Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Managing Homeschooling with Ease
I thought I would give new homeschoolers some advice from the 23 years I've been engaged in this process. The more children one is homeschooling...the more of a challenge the effort can be on our time and organization. I have five children: one in grad school, one a senior in college, one a senior at a Catholic high school, one a freshman at this Catholic high school, and one still homeschooled with me. I homeschooled my four older children up until ninth grade where they enrolled in private high schools with an above par transition!
I have found that if I can help my kids focus on more knowledge with a subject at an earlier age, the easier it is to manage their homeschool endeavors at a later age. For example, last year my first grader completed the entire Harcourt Science textbook. We did science about three days out of the week. I absolutely loved this book as the experiments were easy, many, and very instructional. The textbook consisted three units with six chapters averaging about four lessons per chapter. Here is the table-of-contents.
Harcourt Science - Life Science: Living Things Grow and Change, Homes for Living Things; Earth Science: Exploring Earth's Surface, Space and Weather; Physical Science: Exploring Matter, Energy in Motion (This book is extremely manageable. We complete about 4 to 6 great worksheets per lesson dispersed through out the week and conduct a simple experiment with easy to find items. I can read the lesson and worksheets on the weekend so I can be prepared during the week. We do not complete a lesson in one sitting.)
I covered more science that required my assistance with my college sons when they were in first through third grade also. This gave them a big picture of what the discipline of science consisted of while they were at a young age. It opened the door for them to engage in the subject more independently when they were older. This also makes more time if you have any new members join your family in the future because, heaven knows, an infant depends entirely on mom.
This year since my first grader completed a efficient amount of science in first grade, we are able to take a science class in a coop that teaches one day a week rather than three days a week. Our units are on the solar system, anatomy, magnetism, and birds. It will cover less ground than his first year but is a more socially oriented method as he is participating in a wonderful group setting with like minded Christians. A social setting can be a great asset if the kids are all learning similar morals and virtuous concepts. An added benefit is that my partner in teaching has a nursing background and is a great teacher. This gives us more time to focus on the new subjects he is pursuing this year with Latin and spelling.
Now, I've heard of some curriculums that don't even teach science in the early years. I have experienced that this is more applicable to little girls than little boys. My sons loved to be engaged in more hands on experiments. My little girls were more happy just 'being.' I can't say this is the same for every child, but I can definitely say it is the case in our specific family.
Therefore, if you have many children you are homeschooling...try to pick a subject you can teach them a bit more broadly and then the following year you can be a bit more relaxed in this area. Science is a good choice because it can require more of a time and planning commitment.