Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Homeschool 2012

September is finally bringing the start of the "official" homeschool year for us. We did some school throughout the summer, so it's hard to say when we are starting and stopping. We normally try to start in August to get a head start on the year so we can take lots of breaks. This year we had the chance to visit with all the cousins, aunts, uncles and more grandparent time when we normally start school, so we got a late start. We had a blast and were worn out and ready for home by the end of the trip (or maybe that was just me, because my kids were in tears and begging to stay longer.).

We are all pretty excited about starting this new school year and all that we are going to learn together!

 This year's class photo on the first day of school. Kassidy (pre-pre K), Kaylee (kindergarten), Karolyn (2nd grade) and Kolsen (4th grade).

 Kassidy is in what my children fondly call pre-pre K, which means that she sits with us when she wants to (which is most of the time) and does games and fun activities I have all her work loaded in her school drawers (a tall plastic set of drawers I used to keep crafts in). Once you get to four kids I've realized that pushing curriculum on my children at such an early age isn't as important and letting them "play." It's amazing what little ears can pick up just by being in the same room as the older kids.

Kaylee is in Kindergarten this year and so excited to be learning! She has lots of work in her workbox and is slowly easing into knowing how to do all her subjects.

Kaylee's Curriculum:
Devotions: Listen to Karolyn read a story from her Bible
Bible: Bible Study Guide For All Ages
Math: Primer from Math-u-See (She's already 1/2 way through her book because she really wanted to start it this summer)
Phonics: Hooked on Phonics and Explode the Code
Handwriting: Print
My Father's World 1st grade curriculum
Calendar Binder
AWANA verse memorization
Piano Lessons
Dance Class

Karolyn is entering 2nd grade and is finally at the "required reporting age" for the state of MN. I'm always amazed at the leaps and bounds she's taking in her learning.

Her 2nd grade curriculum:
Bible: Bible Study Guide For All Ages (beginner with Kaylee)
Devotions: Read a story to her sister from her Bible
AWANA: practice her verses
Phonics: Explode the Code
LA: First Language Lessons
Math: Math-u-See, finishing Alpha and starting Beta
Spelling: Spelling Workout Book B
Writing: All About Me and some Outlining with Kolsen
Handwriting: Transition to Cursive
Reading: She has a book list from me and lots of books she gets at the library each week. She reads one book off my list and then chooses one of her own.
Read to Sister: She reads at least one book to Kassidy
Guitar Lessons (From dad)
My Father's World: Countries and Cultures covers science and geography for the year.
Art: I Can Do All Things Drawing Book

Kolsen is entering 4th grade this year and that is hard for me to even imagine! This boy loves to read, learn and help out.

Kolsen's 4th Grade Curriculum:
Devotions: Keys for Kids
Bible: 2-3 chapters every day
AWANA: He's in Truth and Training for AWANAS this year and that means A LOT of time spent memorizing verses!
LA: First Language Lessons (we've only got 10 lessons left!)
Grammar: Grammar Lesson Grade 4
Writing: The Institute for Excellence in Writing
Math: Math-u-See: Gamma and then Delta
Spelling: Spelling Workout D
Handwriting: AWANA verses and finishing up our cursive book from last year.
Reading: He also has a list from me that he chooses every other book from.
Rosetta Stone: Spanish
Piano Lessons
My Father's World: Countries and Cultures
Art: I Can Do All Things Drawing Book

I'm sure I've missed some things, but that covers most of the "book" stuff we have on our list for the year. We also do a lot of character training together and life skills. Our three month membership to the YMCA will help make sure we'll be getting plenty of exercise and the kids love helping me with cooking activities in the kitchen, especially those involving sharp knives.

These are the boxes that I keep all the kids book work and checklists in. Each week they pull a checklist from the front file folder and use that to keep track of the work they complete. Each subject has its own file so the kids will know where their stuff is located and I can also find their work if I need to check something. I love using checklists because it keeps the kids on task, we can show daddy our progress, the kids always know what is expected of them, and if we're having a hard day I can tell them to do just 5 things and then they are done.

I've used these crates since Kolsen was 6 and they've held up to quite a bit of usage! I love keeping their books in these crates because we can easily move from the classroom to the kitchen (while I cook lunch) or to the living room for a change of scenery. I've also had the older kids take their stuff to a different room when they need a quite location. Right now Kassidy uses a set of tall, plastic drawers in the classroom which aren't really portable, but they work great for holding all the manipulatives she uses each day.

 Kolsen and Karolyn at their table. Notice their crates on the floor next to them.

Kaylee and Kassidy at their table in their normal homeschool attire.


  1. Looks great, Carrie! I was wondering how you are liking the Bible Study Guide for All Ages? I was considering that for this year, but was wondering if it was a little mom-intense? Or is it more independent than it looks? (More independent would be good :) )

    1. Melissa- So far it is pretty mom intensive for my middle two girls and I don't think that will change. I'm not sure if Kolsen could do it by himself or not yet, because I ordered him the advanced level. I'll let you know if that changes. I'll try to remember and bring it to Mom's night if you want ot look at it. I like that it is almost all Bible story and fact learning, but I haven't figured out the whole system yet.

    2. Thanks--I'd love to take a look, so if you think of it, Mom's Night would be a great time to accomplish that.

  2. I'm so impressed with all their learning! You're a great teacher, Carrie!