How I Do It – Planning Our Homeschool Year

I’m getting ready for the new school year. I’ve learned that organization and planning now pays off in the middle, especially with 5 students. We pull from this and that, an eclectic classical method based on The Well-Trained Mind. I homeschool for the express purpose of customizing the kids’ education, so I have to plan out each child’s year. I do not order “Eighth Grade” from a company, open a box, and go with that. We take Mondays off and do almost-year-round school. 3 days a week are “Workbook Days” and 1 day a week is a “History/Science Day”. I’ve just discovered over the years that this is what works for us. Here’s what I do: 1) Figure out what…

The Curriculum I Use: A Review of Rod and Staff English

I use Rod and Staff’s English program to teach grammar and some writing. This curriculum uses a very traditional approach to grammar and writing. In this approach lies both its strengths and weaknesses. Let’s first look at what I consider to be its strengths. Nouns, verbs, subjects, predicates, objective, subjective, tense, punctuation, diagramming, and many other details are all taught. Each grade level goes into a bit more depth, sometimes leading the student to think they already know the lesson when in actuality there is a little new information at each level. By the time they get to seventh grade, they are learning about coordinating conjunctions and adverb phrases, but since they’ve been studying conjunctions and adverbs for years, they…

The Curriculum I Use: A Review of The Well Trained Mind

I often have people ask me what curriculum I use.  I think they are expecting an easy response like “I get these DVDs from Somewhere Corporation and they teach my kids everything they need to know.  The program is all laid out nice and easy like, and it can teach any child.  I don’t even think about it; I just pull it out of the box, and voila (which is French for “there it is”, by the way), the child is smart.”  Well, it’s not quite that easy. One of the main reasons I homeschool is because I want a different experience, not cookie-cuttered, and not patterned after a brick-and-mortar school somewhere.  If I can make school personalized to exactly what…

The Best-Kept Secret of Homeschooling

There is a big secret that homeschoolers everywhere know, but we don’t want to tell you. If we told you, you would realize that it’s not as hard as it looks. But I’ll tell you, because I’m just that nice. Ready? Homeschooling is efficient. Really efficient. There’s no waiting for the bus. No riding the bus. No walking from one class to another. No waiting while the rest of the class finishes their homework. No waiting for the bell to ring. No taking a class that you don’t really need just to fill a slot in your schedule. No study hall. Lunch break only takes as long as it takes to, get this, eat lunch. Shoot, most days that we’re…