Homeschooling by Grace :: The Week in Review


Homeschooling Preschoolers to High Schoolers

Going to an inspirational mother’s conference over the weekend pretty much guarantees that you are going to have a tough week, right?  What scientific principle is that anyway?  I think it should have a name.  So you think you can handle this motherhood thing, eh?  Some sort of gravity.  What goes up, must come down.

Anyhow, we had one of those weeks.  One where you get your gym clothes out at 8:00am, and at 8:00pm get back to your bedroom and remember that you had some plans for the day.  To say things didn’t go according to plan would be an understatement.  Ping-Pong homeschooling is a good description.  Amazingly, we had a good week and though there were struggles, we pushed through with prayer and a smile.

Homeschooling with Dad at Home

My husband has been home a lot lately.  Business is slow.  I like this and I don’t like this.  I like how we have hot lunches and all sit down together.  I like how he takes my little, rambunctious ones to the park most afternoons to wear them out.  But I am his helper and he is the epitome of an entrepreneur so this means more interruptions and this wafer thin mama gets spread just a bit thinner than usual.

Homeschooling the Littles

Wow!  Having two boys as the youngest in our family of ten makes life …interesting.  Whose idea was it to buy the swords to play with?  The plastic swords that looked so cute at the store have now been put up until they are older, much older.  Last week, we dealt well with the whining and complaining.  Now we have arrived at bickering and quarreling.  Still working on this.  Food helps – fun snacks that distract and delight.  Play Doh seems to be neutral territory so we did a lot of that this week.  My slightly ADD and dyslexic 5-year old can’t get enough of school.  I hope this lasts.  He is as eager a learner as I have ever had, delighting in his lessons and his triumphs over page after page of (Math U See) math.  We are absolutely in love with All About Reading and all of the phonemic awareness games.  He is doing so well.  I get really excited and then I see the typical early signs of dyslexia in him and remember that we have reviewed his letter sounds daily for months and still some don’t stick.  I remain hopeful now though because I have done this before and I know it can be done  – a little bit every day, day after day.


Homeschooling the Middles

Is it the grey weather or age or…?  My normally agreeable little girls have been quarreling as well.  Reminds me that we have been lax in our daily devotions.  Time to get back to some focused character training.  They want to do the right thing but they need to know what that is, so next week we will re-prioritize, again.  The two girls, though close in age (17 months apart), are very different in disposition.  One is an outdoors, get-dirty-and-don’t-care kind of girl and at the other end of the girly spectrum is my other daughter who likes scented lotions, lip gloss and jewelry and dresses in tights and a dress every day.  Hmmmm….The outdoorsy one discovered some birdseed in our hall closet and set about to feed the entire neighborhood full of birds.  She has an elaborate set up with seed scattered in strategic places.  She found some binoculars and has been watching out for her favorites every day.  I rustled up a nature journaling kit that I had bought for ‘some other day’ and she has been drawing up a storm.  I’m thinking it is time to break out Tricia at Hodgepodge’s chalk pastel tutorials and get really creative with her.


Homeschooling the High Schoolers

This is our second set of high schoolers, our oldest two kids having graduated one and two years ago.  I am amazed at how much more I know, how much more creative I am,  and how much less I stress about their education.  Still, with dyslexia, we are constantly tweaking and thinking about how best to get that info in.  I recently switched from mastery-only learning to a new philosophy.  I used to demand mastery before moving on to the next chapter.  “A’s all the way” was my motto.  That is good for spelling and math but I look at the highschool years as the years that we are preparing them for real life.  This week, I actually taught my kids how to highlight key words in their science vocabulary words so that they could master the test without actually understanding every term.  Curious your thoughts on this.  My priorities for them are understanding the flow of history including the implication of worldview and philosophy on history, solid math skills and solid writing with a broad base of good literature.  We just don’t have the time or, frankly, the skill to master science as well.  So I am teaching my high schoolers how to learn but also how to get by in school and pass the test.  I hope I don’t regret this but I am more and more convicted that peace in the home and strong relationships among family members (aka mom’s sanity) are more important than academics.  So, if you have been homeschooling a while, I am curious your thoughts on this.

How was your week?

Linking up with the Friday Faves:

Marianne Sunderland

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  1. I was having a little pity party for myself here this evening, as I had to escape to my room for some quiet to …. wait for it…. fold laundry. What a treat — alone time folding laundry! But then I read your post and see how much you have going on and the challenges you face and I feel like my life is easy.

    I admire your positive attitude, your looking at whining children and saying they need more character training and Bible study. So many moms would just complain and not do a thing about it.

    So glad you linked today. I also like reading your homeschooling high school section because it gives me a glimpse into the future!

    Have a wonderful weekend!

    • Hi Mary. You are always so upbeat. I can’t imagine you having a pity party. I guess we all have our moments! Hope your weekend was refreshing!

  2. Marianne – I so enjoyed this real life look at homeschooling your age span. I am with you on the practicality of teaching real – real life in high school. And oh boy, yes, going to an inspirational conference over the weekend does indeed guarantee a tough week. I think we should high five each other for surviving this week 🙂 Thanks for encouraging – and for the link to our art tutorials.

  3. Currently, I’m a freshman, and my main priorities are history and algebra. I couldn’t care less about science lol. I mean, I do it, get A’s in my test, and then forget it a week later.
    And, I don’t know a public schooler who does it differently for all the subjects lol

  4. I am visiting from the HSMJ. I also have a high schooler with some learning issues. I sometimes get so frustrated, and still trying to figure out what works best. One thing that my husband and I decided on is that he has enough science (for our goals) and to focus on other subjects.

    • Hi Beth. When we first started homeschooling, I wanted my kids to really learn, not just memorize things for tests and then forget. So far we’ve done a pretty good job of that but I agree with you, a basic over view of science is all they need. If they know how to research (which is sooo easy with the Internet) they can research anything else they need or want to know when they need to know. I’m running over to your blog now. Thanks for commenting!

  5. Misty Mercado says:

    My husband and I have a preschooler at home and are in the midst of trying to determine whether private Christian school or homeschooling is the option for us. Private school seems ridiculously expensive, especially since we are military family. Homeschooling seems intimidating to me as I fear not having clear direction on what the kids should learn, how and at what pace.

    Do you have any advice, recommendations or consideration for us? Were you at all worried, when you began, that you may be alienating your children from opportunities that the social interaction of school may provide?

    • Marianne says:

      I’m glad that you asked, Misty. I was insecure when I first began homeschooling. I wondered if our homeschool would provide the skills and experiences that our kids really needed. Now after homeschooling for 17 years I can say without a doubt that I am so glad that we have homeschooled, despite the inevitable ups and downs. Our kids learned what they needed and we were close as a family. They also avoided a ton of negative peer pressure that really robs kids of their childhoods so much these days.

      I Googled ‘what your Kindergartener should learn and found this list:By the end of kindergarten, you can expect your child to:

      Follow class rules
      Separate from a parent or caregiver with ease (not really the case with homeschooling)
      Take turns
      Cut along a line with scissors
      Establish left- or right-hand dominance
      Understand time concepts like yesterday, today, and tomorrow
      Stand quietly in a line (or not :))
      Follow directions agreeably and easily
      Pay attention for 15 to 20 minutes
      Hold a crayon and pencil correctly
      Share materials such as crayons and blocks
      Know the eight basic colors: red, yellow, blue, green, orange, black, white, and pink
      Recognize and write the letters of the alphabet in upper- and lowercase forms
      Know the relationship between letters and the sounds they make
      Recognize sight words such as the and read simple sentences
      Spell his first and last name
      Write consonant-vowel-consonant words such as bat and fan
      Retell a story that has been read aloud
      Identify numbers up to 20
      Count by ones, fives, and tens to 100
      Know basic shapes such as a square, triangle, rectangle, and circle
      Know her address and phone number

      You really don’t even need a curriculum for this BUT if you wanted one there are many out there to help you know what to teach and when.
      I hope this helps. Pray about it. God will lead you where He wants you to be. 🙂

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