Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Homeschooling in the Brown home, for the first year!

I have had so many questions about how we are adjusting to homeschooling Esther through Kindergarten and what curriculum we are using. So what better to do than blog about it!

We've laughed, we've cried. I have succeeded wonderfully and I have wondered if it's too late to enroll in public school, but overall, it has been a blessing so far.

It deed, it has been quite a natural transition, not especially traumatic, in that we have always nurtured a learning environment in our home and lives, and the children have adjusted well to increased pace.

When do you find time?

I am very blessed in the my husband works a slightly later shift. I do miss him very much at the dinner table and when doing bedtimes, but in the mornings he puts himself at our disposal to help make sure our home school goals are achieved.

However, the way it plays out, due to having one car, often one of us has to go and do something, like grocery shop, go to a meeting in the morning. On days like this, I wait until Joel's nap time, which is somewhat unpredictable in time and length.

I also try to keep things simple on days I know before hand will be like this, and just do our Five in a Row curriculum, which really requires being done 5 consecutive days. All the other curriculum is pretty flexible.

Plus, the nature of teaching one child, one on one, means that lessons go by really quick, and even with doing all the different subjects, it's rarely more than 2 1/2 hours total throughout the day.

How does your daughter handle learning from you?

So far, we have had no problem, as long as I am patient, and read her ques well - tiredness, frustration, overwhelmed etc and respond accordingly with compassion and empathy, and find a way to work through it with her, we have had little to no conflict. She is eager to do her lessons and is learning well.

I know my child well, and have had 5 years of learning her strengths, weaknesses, passions and learning style and I am loving this opportunity to get to know her more.

What curriculum are you using?

Right now we use several. At our core we use Five in a Row, which is a literature based curriculum.

Each week your studies are focused on one book which you read at the beginning of each lesson. Each lesson from history, geography to math, science and language arts stem from this.

Math - we are supplementing with 'Saxon Math'. So far I love this, it is 100% scripted and Esther does really well with it. It requires little to no planning on my part, other than a quick overview of the lesson before hand.

Phonics - We are using 'Explode the Code', this is not scripted, but gives lots of suggestions, workbooks, activities. It is a perfect pace for Esther and really easy to use.

Handwriting - We are using Handwriting without Tears. It is wonderfully genius! Esther's handwriting already impresses me after just a few lessons, it is very easy for the child to understand, and really is handwriting without tears, with lots of fun ideas, songs etc.

What do you do for PE and social interaction?

Esther is attending soccer twice a week, also at home the girls have quite a love for learning ballet, so we have been using a book that introduces basic positions and famous ballets.

Socially, we are heading to the Girl Scout rally this weekend for her to join a troop. In addition we are at church frequently, out and about often at parks and museums which pose the opportunity for her to play with other children.

I had hoped to find a home school group to join, but so far I have had no luck!


It is easy to fall into the trap of viewing homeschooling as a burden, another thing to accomplish in a long list of never ending 'things' a mum has to do. It requires discipline, routine and patience, not of which are my forte.

On the other hand, it makes our home life so dynamic and rich, it is helping me get to know myself more, to understand my children more and gain more rapport and connection with them.

It is teaching me to pray more and rely more and more on God's strength and provision.

It is truly a sanctifying experience.

I love that at the end of the day, I have something to show in my little folder where I have been storing Esther's work, that I can already, look back and review progress.

I delight in partaking in their learning experience, seeing the wonder and excitement of their discoveries of the world around them or when they achieve something new.

In summary, I think I can say that so more, I feel like homeschooling is giving our family a more full and vibrant life, one more in tune with each other, our world and God.

To finish - I really could NOT achieve what we have already without God, He is my constant source of strength, patience and encouragement.

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