One of our main promises to our readers and followers is to always be honest. It is no secret we have had our troubles with homeschooling at times and this school year was one of our biggest tests. Let’s be real: it’s April and I’m just now confident enough in what we are doing and have used to share about our homeschool curriculum choices for 2017-18.
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At the beginning of 2017 our oldest child hit a wall. She struggles with confidence in her abilities and is driven by emotions. Failure is huge for her. We are working on helping her cope with the feelings but when she has a hard time understanding a concept she tends to shut down or become embarrassed. The number one school rule in our family: just try. You can fly or you can fall but you cannot just sit. Make some effort and we will be proud of you no matter what: Just try!
Reading causes a great deal of anxiety for this amazing girl of ours. Reading in front of people is something that terrifies her. Even words she knows and books that are simple make her uneasy if anyone else is in the room. We didn’t realize just how intense these fears were until Christmas of 2016 when we tried having her read Christmas books with some family. She shut down, she cried, and she brought those moments up again and again for months trying to process the emotions. Working through the anxieties from that week was challenging. It’s something I have never dealt with in my own life. Reading has been a passion since before I can remember so this type of struggle is whole new world to me.
Our Plan for 2017-18
With her struggles, we made very little progress during 2017. We focused on learning from life, had fun with random projects, took field trips, and tried to keep things simple. We usually school year-round starting our “school year” in July but she just was not ready. If we pushed her to make some effort then she pushed back and shut down again. Time was what she needed most along with compassion and understanding. So, we waited. We watched for a signal that she was opening back up and eased our way into an informal routine. It worked!
Over the last 6 months, our beautiful girl has come back out of her shell and begun working on school again. We have found a story based math workbook she loves, a reading program that we should have tried years ago, and a spelling system that we are still just beginning to introduce. Her pace, her choice, her education. I have probably said it a million times but I will say it again: one of the best things about homeschooling is making school fit our family and children instead of our children having to fit school. Knowing that her battle with confidence could have set her back in the public school system breaks my heart. Teachers try but they have a full classroom of students to focus on and only so many hours in a day. If she were not homeschooled, would she have been left behind? Would she have been held back to repeat another year, feeling even more anxious about not living up to the standards? I just cannot even imagine that being our real lives.
Homeschool Curriculum 2017-18
Taking it slow and easy for this school year we decided to take a step back and use this year for confidence boosting. Building a strong foundation now was more important than pushing ahead and creating more challenges down the road. Below are the few structured things that we did do this school year and what we will be finishing up as spring continues. Our homeschool curriculum choices were somewhat limited with our main goal being to take life one step at a time.
Wild Child (PreK 4/5)
- Smart Start Level K – An all-inclusive workbook with over 300 activities focusing on foundational skills.
- All About Reading Pre-Reading – An interactive program that focuses on teaching capital letters, lowercase letters, and letter sounds while showing that reading can be fun.
Princess (7-years-old/2nd Grade)
- Math for a Living Education Level 1 – Designed to help children ages 5-7 develop an interest in mathematics through the story of twins who spend the summer visiting their grandparents’ farm. Teaches addition, subtraction, and time.
- Math for a Living Education Level 2 – Meant for ages 6-8, this workbook continues with the story from level 1 while teaching math skills in real life scenarios. Some of the focuses include subtraction, word problems, money, and measurements.
- All About Reading Level 2 – Moving beyond early phonics level 2 begins focusing on reading fluency, comprehension, and retention.
- All About Spelling Level 1 – A complete stand-alone spelling program, level 1 focuses on teaching encoding and phonological awareness.