our homeschool curriculum - multiple ages


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you are thinking about homeschooling and maybe you've already taken the plunge, but you google homeschool curriculum and it gives you a headache. I know, I've been there! there's a gazillion options which is a good and bad thing.. like when you go to a restaurant and the menu is 30 pages long... choices are great but too many and you feel overwhelmed. but at the same time, every child and every family is different so choices need to be there so that we can cater exactly what we need for our individual cicumstances.

I'm not a fan of the one and all curriculums - I think they can be great but it kind of goes against one of the reasons we chose to homeschool - to really dive into each childs educational needs and not a cookie cutter approach. because of this, we use a variety of items. how did I choose the items?... I put on a bandanna and said eeny meeny miny moe.. KIDDING! I did lots of research (read: googling) and explored all of our libraries (you can find many homeschool curriculums at your library so that you can check it out and see if you think it fits). I reviewed certain styles that we really like (though we don't follow a particular style to the T - some examples like Classical, Waldorf, Charlotte Mason (probably our favorite), Montessori, and Eclectic) and just pulled the ones that sang to my heart the most. 

Reading in all forms is a main part of our learning and as much hands on and experienced based as possible is how we roll. because of this, you'll see a lot of our curriculum is vague but thats my favorite about schooling my children. I get to see what they want to learn and how they learn best and really maximize those. if theres one thing I recommend to new homeschooling families - its to read together and read aloud and read often. so much learning along those pages!

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now lets talk money - you can spend as much as you want or as little as you want when homeschooling your children! I will go into more depth with this in another post but just bear in mind that libraries and co-ops and local homeschool communities can really help you out. our children have the desire and want to learn naturally built inside of them, it doesn't take expensive curriculum to pull that out and nourish that knowledge!

ok enough preface, lets talk specifics..

keep in mind that this is just what I use and what works for our family... just a resource for you to look into. my children are 2, 5, 9, and 11.  I don't 'schedule' anything for my 2 year old as play is all she needs. my 5 year old, my main goal was getting him to learn how to read. now that he can read - we will be expanding his curriculum and I'll post about it as it happens. my older 2 are where most the curriculum is at. pretty much everything we do besides some specific language / phonics and their math, are together. when it comes to history, science, and a lot of the reading, the whole 'lesson' applies to all 3 boys. the youngest boy (5) will listen and then draw what he learned. with each age older, they get a little more added on but the core learning is applied to everyone. you'll see that they ask questions and really dive into a knowledge that applies to their individual level. there are occasions when we get off on tangents to tackle something for my older boys but often everyone listens (they may just not grasp it quite yet!).. that's a huge part I love, how we can actually nourish each individuals learning needs because we're at home and there's not 20 other students to tend to. 

our curriculum this year (in no particular order)...

teach your child to read in 100 lessons - I went for this one after reading all the rave reviews. even after receiving it in the mail I was a littles hesitant because it looks boring - but it works! it only took a few lessons in before it clicked for my son.

five in a row - loving learning - I couldn't find this one on amazon to link for you. you can just get the main spiral book and then acquire each individual book from your library or a local homeschooling family.  I love the concept of this... it takes particular books and helps you walk through the stories with your children and then basically analyze those stories and at the same time that teaches many, and probably most, subjects right there in each book. we now apply it to books that aren't even in 'the program'. I'll grab books from the library and we read them together, then they read individually, and then they write out a summary, and then we go through each subject (math, English, history, geography, science, etc.) and see what we learned from the book.

spectrum - I like the writing, language arts, and vocabulary from these - we do these by grade levels. this is one of those areas where if you need 'busy work', this works well. it's a worksheet type learning

Primary language lessons - I like how these are short lessons

the story of the world - there's 4 books and we basically try to do one book a year. all kids are involved as we work through each section. I don't buy the workbook with it but you definitely can get that supplement. we come up with our own work from each lesson. the youngest draws and does crafts in relation to the learnings that day and the older 2 also draw but we add to it with summaries and quizzes and such.

teaching textbooks - there’s mixed reviews on this one but we love it and my kids are thriving in math with it. this is currently their only ‘computer learning’ except for some research papers my oldest is doing .

play the forest school way - this is a nature games, crafts, and skills, book. its really fun to take along with you on your nature walks and hikes. we spend so much time outdoors and I feel like we learn so much by exploring nature, wether its our front yard or the museum or the national forest - all of it has opportunities to soak in.

lyrical earth science - (we're doing the geology one right now). with science, we work to apply so much of everyday life into our learning. I also love to google and youtube and pinterest easy and fun science experiments as those are favorites amongst my kiddos. ***we are lucky to also have a small farm where so much life based learning takes place. my kids can tell you all about how baby animals are born and the sac they're in and the placenta and all kinds of birthing details***

journals - I buy the cheap spiral notebooks and have the kids journal as much as possible. a journal that is school based and off what they learned (especially those days when it was all experience or outdoor based), a nature journal to take with us when we adventure out, and a personal journal that is all their own but sometimes I'll give the prompts.

chalkboard - we do so much here and this, along with our library, are the sweetest learning spots in our home. we used to do a letter each week and write the capital and lower case on the board and then every child would join in and draw items that started with that letter. was fun for all ages and maybe we'll start doing it again! our chalkboard was really easy to put up and if you want, I'll do a quick tutorial on how we did it.

our everyday world - not a book :) - taking your children out into the world and adventuring and sharing your experiences creates a wonderful learning environment while also bonding as a family. kids don’t need a classroom and a desk to nurture their drive to learn!

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hopefully I didn't go too random on you! leave a comment below on what you're struggling with when it comes to picking out your curriculum. or maybe what you're struggling with as a whole on your start with your homeschooling journey. maybe you have some things that work for you, feel free to comment to share with the others. and most importantly of all - have fun with your kids!

 

some homeschool tips to help your sanity


homeschool is not always roses and butterflies (and festive pumpkins).. but when it is, it’s golden. I'm working on an 'advice to new homeschoolers' post but until then I wanted to throw out a few tips that really help me stay sane. homeschool does not have to be stressful and honestly one of the main reasons we do it is to live a more simple life without the hustle and bustle of everyday rushing and spending all day in a box. homeschooling with your children should be a bond of fun and educational times. of course there will be some hurdles and some moments of frustrations but when those times come - it just means it's time to step away for a minute. at those moments just get up and walk away and go bake some cookies or hang out at the park, those are the joys and leeways of being in control of how we spend our time while during homeschool.

so here's a few tips and I hope they help you in some way!

  1. spend time outside every.single.day 
  2. read aloud often (even with older kids!)
  3. don’t try to be like other homeschool families. your family is unique, just do you
  4. don’t overload with course material, kids need to learn basics and habits. everyday life already teaches them so much if they are equipped with observations and opportunities. 
  5. learning goes beyond books and pencils 
  6. have fun and truly enjoy your kids 

lovely chalkboards provided by chalk full of design . my kids love these. we have a huge chalkboard at home but these are really nice for individual work where they are free to do it elsewhere plus they are amazing during travel and trips! 

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are you homeschooling? what helps you stay sane?