August 9, 2013

Our Homeschool Curriculum Choice

As you've noticed from the previous posts, we're in back to school mode here!  Today, I am linking up with other homeschoolers at the Not Back to School Blog Hop where we are sharing our curriuculum choices for this school year.  I have already shared with you our journey to homeschool.  During that summer of great research, I discovered a "method" of homeschooling that I had never heard of - the Charlotte Mason method.  The more I read about Charlotte Mason and her ideas of educating children, the more I fell in love with the idea of homeschooling this way.  And so last year, I began piecing together my own curricula using her ideas.  I found this difficult to do.  I had never been taught this way.  I knew of not one person who had ever used this method of teaching, and I was going against the flow of anyone I did know who was homeschooling.  Worst of all, I couldn't really even explain what I was doing because I was still trying to figure it out myself!  All I knew was that I wanted my children to fall in love with learning, and this sounded like a great way to make that happen!  Last year, my fall semester was a hodge podge year.  I kept some of the traditional subjects with traditional curriculum and began slowly (as I understood more) incorporating Charlotte Mason's ideas.  Then, in January of this year, I discovered and the curriculum provided there called Higher Up and Further In (HUFI).

HUFI has been an answer to prayer for our family!  It provides book lists and suggested schedules for each grade level and also has many practical tips and much advice from the websites organizer who has homeschooled her four children using this curriculum layout.  It made Charlotte Mason's methods more clear, gave me a long term plan for teaching and has given so many practical tools that have saved me time and allowed me to spend more time with my kiddos.  This will be our first year going from start to finish through the year with this curriculum, but as we have incorporated much of this into our last semester, I have watched my kiddos' attitudes towards learning change 180 degrees!  They enjoy most of school now and look forward especially to the reading we do together as well as the nature walks and artist and composer studies.  

Rather than write it all out here, I will encourage you to connect to the link and see for yourself what this is all about.  For now, she only has grades 1-6 posted, but up until the last month she also had grades 7-12.  I printed each grade out and have it kept in binders, and I am fully confident that this will be our choice of curriculum for the rest of our children's schooling.  We are following her schedules and book suggestions exactly. (I am homeschooling using level 4 for Evvie, 2 for Andrew and 1 for Garrett and Madelyn.)

Our choice of math curriculum is Right Start.  It is a little more time consuming in that it requires me to teach one on one and includes many games to reinforce the teaching, but my kids all LOVE it and have picked up many of the methods of math much faster than they were using our previous more traditional curriculum.  Although Charlotte Mason discouraged busy work and lots of work sheets, I am planning to incorporate a few more worksheets each week for math.  I love the Right Start methods and teaching, but I do feel more review on paper would be helpful in giving my children better speed and confidence in their math skills.  

If you are at all interested in finding out more about Charlotte Mason and her ideas and methods of teaching, I would encourage you to check out the HUFI website.  It has been an encouragement to me, and I am excited about the complete transition our family will be making this September!  Until then, we are preparing for a three week vacation.  There are several posts I would like to squeeze in before school begins, but posts may be a little irregular for the next few weeks as we focus on relaxing and enjoying time together as a family!  Happy Homeschool Planning!
Wishing you a day full of blessings,

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