We decided to homeschool.
The idea is not completely new to us. When the girls were 4 & 5 we were apart of a local homeschooling group. Ultimately it was our daughter’s choice to try Kindergarten, which she absolutely loved so both girls started Kinder at a public school. But times have changed a bit, and here we are today and after some research here is what we decided on homeschooling.
Because the kids want to go back to their school eventually, I am going to be following a curriculum but I also purchased the textbooks their school is using this year so that I can also use that as a guide, to be sure we are covering what their actual school is covering, so when they go back they will be on track. It might be before the end of the year, who knows, but we are taking it as we go and deciding as we go along.
There are a few reasons why we decided to homeschool. Because of the virus, we really only had one option in our district. 100% Distance/Virtual learning was extended through October as of right now that includes synchronous and asynchronous learning. We did virtual end of last year after our schools closed up in March and my girls had the toughest time adjusting to distance learning. They just were not motivated sitting in front of a computer and it was really stressful for everyone, especially trying to get them up at 7AM for an 8AM Zoom session. There was just no motivation, they hated it. There is a possibility our school may open in the fall, but that got me thinking that it’s right around Flu season and if this virus is still going around I don’t know that I want to send my kids back that soon, plus there would be all the precautions going back to in-person would require like face masks, temperature checks, social distancing, no-recess or lunchroom time. And after lots of discussions in our household, we ultimately decided that this is just not the ideal situation for our children to go back to school at this time.
The first step was to check our state laws for homeschool regulations and then we had to choose what we were doing for curriculum. I won’t lie and say this was easy, there are so many homeschool curriculums out there so I did lots of research to see what was going to work for us. Although the kids do want to return to school, I knew that I also needed a guided lesson plan + curriculum which, I knew that I wasn’t going to get by just using their school textbooks. And let me say that, at first I really did tried. I tried planning out lessons using just their school textbooks and our state regulations but it was not easy. So here is what we’re doing.
For a guided lesson plan we are using The Good & The Beautiful Curriculum. There are so many great things about this curriculum and in addition to that, you can download an entire Language Arts curriculum for FREE. This curriculum is pretty structured. There is no prep or planning, basically you open up your books everyday and it tells you step by step what you need to do and what is expected of your kids that day. I know that might not be for everyone, but for someone like me who loves structure and someone who is new to homeschooling 2nd and 3rd graders, this was perfect! I have also seen so many reviews that this curriculum keeps your kids on track with what kids are learning in public school. So that’s a plus if you plan to send your kids back at some point.
The other thing that I liked about the Language Arts curriculum was that it doesn’t go by grade level, it goes by reading level. Since both of my girls are already reading ahead, they can both use the same curriculum which minimizes me trying to do two different lessons at once, and it also helps them continue to read ahead. The Language Arts curriculum also uses other subjects as part of their lessons like – geography, literature, grammar, poetry and art. So we don’t necessarily have to have a separate curriculum for all of those, but we will definitely be supplementing our arts, science and history.
I am also using K5 learning website for their worksheets, mostly for their Vocabulary and Grammar worksheets. I also signed up for a monthly membership for Education.com which gives you access to so many resources. I use mostly their worksheets and games.
In addition to this, I also purchased their school textbooks they would be using this year at school. I plan on using these as a guide and use some of those assignments to supplement our curriculum, not because I don’t think The Good & The Beautiful will be lacking, but just for my own peace of mind.
To supplement we are using a few online resources. So far we have used ReadingEggs and MathSeeds. The kids find these really enjoyable too so that is a plus. It’s a paid membership and this is our first month, so we are still testing these out to see if these will be beneficial for us.
I also plan on starting cursive writing with the girls this year. We purchased this Beginning Cursive Workbook from Amazon. I also ordered Time Traveler from Usborne Books and as well as The Usborne Book of World History for our History lessons, it was recommended to me by several homeschooling moms.
One thing we have been using recently is Varsity Tutors for their free classes. While our mornings are busy with homeschool, we schedule these other classes in the afternoon. My kids recently took a week long Fractured Fairy Tales class and were sad when it ended, so that showed me they really enjoyed that one. They are also scheduled for a Minecraft building one coming up they are really excited about.
I had a few people ask about the kids and their interactions with their friends or other kids, but we aren’t worried about that at all. When they girls were young they were in a homeschool group with lots of other kids, they used to see them on a weekly basis, made new friends, went on field trips and had lots of fun in their outdoor adventures. We plan on doing the same thing this year. A few moms I met on Facebook who are also homeschooling for the first time formed a small, close-knit homeschooling group where we plan on meeting (with precautions where social distancing is allowed). The girls are also writing to a pen-pal this year! In addition to this, my girls will continue with Girl Scouts, sports, choir and guitar lessons so I know the kids will still have lots of fun and interactions with other kids this year.
Are you considering homeschooling this year? Follow our homeschool journey on Instagram.
I put together of list of some of my favorite Homeschooling Books here, as well as our homeschool room furniture and other items we use in our room.