Tuesday, August 30, 2016

School Days

One of my yearly late summer rituals is sorting through books for the upcoming school year.  To be completely honest, homeschooling is one of my greatest challenges.  I feel woefully inadequate and am pretty sure everyone is a better teacher than I, however, I revel in this amazing opportunity to teach and shape my children. 

Most of my friends are done or nearly finished with their homeschooling careers, but I will continue on for years to come.  With an nineteen year age gap between Maid Elizabeth and Master Calvin, I will have schooled my children twice as long as I attended school!

I have never used a complete curriculum, rather I have pulled from many sources, depending on what worked well with each of my children.  I've never paid much attention to grade level either, always being more concerned with the kids having a very solid academic foundation with few "holes" in their education.  I intersperse real world skills (hunting, canning, cleaning, animal husbandry, cooking) with academic pursuits (reading, writing, arithmetic, poetry, history, geography) in hopes of raising well-rounded, useful individuals. 

Going through the books

Piles everywhere!
Over the years I have worried over every "real world" test my children have taken.  When Maid Elizabeth took her hunters safety test, I was sure she would fail and everyone would know what a terrible teacher I was!  She passed with a 98%.  When she took her drivers test, I had knots in my stomach.  Again, she passed with a 98%.  When she took her EMT test she finished it in record time.  I was sure she had failed and the computer had kicked her off early - but no, she had passed with flying colors.  She passed her Ham radio technicians test, her CPR instructor test and her Neonatal Resuscitation test - each time with ease.  As each child has gotten older and been required to test for various reasons, I've felt those familiar butterflies, and each time, my kids have passed their tests and exceeded my expectations.  And still, being a teacher is my great challenge.

Organized into stacks for each child

Over the years I have found a few textbooks that have really made a difference in the way I school.  Math has always been a challenge.  It is not my strongest subject and a majority of the texts I have found teach math very differently than the way I was taught.  Few years ago I discovered Teaching Textbooks - and have never looked back!  They were designed for homeschooling students and their parents and my children love them!  They build a solid mathematical foundation and continue on through geometry, algebra, calculus and physics.  They consist of CD's (for your computer) and a workbook and answer key.  The kids do all their own work.  They listen to the lecture (it's fun) and work through the problems on the computer and then write them in their workbooks.  Each lesson is graded (on the CD) and there are regular quizzes and tests, which are also graded.  The only thing I have to do is look at the grade book (on the computer) and verify that the kids are doing well!  I love it!  Not only does it take the pressure off of me, my children feel confident in their mathematical abilities.  Totally a win/win situation!

The kids and I are enjoying our last week of freedom before the start of a new school year, but we are ready to knuckle down with our fall schedule.  The kids are anxious to crack open their new books and I am ready to embrace the steady routine of the new school year.

Tidy and ready to begin!
Let the school days begin!


  1. You are doing an awesome job. One of the most satisfying experiences in the PNW is watching all the homeschoolers. They are so savvy and mature.

    I believe the two greatest gifts parents can give their children are Jesus Christ and schooling at home.

    Montana Guy

  2. I fully embrace Montana Guy's comment.
    A dear friend homeschooled her four children and often made similar comments. They are all amazing and gifted adults. One of her daughters is starting the homeschool journey this year with the next generation. I can't wait to give her a link to this post. SJ in Vancouver BC

  3. I don't know if you are aware of Kahn Academy on line lessons.
    They cover grade school through college graduate programs all free/
    It's a great resource.