I’m not a year-round homeschooler. Well, I guess I am in the sense that the kids are always learning, but we don’t do any formal school during the summer. Lots of playing outside, reading, reading aloud, trips to the library, swimming, etc. Our summer was extremely busy, and now here it is the last day of August, and we’re starting back to “school” on Tuesday.
I promised that I would blog about the H.O.M.E. Program and let you all know how it goes. So here’s a quick list of the pros and cons I’ve run into so far:
~ At orientation, the superintendent of the school district that supervises the program spoke to us. Here’s a paraphrase of what he said, “We believe that it is every parent’s right to educate their children in the way they see as best. We believe that you should have access to state funds to accomplish this goal — funds that are paid for by your taxes, whether your children are in school or not. We believe that it is your free speech right to use curriculum from the worldview that your family adheres to. We will do what we can to protect these rights. We are here to give you the resources you need to teach your children and will do so with only the minimum amount of oversight and reporting as required by law.” So many times public school faculty and staff are antagonistic toward homeschoolers. It was very refreshing to meet one who believes in the parent’s right to educate their children.
~ $1200 per student per year for 1st through 8th grades; $600 per student per year for kindergarten. This can be used for curriculum, as well as music lessons, sports lessons, dance, art, etc.
~ Being able to order all of the curriculum and games and multi-media and manipulatives and educational goodies that I wanted instead of having to pick and choose and “get by” due to finances.
~ A weekly group meeting led by a science “geek” who loves to do experiments, build things, and blow things up. Last year the group got together in the evening to look through a high-powered telescope with GPS and digital camera. They were able to see Saturn’s rings! Needless to say, my boys are very excited!
~ Less record keeping during the school year. Yes, you read that right — less! Last year, I kept my own records of the hours we “schooled”, including the subjects. So my records looked like this: date, science – 1 hour, math 1/2 hour, etc. From reading the law, I thought this was what I was required to do, though no one has ever asked to see my records. Well, with this program, all I have to do is go online once a week and log in and indicate that we did our required hours: 10 for kindergarten, 15 for 1st thru 3rd, 20 for 4th and up. I don’t have to say what subjects we studied, just that the kids learned. Not hard to make that many hours, considering I read aloud to the kids for at least an hour a day, and that counts, plus all electives, on top of our “regular” subjects like math and phonics.
~ Having to wait for my curriculum. I sent in my requisition forms, which they then fax to the companies. The companies mail the order to them and I have to pick it up. Inconvenient.
~ Detailed Learning Plans for each student. For each subject we are studying, I had to write out what I expect the student to learn during the year. At least I get to decide what they’re learning. It’s just more detailed than anything I’ve done before. Usually I just keep those kinds of “records” in my head! The good thing is I can modify the learning plan during the year if one of the kids is going like gangbusters or wants to veer off to study something different or is going more slowly than I anticipated.
That’s all I can think of for now. We haven’t had our first meeting yet, though I’ve talked to the group teacher and he seems very nice. Our first class is next Thursday, so we’ll see how it goes. So far I am very pleased, and continue to see this program as a blessing.
I love to read about how other homeschooling families schedule their day — or how they don’t! There is such a huge variety of methods and styles, and I get a kick out of seeing how differently people handle this whole education thing. If you’re like me, the rest of this post (where I’ll post our schedule) is for you. If you find that kind of stuff incredibly boring, feel free to skip it!
Our Schedule for Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday
(Thursdays are HOME group, shopping, and errands. Natalie is in 3rd grade, Noah in 1st, Jonathan in kindergarten.)
6:15 – Mom up, quiet time
7:00 – kids up, dressed, beds made
7:15 – Daddy leaves for work
7:30 – breakfast, brush teeth, comb hair
8:00 – quick pick-up and chores, Mom does morning housework
9:00 – Prayer and Bible reading
9:30 – Mom & Noah – math, language, reading; Nan – starts seatwork; Jonathan – computer kindergarten game
10:00 – Noah – seatwork; Mom & Nan – math, dictation, writing assignment; Jonathan – “free” computer time
10:30 – snack and break
11:00 – Mom & Jonathan – math and phonics; Nan & Noah – finish seatwork; Josiah – computer time
12:00 – lunch and break
12:45 – Monday: in depth Bible study and History (1st semester) or Science (2nd semester); Tuesday: music and History or Science; Wednesday: poetry and History or Science; Friday: art and History or Science
2:00 – Mom – blogging time and housework; Nan – time on her computer (Spanish, typing, math drills, and blogging for language assignment)
3:45 – Mom – dinner prep; Noah – computer time; TV time for Jonathan and Josiah
4:45 – quick pick-up before dinner
5:00 – Dad home, dinner
5:45 – Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday – swimming at the pool; Wednesday – family night at church
6:45 – picture book read-aloud time
7:30 – Jonathan & Josiah to bed; chapter book read-aloud with Nan & Noah
8-ish – Nan & Noah to bed, Mom and Dad time
I’ve also got to figure out a time for Nan’s piano lesson. Maybe skip swimming on Tuesday evenings, or in place of history or science one day a week. I don’t worry about missing these occasionally, because our read-aloud time in the evenings often goes along with whatever we’re studying in these subjects.
Natalie – 3rd grade
Abeka Language 3, EZ Grammar 2/3, Wordly Wise 3000 Book B, Spelling Plus, Complete Writing Lessons for the Primary Grades, Italic Handwriting Book D, Bob Jones Math 3, Switched on Schoolhouse Elementary Spanish, Mavis Beacon Teaches Typing, John W. Schaum Piano Course Pre-A Book, Essentials of Music Theory Book 1
Noah – 1st grade
Abeka Letters and Sounds 1, Abeka Language 1, Spelling Plus, Italic Handwriting Book B, Bob Jones Math 1
Jonathan – Kindergarten
Abeka Letters and Sounds K5, Italic Handwriting Book A, Bob Jones Math K5
Bob Jones Heritage Studies 2 (history), Bob Jones Science 2, Stories of the Great Composers Book 1, Favorite Poems Old and New, Draw Write Now Book 6, Drawing With Children, Quarter Mile Math software for math drills
Noah and Natalie are excited to start and are counting the days. Jonathan is also excited to be a kindergartener. He’s my busy one, so I hope that excitement continues. I’m going to use lots of jumping, moving, wiggling games for his math and phonics to try and harness some of that energy. This one’s going to stretch me, I’m sure!