wind up (B-)
Research Papers – 3 papers for the year (honestly – I don’t even know if this is standard or not? Next year I’m assigning 4 unless they take an English/Creative Writing Class outside of home and then I’ll assign 2). One of their assigned papers for this school year is yet outstanding, so I’ll wait and see what the end grade is by whether I’m able to get them to turn it in on time and how much effort I inspire them to put in to it (for certain, I’ve had my share of difficulties getting them to START)… (?)
Penpals/Cards – We flopped this, but mama has tried to keep up with cards for the most part… even if they are beyond tardy. I say this as I sit staring at a stack of 8-12 graduation congratulation cards I’ve had on my desk for two months! (C+)
Creative Writing – The only creative writing that has happened this year has been totally child-led and on their own time, so I’m giving myself a low score just for not including it more or assigning it (C+)
Flashcards – I haven’t used very many flashcards this year after the holidays because my youngest kept getting the dry erase ones so messy and it was hard to clean up after him (those were his favorite). I’ll have to start back up with them next school year when we begin First Grade. (C-)
Songs – Definitely not something I focused on this year, despite having it on my list at the beginning of the year as a goal. Better luck in 2015-16! (D-)
Letter Activities and Games – I was spread too thin this year to focus much on games, but we did play a TON of board games this year and my 6 year old is now able to play sequence with the adults and actually may be a formidable opponent with a few more practice games. He is more math oriented, which is foreign to me – the only child I have so far who loves numbers and math! I need to work more on letter games next year and letter crafts for first grade / pre-K (D)
Online and Computer Alphabet Games – We did great with this at the beginning of the school year and the little guys continued to play games on the iPad and Nook devices, but the computer games (which are more important to me so they learn computer skills) fizzled out and became boring for them early on, and I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on newer online game programs, so we did less of these than I had hoped for the school year. Another issue was that my youngest has really been more of a wiggle worm than I ever expected and his attention span is still so slight that he won’t sit down for even a few minutes at a time without getting bored. This is one reason I’m for sure keeping him in Pre-K instead of moving him into Kindergarten next year as I did his older sister when she was his age (C)

Garden Curls

SCIENCE
Anatomy & Physiology – We decided to do this for Senior year, so we have not done this yet (N/A)
Physics Rocket Team / Physics – My kids did a lot of reading for Physics and participated in a Team America Rocketry Challenge group that worked at building rockets and qualifying through launches so they could compete in DC. Unfortunately, they ended up not qualifying. And hey — does target practice at the range count as physics? Surely it does (B)
Science Reader – My little guys enjoyed reading science related books and watching science related children’s programs on Netflix this year as part of our Kindergarten and preschooling, but we didn’t read through the A Beka or other textbook based science books like I had originally planned at the beginning of the year. My 6 year old is fascinated by space like his oldest brother, and he spent a majority of the school year playing with space toys, looking at space books, drawing planets and making me watch boring netflix movies, so I’m giving them a higher grade in this area mainly because they got the science in regardless of me failing to force a textbook on them – Kudos to the Kindergartener! (B)
Nature Journals and Walks – We completely failed with this. Didn’t crack open the nature journals this year. Definitely will correct this issue in 2015-16. (F-)
Research and Projects – We didn’t do a science fair this year with our co-op and didn’t do any home experiments (as far as the little guys go) – aside from your random nature and cooking things that happen as a part of life. I count the Physics Rocket Team as our main project for the school year for my big kids. If you consider technology as part of science, which most people do, learning photography skills would definitely be a project my eldest did well with in 2015. Oh, and flying a plane for the first time by himself might qualify?! He did some STEM learning and flight training in his local flying club he joined in the spring. I’m hoping he can continue to be part of that for 2015-16. (C+)
Gardening – We started strong and worked our butts off outside in the early spring, but… man: weeds. I’m still picking carrots, oregano, peppers, chives, rosemary, chocolate mint, cinnamon basil, and hopefully pumpkins later on this year… but you have to search for them in the weed forest (C-)
Health & Nutrition – Even dad jumped on the bandwagon this year. By George, I think we may be headed for healthier days ahead! (A)

TARC 2014-15

MATH
Geometry, Trigonometry & Pre-Calculus – We ended up not finishing up Algebra II in time to get to this VideoText program in Junior year. This has been my main source of angst as far as school has gone this year – because SAT is looming. Algebra II is going to be finished by August and we are starting not only Geometry/Trig & Pre-Cal VideoText in September, but we are increasing how many lessons we are doing and starting tutoring and SAT prep this summer in math. My son has a private tutor lined up he’s starting with just to get extra cramming in prior to the fall SAT and my daughter is considering a class on SAT prep for math. Math has always been an Achilles heel for my oldest kids (D+)
Manipulative Math Program – I have not had to do very much math with my 6 year old. He does it all on his own. He often quizzes his oldest brother on Math problems at the dinner table, even. I’ve taken a much more CM natural learning approach with him. Next year, I’m thinking of doing Miquon with him like I did with his oldest brother. I don’t even know if they still sell it, but I’m going to search online for it. If he flies through it, which I believe he will, maybe I’ll start Math U See with him also. I have a feeling this one will be my dream math student! It will be fun just trying to keep my 4 year old from losing all the manipulatives since that is what happens with his Legos. My score for this is high not because of my efforts, but because of his bent and God-given talents (B-)
Learning to Write and Recognize Numbers – I didn’t have to do this. He writes numbers almost daily because he loves it. Another thing I get to take credit for even though I didn’t do much more than make the paper available (A+)
Counting to 100 – Done. My Kindergartener is a pro. (A+)

READING/COMPREHENSION/MEMORY
Memorizing scripture, poetry, etc. – I read things to them, but didn’t require them to memorize, so my goal wasn’t met – however, my daughter went crazy reading and writing her own poetry. She’s always been an artsy type. Apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. In fact, both of my teens are pretty poetic (D+)
Narrating after we read – I have asked my 6 year old to repeat stories to me this year, but not on a daily schedule… need to do more of this next year (C)
Read-alouds – We didn’t do a family read-aloud, but mama (and even older siblings) did read aloud to the little guys often. The closest we came to this was reading one of our history books aloud while the little guys were in the room this past spring – even though the book was way above their reading level; the topic of the book was about kings and knights and such, so I was hoping they would glean something (C-)
Library books – I managed to sort most of my library card issues out and we only had two times this year where we had fines, so I consider that a success. We didn’t use the library as much as I had hoped, though, and didn’t participate in the local homeschool co-op stuff for the little guys like I wanted to (B-)
Free reading – Everyone did some free reading, even mom… and while the little boys can’t actually read yet, they often brought books to me after looking at them to ask me what they said. My 6 year old also wrote his first book this year — har har — no, really, he drew a picture book and brought it to me and had me write down the story, then we put it in a plastic report protector. He was so proud! (B+)
History reading – And then there’s that. LOTS and LOTS of reading. There’s still a list of books we are finishing up over the summer. I’m happy as a clam about them reading more, but there was much weeping and gnashing of teeth – and I did allow my oldest to watch Henry V on Amazon Prime Video so he didn’t have to read it – shhhh! (A)

Piano Man

MUSIC
Singing – lots of it happened, but not anything assigned… I’m ok with that. We are pretty musical with a piano teacher for a grandma (B)
Piano – totally slacked off this year… no excuses… need to ramp it up in 2015-16 and quit playing the same old tunes over and over (C)
Period/Composer Study – nope (F-)
Music Theory – YES! My 6 and 4 year olds ATE UP every video episode of Quaver’s Marvelous World of Music. It was an old review item I had and I could watch them over and over every year. They never get old. (A+)

FOREIGN LANGUAGE
Finished Spanish II (didn’t take Spanish III this year) – BUMMER, but if I had made them, they would have revolted (F-)
Introductory Spanish for toddlers – didn’t happen (F-)

iPad Faces

TECHNOLOGY
Learning software – My oldest kid and I embarked on a photography class free-for-all this year and we have put in many, many hours. Mostly me, but he has watched about 20 hours worth of my last 30-something hour class and some here and there of my other classes. If only he wanted to grow up and be a photographer! It is a hobby for him, not a passion and business like it is for me. I think at the beginning of the year I had this as a goal for the little dudes, but we didn’t use computer games from software this year. That will be on next year’s list for sure for the younger set. As for the big kids, I hope they will join me with more photography online classes next year. I am trying to put in at least 5 hours a week, if not more (B)
Blogging – All of us took a blogging break this year. The eldest never really blogged to begin with. My daughter has blogged some, but just poetry and such, and random at best. I have been in homeschool/photography mode and have found little time to stay current in here this year, but trust me… I’m not giving up. I’m just living a little so I have more to share when there is time. I’m savoring these teenagers every second I have them before they fly away into their own little nests… and squishing on the little boys while they still have soft fluffy cheeks and the four year old has rubber band wrists and a variety of “baby talk” words I won’t allow anyone to correct. Blogging for my big kids is no longer on my homeschool radar… and for the little ones, I’d love for them to be ignorant of the internet until they are 30. But mama will be here. Not planning to quit any time soon (C-)
Typing – My daughter types well – probably 60 words per minute. My 18 year old son is content with 35 words per minute hunt-and-peck. It isn’t like he didn’t have the same oportunities. He just cheated and kept taking his speedskin keyboard cover off and watching where his fingers were. Ugh. I have given up trying to convince him he needs to re-learn finger placement. I did this exact same thing and finally went back to community college in my 20’s for a job assignment and re-learned to type. The motivation must come from within! We didn’t do much by way of typing but practice our already standing skills this year, so my score is low. However, if you consider that mama (the old dog) has learned a new trick: fast texting; you might consider giving me an A+ in this area. (C)
Internet Research / Social Media – My kids are the boss with all online technology. They probably invented the internet… no, wait, that was Al Gore (A+)

Our Lady of La Antiqua - 17-18th Century, Unknown at Blanton Museum of Art Austin

Our Lady of La Antiqua – 17-18th Century, Unknown Cuzco Painter at Blanton Museum of Art Austin

HISTORY
Reading books and biographies/autobiographies – I did say we were kicking butt in history this year, didn’t I? If not, I should. I added Biblioplan to our Mystery of History this year and finally have reached homeschool history nirvana. One area I could improve, though: gathering books well in advance of units; especially if we plan to keep up the 2 weeks per week pace in 2015-16 (A)
Timeline Book – good intentions, no follow-through… but there’s always next year, if I can talk my seniors into understanding that there truly IS a purpose in timelines other than “mom likes them” (help me out???) (F)
History binder & notecards – They did this reluctantly, but we slacked on the notecards and I finally gave in and stopped making them worry about it. Honestly, they have a year left of school and we are only using MOH as the supplement to Biblioplan now, so we are skipping out on the notecards just for Senior year. I will resume them when the younger kids are using MOH, though, because they are a great way to add depth to your learning by writing short bits about each character/event (C)
Activities – We did a lot less history activities but the ones we did were meaningful, so this worked out well and served to lessen the load and focus our energies more (less “busy work”) (B+)
Movies and documentaries – LOTS AND LOTS, and they will still be rolling in as we are all queued up in Netflix for the summer, much to the teens’ chagrin (A+)
Field Trips – Quite a few fun ones this year, but still haven’t made it to Medieval Times, as promised… waiting on those essays (B)

Rows of Sunflowers

GEOGRAPHY
Visualize World Geography – Didn’t happen this year because the little guys weren’t ready. Next year for sure… and my low grade is just because it was bad planning on my part (D)
Co-Op Culture Fair (once a year) – Big kids did a pretty last-minute job of a study on Norway, while the little kids learned about Turkey with mom (C)
Geography as part of History / Geography as part of Current Events & Pen Pals – We did this all year. Prayed for our sisters and brothers in countries where they are persecuted… but not enough (never can pray enough). We slacked off on writing our “brother”/”son” in India with Compassion. He’s graduating next year, so I need to make letters to him top on the correspondence list for the kids this fall before October ends as it will take them nearly until the holidays to reach him (B+)

Wrong Rainbows

ART
Art Textbooks – We studied these with the little kids in the early part of the school year, but slacked off. Will resume in 2015-16 as they are more able to do arts and crafts with finer motor skills (C-)
Period/Artist Study – We glossed over a few famous artists in our art books, but didn’t spend any real time on this since my little guys are too young to remember much (B-)
Draw, Write Now! – Not yet (shouldn’t have had this on the schedule for Kindergarten) (N/A)
Photography – YES, for the 18 year old for sure… he has stepped in as my second shooter in my business, so he’s definitely getting a photography credit this year on his transcript, and my 16 year old is gifted with Instagram as well, and could do second shooting if she put her mind to it (A+++)
Interior Decorating and Design Projects – Very few, but my daughter painted her bedroom walls in a cloud mural that is pretty fantastic (C-)
Drawing and Painting – All of the above. Couldn’t stop them if I tried. Just need to focus next year on helping them create an Etsy shop and selling it all (A)
Art Classes – Not this year, couldn’t afford to add it in (N/A)
Crafts and DIY – Only when the need arose and not as many as I had wanted to do with the little boys, but I plan to do much more next year (D)

Junior Prom

ENRICHMENT
Field Trips – Fun stuff, enjoyed them, and will be reviewing them for the blog as time permits (B+)
Park Days – We didn’t go to many formal park days with our co-op this year because of other commitments (C-)
Co-Op Activities – Mostly we just did mom’s meetings and fellowships, and field trips, but next year the co-op will have academic and enrichment classes, so this should be more available (B-)
Social Opportunities – Teen Bible, Rocket Club, Youth Group Activities, Church Activities, Reunions, Social Gatherings, Dances, Junior Prom, Etc. (A+)
Community Activities – Volunteering, Teen Court, and my 16 year old got her first job this year at Dairy Queen for the summer (B)
Hobbies – As time permitted (C)

Fast Food

EXTRA CREDIT:
Business Training / Startups – OK, so maybe this can fit under lifeskills, technology, math, art, all of the above! What a rush! Mama’s small less than part time photography business blossomed in 2015. My eldest has helped me every step of the way along this new journey and is part of the process currently of helping me grow my business. I hope that my daughter will be involved in it going forward also. Both of my oldest two are talented and I’m hoping they continue to at least keep photography as a hobby if they don’t do something more business-oriented with their talents in the area later in life. (A+)

Photography Business Cards

Special Mention – So there’s our 2014-15 in a nutshell. Overall, I’m happier with this year – even through all the difficulties we rode through – than the past couple of years when our obstacles derailed us more often. If I had to add a character quality that many of us have gained this year, I would say it has been GRIT. Grit is a great thing to gain.  In addition to grit, we have learned to lean heavily on Jesus when the valley is darkest. That may not be a character development on our part, but certainly is a road to peace and deeper faith (A+++)

Now that I can look back on some of my failures and successes from 2014-15, I can see WHY things didn’t work, or WHY they did. I can see what we gave up on and what we finished. I can see where God moved in and redirected. Now that I’ve looked back, it will be easier to plan the coming school year. Just one more year before those transcripts are final! ::: eeek! :::

Here’s hoping your 2015-16 is your best school year yet. I know I am going to be cherishing every SECOND of it with two kids graduating next May! ::: hold me :::

Subscribe to Sprittibee by Email

Comments

  1. Whitney Lavender says

    I would say you all get an A+ for the year! What an inspiration you are to me still. You must be a very proud momma!!

    • says

      I am definitely proud of the kids. That’s for sure. My grade is not so hot, but God is able to work through me and despite my faults and limitations. He is the one who gets the A+. 😉

  2. Lesa says

    Stumbled across your blog…We’re on the Fort Worth area. homeschooling for many years. Graduated 2, have 7 to go and feeling wiped out. We just adopted 2 girls from an EE country 6 months ago. They are 14 and 11 but are about K level academically (due to lack of educational opportunities in their native country). I’m looking for some homeschool inspiration! I’d love to know what you are using or have used for curriculum. Specifically for 5th grade, 9th and 11th.
    God Bless
    Lesa

    • says

      I have a ton of posts about curriculum if you google “sprittibee” + “curriculum” you can find a bunch. Right now we are doing Senior level material, so I’m not sure that would help, but just in a nut shell, we did KONOS for most of elementary and switched to more of a Charlotte Mason/Unschooling method when we were in Junior High due to health problems. I’ve always been eclectic and have used different curriculums for each subject – whatever was sparking their interest and working a the time. We also had the older kids in some online classes, some one-day classes at local “homeschool schools” taught by other teachers who were homeschool parents that had degrees in the field or similar ones, etc. We have done video programs and even chat-based programs which were taught by teachers in another country (British Lit – England)! What you can’t cover at home, you can outsource, or find a tutor for, or find another teacher’s materials that are either online or in video format for. These days there’s a curriculum for ANYTHING and EVERYTHING you want to teach. Some of our choices have been completely led by financial reasons, some by opportunities that have just come up for us through others, and some have been from finding things at homeschool conferences.

      Right now we are doing Senior Year plus 1st Grade and a little Preschool on the side. My seniors are taking Dave Ramsey’s Financial class for teens, VideoText’s Geometry/Pre-Cal/Trig, Answers in Genesis’ Anatomy & Physiology, and they are doing Bible Studies, Creative Writing, Service Projects, and possibly some classes at a local homeschool co-op and extra curricular stuff like getting a pilot’s license, driver’s ed for the 16 year old, and creative pursuits on their own – writing, art, crafts, life-skills, personal reading goals, etc. I’m using Mystery of History as a supplement to Biblioplan for our final thrust through early modern and modern history chronologically, also. Most of our literature and essay-writing will be tied in to our history program. History is MY favorite part of school besides art, but the kids like Creative Writing, science (18yo), and art (16yo) better.

      As for the little guys, we are doing 1st Grade. Nothing hard about that. 😉 Reading, phonics, learning to write, drawing, beginning math, manipulatives, hands-on science experiments, field trips, lots and lots of reading, plugging them in on a small level to the teens’ history program with picture books and crafts, life-skills (shoe-tying, time management, chores, safety), learning about our community and jobs people have, learning to tell time, learning about germs, fire, & other safety issues, US & world geography…. just lots and lots of READING and Netflix and play dates and gardening and hugs and kisses and snacks! I’d also love to get them started on piano and basic PC skills/typing. Apps that are less about video-gaming and more about education is the direction I’m headed with this year, also. I already started them on a chore chart app and they are reluctantly participating. I’m going to have to make screen time a reward if I want them to keep it up!

  3. says

    Hi! I found your comment on the. “Say no to co ops” article and saw you participate (plan?) and homeschool moms retreat. I found your blog and have been encourage to read as a new hs mama and mother of three at home and one on the way. My girlfriend and I are planning our first retreat for hs mamas in our area and I’m looking forward to reading more about faith and homeschooling and hopefully your retreat on your blog! :)

    • says

      Couldn’t afford a retreat this year! 😉 I am doing a one-day all-day “faux library planning day” at a church instead. If you can’t find a way to get away out of town, or can’t afford it, there’s always other options if you get creative!