Homeschool 2014-2015

5:00 AM

We began our fourth year of homeschooling on August 18, 2014.
Brooklyn is in 3rd grade this year.
We returned from Captiva and literally began school the next day.
Thankfully, I'd already prepared and had our school stuff ready to roll before we left on vacation, so there was minimal stress involved. Truthfully, we were all ready to get going with the school year!

Hard to believe she's 8 and in the third grade! I am so proud of Brooklyn for a thousand different reasons.  She is extremely smart, kind, sensitive, caring, imaginative, creative, confident, friendly, inquisitive and a thoughtful young lady who surprises and delights me daily.

August is in second grade this year (age wise, he would ordinarily be in 1st, but it is what it is).
He is my introverted, focused, determined, detail-oriented, extraordinarily creative young man who is gentle, loving, tender to his younger siblings (and cousins) and best friend to his big sister. He used to dislike math (although he was really good at it), but this year has embraced it and is rocking it. 

He is an exceptional reader and while he doesn't spend as much time drawing as his sister does, his artistic ability shines through in many other ways (such as his Lego creations). He also is an artist, though. He is the perfect complement to his big sister.

Dorien desperately wanted to "do school" with us too this year, even though I don't actually have a curriculum I'm using for him. He gets to listen to all the books we read, which cover history, geography, Bible, science and play at the same time. He's a true fire-cracker, shooting off in different directions and causing lots of sparks, particularly in regards to Brooklyn. He LOVES to torment her. 

He is crazy affectionate, very intelligent, and at times, a definite challenge. There is no status quo as far as Dorien is concerned. He moves the bar all over the place, and usually has his trademark killer grin plastered on his face. Watch out, world. There's a Dorien coming.
It's amazing how different your children can be from each other and how insanely intense the love you feel for each of them is.

Here's a snapshot of our "school room."  We begin our school day in the living room with prayer, a Bible reading by me and one of the kids, a daily reading from an Indian Prayer guide (which is a daily reading about different tribes in North and South America and ways to pray for them), and various songs. Such as Days of the Week, Months of the Year, the Alphabet (for Dorien), We keep a graph of the weather. I read to the kids from different "Read Alouds" that pertain to the various parts of history that we study (Aztecs, Incans, Mayans, Native Americans, etc). I am usually sprawled on the couch reading while the kids listen from various parts of the room.  While listening to whatever books I'm reading, the kids draw, color, play blocks, something quiet that allows them to hear, but also absorb the info in the way they learn best.  

The kids do their handwriting, copywork, critical thinking work, language arts work, math workbooks and anything else involving sitting with decent posture, in these vintage desks my mother passed down to me. Wyeth, as you  can see, is frequently at their feet, pulling books off the desk, or just generally causing mischief.

It takes about 4 hours for us to do school when we really focus. There are usually breaks for diaper changes, to feed our cat, to check the chickens, to potty, to eat a snack, and a long break for lunch.  Sometimes the kids read their reading books to me while I make breakfast or lunch, so we maximize our time. And the kids usually beg to read while eating lunch. Very often we finish up right around 3 which means it's time for Dorien and Wyeth to nap. Brooklyn and August play quietly in their rooms during nap time. I use that time to do my quiet time, read a book, pay bills, work, it varies...Kyle usually gets home between 5:30-6 and we then go to the gym. Sometimes we have to do spelling or science later in the evening, which is ok, because it can be really fun to do school when Kyle's there.

This is a classic pose for Wyeth who LOVES to mess with the printer which is tucked away underneath this desk.  Wyeth finds the buttons immensely fascinating. What I find fascinating is that he has it in his head that to access the printer, he must crawl THROUGH the rungs of the chair.  I can't tell you how many different ways he's managed to get himself stuck. It makes for some frequent laughter from us as we rescue him, and some wails of protest from him as we remove him from his beloved printer.

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