Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Question or Twenty

Makiah asks continuous questions. She starts her day with "what are we going to do today", and ends it with "what are we going to do tomorrow mama". Those are just the beginning and end, but the day is filled with questions. Some questions are school related, some are inquisitive like, "why do I have curly hair" and some questions are just the nosiness that goes with being eight. I have to admit that she comes by this honestly {confession time}, I am a certified question asker. That scripture about reaping what you sow, yeah, it's true, I'm living it. I didn't have any siblings, so I talked all the time to my mother, babysitter, Nanny (grandma) or anyone else that would listen and I asked many, many questions. Am I surprised by the question asking? No. Does it sometimes make me want to drive a pencil in my ears? Yes.

So now that I have properly warned you of my question asking ability, you should not be surprised by the fact that this post is an inquisitive post, an information hunt, if you will. ~~Smile~~

I love homeschooling, but since it is truly a process of honing the process, I love to hear what other families are doing. I am one of those mama's that is always looking for better or different ways of doing things. I think that we learn from each other's successes and failures. So I am going to rapid fire some questions and I would like you to give me some feedback.

1. Do you have a set routine and hold to it firmly? Do you go through your day with routine in mind, but keep it flexible? Or are you routine free and just go with the flow?

2. How do you incorporate crafts into your lesson plan? Do you have art time everyday, once a week or just whenever the mood strikes you? Do you even have a specific art time or do they get their art in their free play?

3. What do you do for physical education?

4. Do you have Bible teaching as part of your curriculum?

5. What curriculum do you use? Have your tried other curriculums? Which is your favorite?

6. If you have older children, when did you incorporate chapter books?

7. Do you have a school room? Or does the kitchen table double as their work area?

8. Do your kids have to sit at the table to do their work or do you let them work on the floor, their bed or anywhere else?

I told you she gets her question asking talent honestly. I will be posting what we do for most of these things over time, but I am interested in knowing how you run your school and your tips on making it better.

I'll start with number eight for today~~we use School of Tomorrow PACES for curriculum and that's all we have ever used. When she was in preschool she went for a year to a local Christian preschool (I was in college) and they used A Beka. I like both curriculum's, but since Kindergarten we have only used SOT PACES, I can't really say which I like best. We are always interested in trying out new things, so if anyone has a sample of curriculum you'd like for a third grader or preschooler to try out and review, let me know. ~~Smile~~

So now please weigh in. I'd love to hear about your school, pick a question or questions and give me some feed back. Please??

For cloth diapering fun, I posted over here too!


  1. Hi Valerie!
    We only have a senior in high school left at home, so I am answering for when mine were younger.

    1. We did picture study periodically, had art lessons here and there (both had basic drawing and painting classes)and visited art museums when were able, but we didn't have a very formal program and it wasn't every day. We incorporated the study of specific artists into our history study most often.

    2. We did a lot of hands on projects and activities throughout school. We made lapbooks at all ages, minibooks, presentation boards, etc. Again, usually incorporated into our history studies--like learning how to dip candles when studying the colonial period.

    3. For PE, my kids all became involved in Tai Kwon Do at a place owned by Christians. They were involved much of their elementary/middle school years and both earned at least a black belt.

    4. Yes, we had devotions every day at the kitchen table immediately following breakfast. From reading a verse or two and talking about it we moved along more deeply as they were able to understand. When they were older we did a verse by verse study of the book of Romans, for example.

    5. We began with text book curriculum which lasted about a year. We quickly moved into unit studies because the interest level was so much higher and they remembered more of what we discussed. It was also easier to incorporate more hands on and project based activities. We used several different programs over the firsr few years and settled upon Epi Kardia I became involved with helping develop, broaden and redesign the curriculum in 2003. Definitely our favorite!

    6. It has been a while since then- but as I remember, I believe we started chapter books about mid-way through first grade.

    7./8.For a school room we use the kitchen table, the floor, beds, school desks in the kids' rooms and even the back yard. :) We have a designated school room that is a finished room over the garage, but as the kids grew older they moved into other areas of the house to do their work and we began to have teaching times in various locations inside and out.

    It is always fascinating to hear how different people do things, isn't it? Thanks for your post!


    Dana Wilson

  2. Hi Valerie,

    I am now homeschooling a 9-yr. old son and a 13-yr. old son going into grades 4 and 8. However, with homeschooling I find the grade levels don't mean all that much except for math.

    1. When homeschooling is in full swing I do have a set routine. I find the children need it and no what to expect and I am more organized also. However, I am flexible so when something does come up I do schedule it in or can re-arrange the schedule to accommodate the activity or appointment.

    2. We have done art like The Lambs Book of Art and also a drawing program. I am not artsy so I have tried to incorporate art at least once per week in the afternoon after the academics.

    3. Phys-ed includes taking daily walks together before lunch and also homeschool group programs such as gymnastics or floor hockey in the past. I'm not sure what we are doing this year besides the walking and biking.

    4. I make sure to have Bible as part of our curriculum. We used Sonlight cores for a few years and enjoyed their Bible program. Last year I did it independent of Sonlight and we discussed various books of the New Testament and some of Proverbs. This year both boys will be going through Alpha Omega's Bible curriculum.

    5. As mentioned, we have used Sonlight but last year was the first year to change for my oldest and register with Tree of Life in New Brunswick, Canada. We put together a customized curriculum for 13-yr. old and he improved in his writing dramatically using Wordsmith. We use MathUSee and for history we used the GreenLeaf Press Renaissance and Reformation curriculum with wonderful living books.

    6. Chapter books were introduced late in Grade 2 and when we switched to Sonlight for Grade 3 it was mostly chapter books.

    7. No we do not have a designated school room. One child is at the kitchen table and the other is at the dining room table. This has worked quite well for us. However, field trips also count and learning on the go :)

    That's about it. Have a wonderful school year and remember that nothing is in stone and you can always try something new. I have enrolled my son with Tree of Life again this year since I like the feedback on his work and having a third party involved now that he is in the 8th grade.


    Luana Flacco


Please leave your comments, suggestions or ideas~~but remember to always be kind and use your inside voice. Please and Thank you.