Getting Ready for a New Homeschool Year

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Homeschooling in Hawaii is a bit different than homeschooling in Indiana where we have…oh…no real requirements. 

In Hawaii you have to send a letter of intent to your districted school. You have to keep records that prove your kiddos are getting – at minimum – an equivalent education to their peers in P. S. 

Records. Portfolios. Oy! 

But it’s still worth the hassle to be with these crazy-inducing little people and know that they get to spend their childhoods playing and learning what they need/want. 

I know homeschooling isn’t for everyone, and that’s cool. We aren’t anti-school either. We toured our local public school. We assessed our family’s needs for right now and decided that this is the path we are currently being called to and that works for this season of life. We are always open to the fact that things can and may change. That’s just life.

Choosing curriculum is alway stress-inducing. And I wanted to do as much as I could the same for both of them, with small adjustments, as possible. So they’re doing the same history and science curriculum.

We super love Bookshark around here. Their reading with history curriculum cannot be outdone. It’s rich in literature and interactive and gets their little brains really churning. And it’s easy to do one level for various ages/grades. There is no doubt that Bookshark will be the history curriculum we use year after year because it really is that amazing and I feel just that great about it. 

Last year we tried out Math U See but it wasn’t the love I had hoped for. So we decided to go out on a limb and try Singapore Math this year. I’ll report back once we’ve been using it for a while. 

All Mr. B really cares about is science! It makes sense since he plans to be a paleontologist chemist who will take 8 years off to be the president and will also be working as an FBI agent when not in office. Science was the hardest choice for me to make because I want them to love it and it’s not really my forte. Plus, everything secular I found seemed to have so many conflicting reviews. So I went out on a limb and ordered The Building Blocks of Science to use with both of them. We shall see how it goes. 

Miss H is deep in the throes of All About Reading and we had minimally began All About Spelling before we moved. Mr. B desperately wants to read, but AAR wasn’t clicking for him yet so I decided to try out Phonics Pathways with him and see how it goes. It does reading and spelling together, which I have mixed feelings on, but I won’t judge it until we’ve tried it. I assume that ultimately he will do AAR as well, but we shall see. The beauty of home education is getting to try different methods that work for different kids instead of a one-size-fits-all method (and let’s be honest, one size never fits all). 

I figured it’s time Miss H do some grammar and I’ve always liked some aspect of classical education, although in true practice it’s far too rigid for our tastes. But throughout my many late night perusings I did come to see value on their grammar approach and figures we might as well spice things up here and give it a try with First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind. I’m one of those people who thinks it’s pretty important to know proper grammar. Once you do, then you can break the rules (I do all the time. Have you seen how many times I’ve started a sentence with the word “and” or ended one with a preposition!?). 

Miss H and Mr. B also each have some Fun-schooling books from Thinking Tree to work through at their leisure. They’re more open and allow them to follow their interests and learn things in a much less-dictating way. Granted they’re not on complete overload, I plan on snagging a few more of these books over time for them to have for more on their own downtime. 

I also have a bunch of kids story books from different countries and cultures throughout the world that I plan to include as part of our curriculum. I think it’s oh-so important to know about the world around us, both past and present. And they’re such insightful and bright little nuggets, I don’t want them to miss out!

Of course, homeschooling isn’t all about workbooks. I plan to incorporate some STEAM activities for them; they’re signed up for a few monthly co-ops, and they each have one extracurricular: Miss H gymnastics and Mr. B karate. Ideally I’d like them both back in music lessons, as would they, but we have to find something affordable for that to happen.  

Plus, you know, lots of hiking and beach time and playing and cooking! And likely more episodes of The Magic School Bus than I want to admit to allowing, but hey! I’m about to have a newborn again (in tandem with a very active toddler). Momma needs some grace at times, too. I’m not Super Woman.

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