We are now in the middle of January of our 2nd year of homeschooling! Time has flown by!
This year, we decided to start year round schooling. The plan was to begin in July and school for 6 weeks and take one week off. I had it all mapped out on my calendar. We were going to take a few weeks off at Christmas and still finish the 180 early. Guess what? The plan was wrecked before we even started! C decided she wanted to start school in June! It threw off my whole plan. But if I’ve learned anything in our last year and a half of homeschooling…it is all about flexibility! We didn’t take too many full weeks off this past fall, but we took days off when we needed to. And we took almost 4 weeks off for Christmas break! We just reached 100 days in our school year. I anticipated reaching it much sooner, but I’m sure we will be just fine finishing at least 180 days! Especially if C comes in and asks to do school on Saturdays (yep, she actually begged me today).
Another thing that has happened is that I have pretty much accepted that we do our schoolwork after lunch. I spent so much time last May and June attempting to plan a schedule for our school day. At that time, we planned to use a different curriculum and I had absolutely no peace about a schedule. We switched last minute to pretty much all Masterbooks. I instantly felt peace about a schedule but I also realized and accepted it is ok to not do school at 8 am or do it all day long. Now our day isn’t always perfect, but we usually wake up by about 8, sometimes 9. Eat breakfast. The girls may watch a show or play Minecraft. I am usually trying to clean up something during this time and keep baby A out of making more messes. The girls play together…dolls, Barbie’s, make up dances or Legos. We eat lunch and usually start schoolwork around 1. Some days we finish by 3 and some days it takes longer. We don’t have a set schedule and I’m finally ok with it! I do know that if we have something planned for about 1:30 or 2…it does mess up our school day.
Our curriculum has been simplified. And by this, I don’t mean dumbed down. But I have also realized we don’t need to be doing EVERYTHING!
In the fall, I started having the girls color or draw at the beginning of our school time. And I read from the Storybook Bible and discuss it with them. I absolutely love this Bible and it has been fun to go through it and see things click for the girls. They are remembering stories and understanding more and more about Jesus. We are nearing the end and I’m not quite sure what we will move on to. But I’m thinking we may do the Indescribable devotional by Louie Giglio. I’ve also started going through The Ology book with the girls (mainly C since it is a bit deeper). Tonight as I read the second chapter about Trinity and wondered if I could explain it any better since it is such a deep concept to understand…C said “mom, I actually get what this means.” What?!?! I read it and it seems like she does. I was totally impressed!
The Jesus Storybook Bible can be found many places. Here is a link to Christian Book Distributors:
Masterbooks released God’s Design for Life for Beginners toward the end of summer. We started it in the fall and I LOVE it. The girls LOVE it! They actually beg me almost daily to do Science first. The lessons are short and easy to do, but so full of good information. C (age 7) is learning it and retaining the most, but little G (age 3) is able to do the coloring and other activities. I love that they can learn together. We are almost done with the plants section and plan to move on to the Human Body next!
God’s Design for Life for Beginners can be found on the Masterbooks website:
We are still going along in My Story 1 by Masterbooks for Social Studies. We are a little more slow moving in this. I can’t quite pin it, but this is usually the first subject we drop if we lack concentration or need to finish sooner than expected. We are working at adding this back in daily for this spring semester. There is so many good things from this book! I already have My Story 2 as well. My plan is to just keep going once we finish this first book. I have also accepted we don’t always do every activity how the book says. We adapt things a lot more now.
My Story can be found on the Masterbooks website:
We are also still using Language Lessons for a Living Education level 2 by Masterbooks for LA. I’m so thankful that we chose to use this curriculum instead of TGTB. I love it! I can actually see growth already. C dreaded writing stories at first and now I think it is one of her favorite days of the week. She is even writing more on her own! There is one lesson a week that focuses on spelling. I have purchased other spelling curriculum but decided to just give it a try with this spelling in the LLFLE book. When we get to the new spelling page (day 5 of the lesson), that begins our week of practicing those words. Many don’t like that the spelling is on day 5 of the week, but for us it works out fine since we just don’t next lesson the next day we do school and the days of the week don’t always coincide with the days in the lessons. I found a program on teachers pay teachers that I can plug our spelling words in each week and have activity sheets for them. This has been great added practice for the spelling words in the book. C is finally starting to read for fun and on her own. I love hearing her read to me in the car or sit down in front of the bookshelf and read. These things are huge breakthroughs with her and not something I take lightly. I want her to succeed in her schoolwork, but I want her to love learning and reading.
Language Lessons for a Living Education can be found on the Masterbooks website:
Here is the link to the Teachers Pay Teachers editable spelling activities:
We are still doing Math Lessons for a Living Education level 2, but I have slowed is down a bit with it. I found books called Math Facts that stick by Well Trained Mind so we are going through the addition one currently. We have completed 3 weeks so far and C loves it. The book is laid out to show a way on how to visualize the facts on the first day. Then the rest of the week we play a game to solidify the facts. C loves the games and I can already see her improving! We do plan to continue MLFLE. I will probably be doing both of these books for a while as long as C doesn’t fight me on it!
Math Lessons for a Living Education can be found in the Masterbooks website:
The Addition Facts for a Well Trained mind can be found at this website (but I did find them a bit cheaper by buying on Amazon thanks to prime).
What aren’t we using?
We shelved Picture Smart Bible and our other daily devotional books. We weren’t being consistent with them and I didn’t like that. I wanted the girls to have Bible but I didn’t love what we were using. Picture Smart Bible is an awesome program, but my girls want to be crafty with it. I don’t always have the motivation or time to get all the crafty stuff out and make a mess. I don’t like crafts! That’s why they do crafts with grandma! And the daily devotionals we were using. The girls liked the little puzzles and begged to do about 10 a day. Which is nice but they took up lots of time and I didn’t just like reading a verse and doing a puzzle 10 times. They loved the puzzles but not listening to the Bible.
I realized something toward the end of summer as I lost motivation to complete our unit study of Arthropods by TGTB. I don’t like unit studies. I don’t like gathering up extra books or videos or activities for my kids to get what they are learning. I want it all done for me. Yep, I’m a bit lazy, but I’ve got enough on my plate!
I originally bought Mathematical Reasoning by Critical Thinking Co to just have C do for fun. We attempted a page or two and she was so frustrated. She hated it. I thought nope, this isn’t worth a struggle. She has a great math curriculum that she loves and doesn’t fight me on.
C originally told me this year that she wanted to work on writing in cursive. I encouraged it and bought the book of A reason for Handwriting. But she didn’t really like putting in the effort. So I bought a barely used version of Handwriting without tears. But we did maybe one lesson in it. Then I finally realized. She writes and does a lot of copywork… especially in Language Arts and Math. So we haven’t really been pushing handwriting. Like I mentioned before, she is now writing stories or poems often on her own. She also loves drawing, so so I did buy her a couple more of the Draw Write Now books for Christmas. And she loves Art Hub on YouTube.
Other random things I planned to use but we haven’t touched this year:
Our Spanish books
Our Health book
Our Typing book
We are also done using TGTB for good. It is a touchy subject in the homeschooling blog and YouTube realm, but our choice is to be done with the company. I may decide to write more about in the future.
Thanks for checking out our curriculum update for our second year of homeschooling! If you are interested in seeing any of this curriculum up close, make sure to check out my YouTube channel. I go through parts of the books in my videos.