We are into our second week of homeschooling. Although I don't have an official, registered student, I do have a four year old who is oh-so eager to learn and a 2 year old who simply must tag along. So while I'm not yet up to my neck in tests and teaching various grade levels, I am getting a jump start on some formal teaching with structure - to prepare me for a whole new routine and to prepare them for the years ahead. So here is how we are currently "doing school."
I am a firm believer in letting kids be little, so I haven't pushed him to learn things prematurely. But with Kindergarten right around the corner and knowing that our days always go smoother when we have some form of schedule, I decided to give him a minimized version of a regular "big kid" school day. We do school three days a week for 2-3 hours a day, learning to sit still, work quietly, and be diligent with our work. The rest of the time, we live life and enjoy the day. We watch old movies. We sing songs. We play outside. We put together puzzles. We go places. And we goof off. So it's a good mix. :) Here is what we study.
Bible - We LOVE the Child's Story Bible. We started it several months ago and the kids always enjoy us reading from it. It is very well written, giving deep theology in a child's language. Nathan asks for it and Selah will usually sit still while I read. My deepest desire is for the word of God to take root in their hearts. They can graduate with honors, go to the best colleges in the world, make millions, and be brilliant but if they know nothing of Jesus and His grace then I have failed them in every possible way. Creating smart kids is great. Raising saved kids who pursue His righteousness is unmatched. So Bible is our foundation. We read from the Child's Story Bible and we work on Scripture memorization. It's also my goal to try and take whatever spiritual lessons or verses they are currently learning and find practical ways to teach them how to implement those lessons throughout the day.
Letters, Numbers, Shapes, etc. - We have handwriting tablets to practice writing the alphabet and numbers but we are primarily using the Get Ready for Kindergarten book to practice letters, shapes, numbers, colors, sequencing, and such. Thus far, we love it! Nathan could sit and do the whole book in one day if I'd let him. He also has a DVD from Rock 'n Learn that makes learning letter sounds a blast! Nathan is already sounding out small words all by himself.
Science - Last year, I purchased God Made the World & Me - a preschool, creation-based science curriculum with thirteen 6-in-1 lessons. We have loved it and are going through it again. Coupled with that, we are reading Christian Liberty's Nature Reader book 1. I remember my mom reading through these books years ago when I was small and I love that I now can do that with my own.
History - We don't have any type of formal history lesson or curriculum, but we do pull out our globe and talk about the world. We have USA puzzles we put together and Nathan is currently learning the US Presidents. Soon we will begin reading a book on Columbus which I'm anxious to dive in to. It's all very low-key. :)
Spanish - Grant is very adamant about our kids learning Spanish so we have slowly begun introducing them to a second language. I picked up this DVD that teaches basic words and conversational phrases in a really fun way and the kids have really enjoyed watching it and trying to say the words back. I've learned a few things and so we're hopeful that we have a good start.
We also love reading books and go to our library as often as we can. Currently, we are reading through the Little House in the Big Woods.
My Selah girl cannot be left out of anything so while I work with Nathan, Selah is hard at work too. I'm taking it as a blessing and an opportunity to teach her to actually be still for a period longer than 10 seconds. :) We picked up the Get Ready for Preschool book for her and although she loves it, I know she isn't quite ready for some of the lessons. She spends most of her time coloring, playing match games, or putting together puzzles.
I'm putting together a list of great books and DVD's that we have enjoyed, so keep an eye out!