Levi did not return to public school after spring break. I can’t say enough good things about his teachers and the principal of our local school. They truly love the kids and it shows. They were doing everything possible to help Levi thrive, but it came down to the fact that he does best in a one on one setting at this point. That’s the one thing the school can’t provide for him. So here we are, suddenly homeschooling one of our four school-age kids. Plus there’s a toddler at home with us, but he won’t sit down and learn stuff, so I guess he’s an unschooler.
My goal for the first weeks is for Levi to remember that he loves to learn. I also want him to remember that you can learn things outside of a classroom. We’re doing some formal bookwork, but right now we’re spending a lot of time outside of the house.
We’ve been to snowboarding school, homeschool story hour, Science City, the zoo, and the library. We’ve played in the yard and talked about how raw food transforms into cooked food. We watched “42” again and talked about Jackie Robinson. Levi chooses a random subject each week to research, and he gives a short report to his siblings and dad when they get home.
Of course, we had to register as a private school with the state. That’s the only thing Kansas requires of us. The law does say kids are supposed to spend an equivalent amount of time learning as they do in public schools, and you’re supposed to cover the same types of subjects. Based on the first few weeks, I’d say Levi will spend quite a bit more time learning since we have audio books for travel time, and he spends some weekends on activities that definitely count as education.
On more formal school days, we’re using a workbox system so that Levi can easily see what needs to be done. This system also gives him automatic break points between tasks. He can get a snack, jump on the trampoline for a few minutes, run around the yard, or whatever he needs to do to burn off energy and re-focus for the next lesson. He’s 8, and very energetic, so this works better for us right now versus a rigid schedule.
I found the colorful workboxes at a local ShopKo for less than $30 on sale. If you’re looking for workboxes and want this type, which seems to be more beloved by homeschool parents than an IKEA school room redo, ShopKo is worth checking out. Otherwise, you can get the lovely workboxes at Amazon.com in rainbow colors, clear or double-wide versions.
Everyone always asks about curriculum, so I’ll give you a quick rundown on what we’re going to be using for now. All Amazon links are affiliate links. Other links are not.
- Handwriting Without Tears – Cursive
- Sequential Spelling 1
- Fluency Passages from Common Core & So Much More
- Amanda Bennett Unit Studies – Flight
- Intellego Unit Studies – Globetrotting with Folktales
- Math Mammoth Light Blue Series
That covers the basics – reading, writing, math, science, history, and geography (the last 3 subjects are contained in the unit studies).
We also have several books for read-alouds and for Levi to read on his own. Many of our reading choices relate to what he’s studying. Right now he’s really into a comic book about The Wright Brothers and a story about Neil Armstrong’s life – Neil Armstrong: Young Pilot.
Levi really liked the story about Neil Armstrong because he learned that Neil’s love of flying started when he rode in a Ford TriMotor plane. My husband has also flown in a Ford TriMotor, and Levi thinks that’s pretty awesome.
For fun, we’re working through the AirQuest Adventures series during our read aloud time. Right now we’re reading Crash at Cannibal Valley.
Closer to fall, I’m really excited to try out the Magnetism and Electricity dvd classes I ordered from Supercharged Science. The kids took one of Aurora’s teleclasses a while back, about lasers, and they loved it. She offers free online classes once in a while. Worth the time if you can catch one!
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