How I'm Homeschooling {like a boss} Part 2

I hope part 1 of this series was an encouragement to you! We are all making a new way as we walk through our homeschool adventure, and it's challenging for each of us in different ways, at different times. My heart is that you always know you aren't alone! AND, I hope I can share some practical tips about how our days are running and which curricula we are using (and what we tried and dropped) this school year. 

I'm hopeful that as you look at planning your semester and next school year, you can benefit from the planning printables that I have created for you. All you have to do is enter your email below, and you'll have immediate access to a HUGE pack of homeschool organization goodness!

I have used a system like this for about 5 years now and despite seeming a little time-consuming to plan, it leaves me feeling relatively confident that our days have some rhythm and rhyme to them. I tend to schedule down to the minute because I'm a type A, control freak... but, I also give us tons of space and grace. I expect that this fancy schedule will actually pan out like 2% of the time. The rest is hit or miss, and that's ok.

Here is what our days are currently lined up to look like for our second semester. Our first semester was very similar, except for unforseeable circumstances basically changing everything October through December. I like to create a big vision for how I'd like to manage my overall time, then I break it down and look at who needs me and when. I do this for our life as a whole, but even moreso for homeschool.

SUPER detailed post with all types of links for curriculum, scheduling and of course FREE printables. These are just for homeschool moms who either also work or have ministry responsibilities. GREAT collection of information about all kinds of curriculum too! Love!

Yes! You can definitely download this and use it. I promise it's not overwhelming when used alongside my free planning resources! Simply click the image and it will take you to get access to our entire Homeschool Resource Library where you can snag everything in this post to use yourself! FOR FREE! You can't edit the original though (you'll just download your own copy).

As you can see, we aren't morning people. My boys are early risers, but my girls and I are not mentally awake until almost noon. Additionally, I find that our school time is much more productive when I've given my 11 year old time to blow off some steam first, and I've given my boys some one-on-one attention. We save the bulk of our school work for their nap time. My girls work independently very well, so for the most part, they do their school alone except to narrate and get help when needed. I do work with my younger daughter on her math and Latin.

So this schedule is what works for US... Based on our academic levels and needs, ages, attention spans, biological clocks, and attitudes. This schedule likely won't work for you, so I hope my printables can help you work through the process of nailing down a rhythm that's a perfect fit for your family. 

Yay, now it's time to talk curriculum!!! I love curriculum. I'm a junkie. I'll admit it. I love a well-laid plan, laminated covers, solid spiral binding and all the educational potential found in those beautiful pages. Here are our choices for this current semester. At the end I'll mention a language arts curriculum that I wanted to love so much, but we quickly discerned it wasn't a good fit for us. 

8th Grade

My 8th grader is a little gifted in language arts and is a passionate, avid reader. She's obsessed with Percy Jackson and thusly all Greek mythology, Greece, and it's language, food, and culture. She is not mathematically inclined and has little interest in science other than nature study. We began the year in a co-op but have decided (due to my desire for increased flexibility) that we won't participate this next semester, so here's what we will continue doing for the remainder of the school year. 

Math: Principles of Mathematics 1 by Master Books (here's the teacher's guide too). We are on the accelerated schedule and will begin book 2 maybe in April? The intent is to work through the summer in order to begin Jacob's Algebra in the fall, but that's still a little up in the air. 

Language Arts + Science + Biography + History: Essentially we are following Ambleside Online years 8 and 9... Or rather I use it as a guideline. She's reading through Shakespeare via No Fear Shakespeare (she's read Henvry V, is working on Richard III, and up next is As You Like It),  and we are using other books they recommend for other subjects. Both my girls learn best through living literature so I spend the bulk of our curriculum money on lots and lots of books. We don't follow AO to the tee. I pick and choose to match interest, aptitudes, and book availability. We also narrate orally and in written form. Additionally for History, as her spine, she is using Book of the Middle Ages from Memoria Press as well. It's a little dry, but definitely gets the job done. I love that it has good vocabulary as well. 

Dictation: I love Spelling Wisdom available from Simply Charlotte Mason. It's so easy to implement. Print, hand it over, let her use it for copywork then we dictate a portion after a few days. Easy peasy. 

Logic: Introductory Logic by Roman Roads Media & Canon Press. My husband is actually handling this for our family this semester. Hopefully that goes well! He's insanely left-brained so it shouldn't be a stretch for him. 

Greek: Memoria Press' First Form Greek. This was all her choice. I thought we would go with Latin or Spanish but she's been so enthusiastic about learning Greek. She had to first learn the alphabet and phonics but now she's into the meat of the program and loving it. 

5th Grade

My 5th grader is high energy, super extroverted, people-centered, and really could care less about anything academic. She also has dyslexia and auditory processing disorder. As such, I've always struggled to be super creative to help her learn things she needs to know, struggles to know, and could care less to know. 

Math: Right Start Math 2nd Edition, beginning with Level A (keep an eye out for a vlog pretty soon with the unboxing reveal!). Math is is a big struggle for us. We began the year with Math for Living Education but it just wasn't a good fit for Kali. There wasn't much instruction to it and it moved quickly. With a poor working memory and a cinder block wall encasing her long term memory, we have to repeat repeat repeat repeat all concepts for years (literally) in a variety of ways before they truly take hold permanently. We then tried ST Math, built by a dyslexic teacher, and she absolutely HATED it. She may have dyslexia and be creative but isn't profoundly a "right brainer" so this was also a fail. All along, as we've worked with different curriculum, I've just taught her basic concepts, continuously reviewing. As such, she can do basic multiplication and just learned multi-digit a few weeks ago. Praise God! But I've also left big gaps, especially in number sense so RS Math is my Hail Mary in filling in gaps before we get to middle school. 

Language Arts + Science + Biography + History: Here too, we are loosely following AO with other picks thrown in. The spines recommended there are not a good fit for a dyslexic student (mine anyway) so we basically chucked those and we are focusing on good literature and great historical fiction. Here's a current list she's read or working on (which she's reading to herself or listening via Learning Ally): 

Geography: We were using Veritas Press's Leagues & Legends last semester and reading Marco Polo. However, we are skipping geography for both girls this semester in lieu of doubling up on math to make some meaningful progress. 

Latin: Classical Academic Press Latin for Children A... And we LOVE IT. It is SO easy to implement, and she's grasped and remembered more grammar via our Latin lessons than in 5 years of grammar instruction and memory work songs. Win! 

As a family, for Worldview, Bible, Church History and Citizenship, we read together at night for about 30 minutes. We read scripture, I Don't Have Enough Faith to be an Atheist, Trial and Triumph, and Mrs Beesly's Stories from the History of Rome (which is a nice segway into Plutarch's Lives). 

We are also following AO for art, music, and poetry, but of course, we are running behind. If we get through one artist and composer the whole year, I'll be pleased. I do highly recommend the Picture Study Portfolio from Simply Charlotte Mason. We are currently using the Rubens one and ordered the PDF version. I plan to buy 2 of the printed versions at Teach Them Diligently this year, if funds allow at the time, because INK.  

2 Year old Preschool

OK, kind of crazy, but I've decided to start a very teensy-weensy bit of school with my 2 year old, but ONLY because he's showing so much readiness. He regularly asks letter names so we are very, insanely gently starting the All About Reading Pre-Reading program this semester. It's so easy and so sweet. We will hopefully grab hold of one or two letter names and play some fun games to identify rhyming words, etc. He will get something from it... Or he won't. Either way, it's all for fun. 

We will read tons of books, as always. We love everything Eric Carle so I plan to do a few little unit studies around some of his books. {Pinterest makes a unit study about ANYTHING super easy, so follow my boards, if you aren't already, for great ideas!}

We will also work on early math skills like shapes, colors, identifying patterns, assembling puzzles, etc. He can currently count to 30 so the next step is identifying numbers, but I plan to focus on letter identification first. 

Lastly, a k2-k4 Memory Work program has just been completed and is 100% FREE!! I'm so EXCITED!!! His brain is an incredible little sponge. He's in full "poll parrot" stage and repeats and remembers everything he hears! I want to take full advantage of this as I know it will be a great advantage to him as we read historical fiction and living science books throughout his school years. I'm very excited about this program. It's been downloaded over 5000 times! Don't miss out while it's still FREE!

So what was our curriculum "fail" for the year? Apologia's new language art program: Readers in Residence and Writers in Residence. I LOVE this program (and if you have a typical learner, I highly suggest looking into it!)... But not for my dyslexic student. I felt like it would be a perfect fit to fill gaps, deepen understanding of her reading, and encourage her to write in a fun, creative way. So what was the problem? It's too wordy. Since I had to read the material to her, after 3 minutes, her eyes glossed over. I know my child, and I know which battles to choose. She already kind of hates language arts, and I quickly saw her dreading this time together each day. She loves to read stories, and she loves to TELL them to me. She does this very naturally with anything worth reading. But she doesn't want to do a Q&A, dissect them, read them painfully slow, or discuss different aspects ad nauseum. She's a "get it done" kind of girl. So as much as I absolutely loved it as a word-loving girl, my word-hating girl was completely turned off. 

So, there you have it! That's what and how and when and why we are homeschooling.

I'd love to hear from you! What is your biggest curriculum HIT or MISS this year?