Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Chronicles of a Homeschool Mom

When we decided to homeschool, one of my close friends told me to lay low. "Don't make a big proclamation about it." We just do what we do, and when someone asks, we tell them politely. I have held to that for about six months now, and while I still consider myself a rookie (because I am), I've had enough sincere inquires that I felt like it was ok that I finally wrote a post about it. I'll cover a few, very basic questions we receive about it, and I'll share a few pictures that I've taken along the way.

When We Decided

I had left for a women's conference back in April, and I expected that God would speak to me. There was no telling what He might reveal while I was away, but what I didn't know was that He would be talking my husband as well.

It's still a clear memory in my mind. The afternoon that I came back, Josh and I sat on the couch in the living room as the kids played in their rooms. What seemed like out of no where, Josh began, "Chrissy, I really felt like God was speaking to me this morning at church. I feel like we are supposed to homeschool Caleb."

I paused. I smiled.

You see, up until that point, we had made every plan to send Caleb to a nearby Christian school. We had met with the administrator. We had read the handbook. We had set aside funds and made financial plans for the future so this would be a reality not only for Caleb but for Sarah and Gabriel when the day would come for them, too.

But that changed. And I was totally ok with it. I had considered homeschooling anyway, but I didn't want to do it unless Josh was on board with it. When he was, that's when we took off with the idea.

The Curriculum

I am fortunate to have several friends who homeschool, and among them are some very seasoned homeschool moms! They have used a variety of curriculum, and after speaking with them, looking over a variety and reading about others, we decided to use Alpha Omega's Lifepac sets. The pages are colorful. The planning is simplistic. It's often repetitive which insures mastery of the skill set that's being taught.

Aside from the workbooks from Lifepac, I also use things here and there - whatever I think will help him learn. We have sight-word flash cards for example. We also have a few craft books for kids. And just the other day, I thought that rolling dice and adding the two together might be a fun way to work on adding, so we played a game with dice. We also utilize a marker board and have fun working on numbers, letters, words, etc. on it. (I have a hilarious video of Caleb and the marker board...I'll try to get it on her sometime today.)

Our Schedule

Each day we start at 9:00 am. We say our pledges to the American flag, the Christian flag, and the Bible. Then we pray for our morning. After that, we begin with our language arts lesson which usually lasts for about 45 minutes. We've enjoyed making silly stories in our book.

Using the long e sound:

Using words with th:

Then we take a break from seat work and sit on the couch with mommy and have reading time, usually for 15 or 20 minutes. If it's a book that has words he knows, I point to them and make him tell me. But more often than not, I let him cuddle with me and I just read a few books to him. He loves it. We received our Book It materials from Pizza Hut, and he's working towards his free pizza for the month of October! I used to love doing that as a kid.

When our reading time is done, we move on to math. Just this week, he was introduced to subtraction. It's been fun to see him pick up on each new concept. Each math lesson usually takes 30 or 35 minutes.

Lifepac does not have workbooks for social studies or science until 1st grade. I've looked up objectives from schools, and from what I gather a kindergartner needs a very basic understanding of these two subjects. Things like knowing his address or the days of the week, knowing his five senses and about living things. We've got that.

During the week, he is involved in several things outside of our home. He enjoys his Sunday school class and children's church class. He played soccer and just had his last game last night! He loves going to his PE class each Tuesday. He enjoys his Christmas program practice each Wednesday. We go to the library (usually) once a week on Thursday, and I think the girls behind the counter enjoy seeing him as much as he enjoys seeing them. For each of these activities, he is required to respect adults, stand in line, wait his turn, sit quietly, etc.

So there is my very basic overview of homeschooling Caleb! Thank you to those who have been overwhelmingly supportive. I am more than willing to answer questions about it, but remember, I'm still a rookie!


Causey Fam said...

Thank you for writing about your day!! I enjoyed reading it and getting a glimpse into your routine and how things are going for you!!! Love and miss ya!

Nel said...

Great post! And answered several of my questions :o)

Tiffany said...

Awesome, Chrissie! Love reading this! {grin}

Anonymous said...

Love it! I'm glad you're getting the much needed support that all moms need! I too love seeing your schedule! Caleb has awesome handwriting too!!!

Wendy said...

I have a friend I who went to school with me in HS. She used to be an elementary teacher and now she homeschools her two children. She refers to it as "un-schooling". She chronicled her journey as an un-schooler in a blog. You should check it out. Very interesting. Check it out:

Jo Ann said...

Cheering you on!! I remember when I was young (before kids) and thought it will be so great when my kids go to school...Now I am so glad we get to be together all day!

Susan said...

So proud of you and Josh. You are doing a great job raising my grandkids!!! They are a blessing and a joy. love you guys!!

Shawna said...

I loved reading this post. We homeschool as well, and I'm always curious about what others do and how their days go. I look forward to reading more about your journey if you choose to share more.

FYI, we use a free curriculum at They have material available for PreK through 3rd or 4th and are adding up to 8th eventually. Check it out if you ever want to try anything different! I'll look into the LIfepacs too. Thanks!

Kelly @ Blessed Mommy, Blessed Wife said...

I loved reading this post! I really think homeschooling is in our future so I love reading about other homeschooling moms' journeys. For now, my oldest is in 'traditional' kindergarten but I'm researching homeschooling cirriculums. Thanks for sharing the approach you're taking. I think what you're doing for your children is awesome. May God richly bless you in the homeschooling arena!

vacances en espagne said...

Awesome post !!!!
I feel very Glad by reviewing your post.It is good work to have a home school.The work you done is very good in a real manner.Thanks for sharing such a good experience.I like the post.

Ashley said...

Thank you for posting about this. As you know, this has also been on my heart and I'm loving reading how you're making the logistics of it work for you guys. Can you share about how you entertain the younger two while you work with Caleb?

Cheryl said...

i'm impressed! =) your schedule was very informative! i will keep it in mind if this is ever a plan God has for our family. can't ever imagine it will be, but then again, i said that about being a stay-at-home-mom, too. ;-) i'm also interested in what you do with the younger ones while you teach Caleb.... don't know how you do it. you must be super mom. =) oh, and by the way, caleb has awesome handwriting!! i know you must LOOOOVE being home with him everyday and seeing first-hand all he's learning and watching those lightbulbs flash constantly! =)

Josh said...

This is by far the best post you have written. She is doing a great job with Caleb. What better teacher can someone have than their mother!? The other two kids are better at occupying themselves during the school time. Gabriel watches a movie or plays with toys in a room and Sarah loves to play on the computer at or (and she gets to play uninterrupted from her brothers). When she doesnt do that, she plays with Gabriel or watches the movie.

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