Tag Archives: Homeschool

Our Homeschool Curriculum

Our Homeschool Curriculum for First Grade @JessicaMWhite.com

*This post does contain affiliate links: You can find my disclosure policy here.

When we first considered homeschooling I was quickly overwhelmed with all of the different subjects, the different creators and everything else that goes along with it. I was familiar with some of them {my sister was homeschooled}, which helped, but I still felt way out of my comfort-zone. I began joining different facebook groups and reading blogs; asking what they were using, what their kids were like, what worked for them and what didn’t.

I ordered catalogs and compared curriculum and cost, how much prep time lessons would take me, and whether it sounded interesting. After all that, I placed my curriculum orders and STILL didn’t know if I was ordering the right things for us. Homeschooling really is a leap of faith, whether you’re a Christian family or not. It’s about taking a chance and praying {or hoping} that you’re getting it right. It’s also about humility and admitting when something just isn’t working for you.

I knew for us that we were going to be combining Kindergarten and First grade in certain subjects. I knew that I was going to have 4 other kids that demanded my attention during schooling. I knew that if Avelyn doesn’t like doing something she flat-out won’t do it, no matter how much you threaten or coerce. These were all things that I took into considering.

The majority of our curriculum is from Sonlight, which is what I was most familiar with from my sister and other homeschooling families. I liked how the lesson plans were all laid out for me. I could just sit down and do school without having to wonder if we were on track or covering everything we should or spend hours creating lesson plans.

What do we have?Our Homeschool Curriculum for First Grade @JessicaMWhite.com

Science A – Biology, Botany, and Physics
This is by far Ave’s favorite subject! She loves learning about animals and plants, how the world works, and why things are the way they are. If I let her, we’d do only science and never anything else. We love the primary text for this, Usborne’s Children’s Encyclopedia, the pictures are beautiful, the text is easy to read and understand. It’s just fun!

We also have some other materials that go along with the book: There’s an InquisiKid DVD, which Ave loves watching them do experiments {and I don’t have to deal with the mess}; there are also simple reader books, about different subjects, to supplement the lessons. It’s one of the most enjoyable parts of our school time.

Intro to World History (Year 1 of 2)
This has been a lot of fun too, but there are a lot of things to do in each days lesson. Honestly, most of our school time is spent doing world history, because there are so many things to read. There are actual fiction books we read together, textbook reading, and non-fiction readings.  Two of the texts that we use quite frequently, and make this all the more enjoyable are Usborne’s Time Traveller and The Usborne Book of World HistoryWhat is great about both of these books is that they’re just wonderful books to have in our family library! {We use a lot of Usborne books in our curriculum}.

Language Arts 1
Honestly, Language Arts is the bane of my existence. You would think as someone who has a BS in English, this would be fantastic for me, but it’s not. Mainly because I made a mistake. I didn’t realize that this Language Arts level assumes that your child can read already. Avelyn absolutely could read, if she wanted to.

She’s able to pick out words here and there, but gets easily frustrated with herself. We do the best we can with this right now. Right now, I’m actually considering putting the whole thing aside and starting her with Explode the Code. I’ve supplemented several other things of my own to help us with Language Arts, but more than likely we will be repeating this part of the curriculum once she can read fluently.

This is where we step out of Sonlight Core Curriculum.

MathIMG_8113
This is Ave’s second favorite subject! I am not a math girl {the BS in English should’ve tipped you off}. When we were choosing a math curriculum I had asked several people what they used, what worked and what didn’t work for them. A lot of people suggested Saxon, others suggested Horizons, and still others suggested Math-u-See, which is what we went with.

I liked that it was hands on. I liked that it was a logic based. It looked as though it would be a good fit for us, and we were right. My biggest thing is that I wanted Ave to have a SOLID base for Math, so we went back to the beginning and went with their PrimerSo far she is still loving it! She likes building with the manipulatives {little blocks that represent units and place value}. We just discovered the DVD the other day {I don’t know why I didn’t pull it out sooner}.

Since it is the very basics of math, she has flown through the textbook, finishing almost half of it in just 10 weeks. She’s starting to slow down now.

Handwriting
This has been another struggle of our’s. Again, Avelyn doesn’t like things that make her work {like most people}. However, I am an absolute STICKLER about handwriting. We started with A Reason for Writing‘s Level A, but I quickly realized it was going to be an every day battle. As Avelyn doesn’t read she was not ready to be writing a full sentence every day {even though she is constantly writing words and sentences all day, on her own!}.

I quickly backtracked and ended up going with Level K, which focuses on one letter a day. Much more doable for us. She’s flying through it and that’s ok. When she’s done we will move on to the next level.

Overall I have really enjoyed the books and material we’ve covered. Ave doesn’t love everything, but none of us do. She at least doesn’t flat out refuse to do school every day, which was one of my biggest fears. I’ve loved the flexibility homeschooling gives us with our time, I love how if something isn’t working for us, we can change it! That’s the great thing about homeschooling.

If you homeschool what are your favorite curricula?
Next time I’ll share about how I manage homeschooling for myself.

You can find more of our homeschool materials in my amazon.com store.

A Glimpse at Our Homeschool Life

A Glimpse at Our Homeschool Life @JessicaMWhite.com

We’ve officially finished our first quarter! 10 weeks of homeschooling under our belts: Yay!  How’s it been going? Better than I expected!

It’s not easy homeschooling one kid while three 3 year olds are using the teacher and the student as a jungle gym. Some days there are a lot of interruptions; some days we’re able to get through our school work quickly and some days it seems to drag on f.o.r.e.v.e.r. Through it all Peter is fantastic, we manage to get school done during his morning nap time.

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I know I never shared about what curriculum we ended up going with for anything or why, I promise that post will be coming, eventually. Right now I just want to give a glimpse into our day. I promise you, we are not perfect or structured or anything else, we’re very fluid in our schedule. That is supposed to be one of the perks of homeschooling, that you don’t have to do things a certain way!

Our Schedule – Monday – Thursday {we take off Fridays}

  • Wake up: 5:45-7:30am — We’re usually all awake and downstairs by 8 at the latest.
  • Breakfast: 8-8:30 — Some times it’s closer to 8, others to 9.
  • School: 9-11:30 — We’re usually sitting down at the kitchen table at some point during this time.
  • Lunch: 11:30-12 — I try to start cooking lunch around 11 or so.
  • Fantasy time: 12:00-3:00pm — When I hope that the triplets will take a nap so that I can stop for 5 minutes and eat {it’s not happening as much as it used to}.
  • Dinner prep: 5:00 pm
  • Dinner served: 6:00pm
  • Showers: 6:30pm
  • Bed: 7:00pm
  • Lights out: 7:30pm

That’s our schedule! Of course, school doesn’t happen ONLY during that time. We do our reading and other things throughout the day and the week. We have a playgroup that we go to once a week and the house does need to get cleaned on occasion and the other kids need some attention too. So far, our schedule is really working for us!

I love that we’re not having to run back and forth to the school {we live too close for the bus}! I love that we’re all home together! I love that there is flexibility for us to do the things we want besides structured class time! I love that if something isn’t working for us we can change it, that if there is something we want to go on a tangent about we can!A Glimpse at Our Homeschool Life @JessicaMWhite.com

Of course it’s not without its struggles. Avelyn is not an exemplary student…she’s like most kids and doesn’t want to sit still and do what you want them to do. She’s not at all like me {I wrote research papers for fun on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’s names, when I was 8}, but we’re figuring out how she learns and what she likes best. She loves science and math! She loves when I read to her.

She does not like doing anything that requires her to learn something new {whether it’s math or reading}. She’ll trudge through the math, but reading is becoming a thorn in my side! She knows all the letters and sounds, she knows HOW to read, but she refuses to take the time to sound out words and DO IT! She’d rather guess and get frustrated, in hopes that I’ll quit.

I don’t regret homeschooling this year for even a second. There are certainly times when I’ve thought “What were we thinking?!”, but there’s no regrets. People ask {and assume} that we’re going to continue homeschooling, and that each of our kids will be homeschooled. I honestly can’t answer that question.

For this year, it was absolutely the best and right thing for us to do. It has given us time to bond with our newest addition. It has given us time to be together as a family without a ton of demands on mine or Avelyn’s time. It’s something that Avelyn and I have enjoyed doing together. For us, this year, it works…and honestly, that’s all I can ask for!

From Busy to Blessing – Conclusion

I’m so glad you joined me this month, during my 31 Days of How to Use Your Martha to Be a Mary! I certainly hope that this little series has given you HOPE as to how you can bless those around you, despite an already busy schedule.
From Busy to Blessing How to Use Your Martha to Be a Mary @JessicaMWhite.comIt really is about priorities, about thinking a bit more about the things we’re already doing, and quite a bit about changing our hearts, because honestly, our hearts are where it all begins. Anything you do can be used for God’s glory and to bless others, as long as your heart is in it.

“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”
Psalm 51:10

We don’t have to worry about the details or the hows or the whats: If we seek only to glorify Him, to step forward to do the work He has called us to do we will be successful.

“But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.”
Matthew 6:33

Doing God’s work, doing what He has called us to do, doesn’t mean that we won’thave bumps in the road, that things will go absolutely perfectly. Sometimes those bumps are part of the road, part of the lesson that we have to learn…to trust Him and let go. Boy, would it be a lot easier to know we were doing His work if everything went without a hitch.

I continue to challenge you, to think beyond the immediate: There is a way that God has planned for you to bless those around you. Ask Him to show you how. It may not be something huge, it may not be as grandiose as you think it should be, it can be as simple as a smile on your face and His song in your heart, while you go about your day.

We do have to begin, to take that step. But, the end is what it is all about: The end result of our actions, the end result of words, the end result of our lives. Whether we allow the beginning to occur so that the end can be to His glory.

Again, thank you for join me this past month. I know it’s been intense having a blog post to read every day. Those of you who have commented and read along with me on this, thank you for your words, thank you for your thoughts and prayers. It means so much as a blogger to know that what you are saying is reaching someone.

I’ve put all of those posts together on one easy page, so that you can pin just ONE thing and have all of them together. That said, I also hope that you’ll continue to pray for me, as I begin to turn this collection of posts into my first ebook! Not sure when that will happen, but eventually it will.

Be sure to sign up for my newsletter to find out more about my future ebook, as well as to get an easy access for all of posts from this series.

We’ll be back to our regularly scheduled blogging soon. Tomorrow our first born is FOUR! so you can be sure there will be a birthday post, some Halloween cuteness, and some updates about things that have been going on in the White House. I even have a few giveaways already slated for the month of November, as well as some great gift ideas! See you on the blog!

Blessings!

From Busy to Blessing – The Gift of Knowledge

All parents want their children to have the best chance of success in life as possible, and all parents have a different idea of how this is achieved, but there is typically one similarity between all the methodology…learning must be constant.

From Busy to Blessing The Gift of Knowledge for Our Children @JessicaMWhite.com
Whether you public school, private school, home school, un-school or any other type of “school”, learning is a very important part of our children’s lives. Learning doesn’t necessarily need to be a formal sit down with workbooks and textbooks; learning can happen right alongside you in everyday life. And honestly, that learning will probably be some of the most useful.

Book smarts has its place…absolutely. But there’s something to be said for common sense and day to day life skills. When I was in school we had a subject called Home Economics, yes, they still called it that back then. The whole point of the subject was to teach children how to function as an adult, whether it was cooking dinner, writing a letter in cursive, balancing a check book or learning how to sew a button on. For some reason, these skills have been lost from most schooling.

As parents all we have to do is share our daily tasks with our children. Invite them to help you cook dinner, invite them to setup a savings account and help you with the bookkeeping, or teach them to do the laundry {extra points for passing that baton off to a younger generation}.

The bottom line is that this isn’t something that need take tons of extra time on your part, a little bit extra…yes, a lot of patience…yes, but it is something which will bless your children in their own life, and their spouse’s.

The one core busy that can be taken away from this entire weeks posts is that we need to spend time with our children, not only doing fun and meaningful things, but in sharing the mundane too {that doesn’t mean it can’t be fun!}. If our children know that we value them, desire their company, then so many of our parenting fears can be put aside.

I hope this week has blessed you and given you some new thoughts on how to bless your children through your busy. Next week, I’ll be sharing about how you can use your Martha to be a Mary for your husband.

Click here to find more of my posts in this series: 31 Days | From Busy to Blessing