Homeschool Life

First off, I want to say thank you for all the messages and support that we have gotten since Tuesday.  I was blown away by the facebook messages, text messages, and calls that I got regarding this new information on Eli. If you have come to the blog to read the medical update, please click here. I know that many of you have signed up for updates, so for future reference, I will include Eli's name in the post title so if you ONLY want to keep up with his progress, you can read those when you see them in your inbox and disregard the others.  I blog about everything on here, so it will be a mix of Eli and family stuff. 

I have been asked several times about homeschooling Eli.  The questions range from how does our day look, what curriculum do I use, and how do we like it. There are so many families out there contemplating making this major life change, so I wanted to take a minute to address some of the more common questions I get.  

First of all...state rules.  Every state is different, so you would need to look into your state's rules to see what you are required by law to do.  Please visit the HSLDA website.  We are super lucky in Texas to live in a very homeschool friendly state.  There are only two rules that we have to abide by in Texas, and those are that we must teach the required subjects of  math, reading, spelling and grammar, and a course in good citizenship.  I am also teaching history, biology, and penmanship as well as a Bible class. Eli is also enrolled in an art class where they work on one big project every week for the entire month, and they learn art history about a certain artist each month as well.  The second major rule is that you must use a "written curriculum".  From HSLDA's website, "The private school law as interpreted by the Texas Supreme Court requires that you use some form of written curriculum (online programs meet this requirement) and that you operate your homeschool in a “bona fide” manner."  

So what does our day to day schedule look like? Well, we are very flexible, and the timing of our days is pretty different depending on if we have doctors appointments or other appointments.  My goal isn't to fit school in between 8 and 3...my goal is to be flexible (my favorite word), and fit in what we need to study any time between waking up and going to bed.  That is the BIGGEST benefit to us...if Eli had a rough night of sleep, he can sleep in a bit, then we can get started when his brain is ready to learn.  If he needs a nap during the afternoon, he can take one.  If you read my previous post about his medical issues, he will begin to need more and more rest periods throughout the day, so homeschooling is perfect for this situation.  But, for you guys who want to actually see what material we cover, here is a week from my lesson plan book.  I do keep a very detailed lesson plan book as well as keep Eli's homework, quizzes and tests in binders, so that if we are ever audited, I have everything easily located and documented.  There should be no question as to what we are doing and how much ground we have covered.  

Here is a picture of one week out of my lesson plan book. You will see that we took the MLK holiday, and we did not do any school that day.  I am following the local school district's calendar since my youngest still attends public school.  You will also see that we took a two day break from math the end of the week because he finished up the math book he had been working on. Eli doubles and triples up his math daily, so I reward his persistence with a day or two break in between books.  

As far as curriculum goes, we use a bunch of different ones, and I piece-meal his education.  I am still very new to this, as we just started homeschooling on January 3rd, but so far, it's working for us.  For math, we use Life of Fred.  It's fantastic for kiddos who struggle with numbers in general, and Eli has gone from hating math to asking to do more lessons each day. That's why you see him doing three to four lessons per day. For the rest of the subjects, we loosely follow Easy Peasy.  I love EP, but I feel like sometimes they don't get deep enough into a subject, so I supplement with different teacher resources I find online.  For some of you looking for ways to supplement in all subject areas, I recommend Get WorksheetsIXL, and for Government/History, I highly recommend using the Constitution Center Website.  There are gobs of lesson plans, worksheets, kid friendly lessons and it is very popular in this house and with the friends whom I've shared it with.  

So that's all for today.  I need to get to grading Eli's homework before Chase gets home.  Another part about homeschooling that Eli and I both like is that we grade his papers together, and when he makes a mistake, we go over his thought process and then we correct it and make sure he understands where he went wrong and what he should do next time.  The one on one attention is exactly what he needs to thrive, and it's been such a huge blessing to our family.  

I never set out to be a homeschool mom...in fact I have tried it before and hated it.  But I have learned that it's all about having the right curriculum and the right support.  Now that I have found both, we are loving that we made this decision for our family, and see the growth already.  If you are on the fence and want to talk to someone about your concerns, leave me a comment.  I am more than happy to answer whatever questions you may have.  


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