Meet My Homeschool: A Read Aloud Family in Iowa
This post is part of the Meet My Homeschool series, highlighting the beauty of variety and individualism in homeschooling. Schools often strive for standards, but homeschools don't thrive that way - they thrive in authenticity, based on the needs and interests of the family that's learning together! Enjoy this peek into a real homeschool. Let us connect over our similarities, and marvel at our differences!
How We Started Homeschooling
My husband and I had briefly talked about homeschooling when my daughter (now 8) was born. We both came to the conclusion that we liked the idea of it but it wasn't for us. We wanted to want to homeschool.
Fast forward to preschool. We were already considering homeschooling but decided to take this preschool year to decide, so she attended public preschool. We knew our local school district was dissolving and there would be no school close by after this year. This meant she would have to be on the bus for 45 minutes to get to and from school each day.
During the year so many things happened that solidified our decision to bring her back home. She was already reading 3 letter words by the time she entered preschool and was quickly put to work "helping her fellow classmates" - we were concerned that she would fall through the cracks. Her preschool teacher was great at working one on one with her when she had the opportunity, but we knew as she moved up in school there would be no way for a teacher to give her the individualized attention she needed to challenge her. So after many discussions and lots of prayer we decided to make the leap.
Starting was so scary as there are a million and one curriculum to choose from! We are in Iowa, which has the option to join the HSAP (Homeschool assistance program) in districts that offer it. For me personally, I felt like I needed the accountability. We've continued in this program because the support we received was awesome! Not just with the financial support, but also with practical advice and encouragement to keep at it!
We have discovered SO, so many reasons why! We wanted to preserve their innocence a little longer - to let them be kids! To play most of the day instead of sitting behind a desk. I wanted my kids to be each other’s friends and to grow our family bond.
It pained my heart every single day I had to drop Abigail off at preschool. I wanted to take control of their education. To be able to let them learn at their own pace! To excel where they are excelling and not be held back! And to be able to take as long as we need and not just be rushed on to the next thing before they are ready.
We want to instill the faith and values that we hold so near. All in all, we want them to grow strong in their faith, be confident in who they are despite what the world says, and to love to learn! To be excited about different subjects and to see the light in their eyes when they get something!
How We Learn
We are so eclectic in our homeschool method/curriculum but I also like to say I'm a closet Charolette Mason homeschooler 😂. We started out very classical and quickly realized it was not for us.
A few of our favorite curricula:
Beautiful Feet Books - History
We also love BOOKS! So many books! This year I compiled a list of books to read throughout the year. I mainly used suggestions from A Mind In The Light. My kids love art, music, and nature studies! We also play outside as often as possible!
A Typical Day in the Life
I like to start the day by reading a chapter from our read aloud book while they are eating their breakfast.
We then get ready for our day by getting dressed, brushing teeth, making beds (sometimes), etc.
Next is morning time where we do our calendar, music/art/nature study, and thankful journal.
Abigail (age eight) then works on some independent work while I work with Elijah (age four) on the days he feels like it.
When Abigail is done with independent work we go into instruction time.
Lastly, she ends her day with any independent work that she may have and her piano practice.
All this takes 2 maybe 3 hours at the most.
If it's a history day I'll read our history book during lunch.
After lunch they have an hour to do whatever they choose. When Elijah is napping Abigail reads for 45 min (free read of her choice), then does 15 min of Xtra Math (app for flashcards), and 10 minutes working on her Awana book.
The rest of the day is spent in free play.
What We Value Most
Did I mention... books? We love books and read every day. Even on non-school days we may read part of whatever book I'm reading "for school" because they are so into the story! We also love to be outdoors, so if we can, we try to be outside!
We participate in a co-op every other week. We do gym, music, art, and science. We also like to take field trips.
Less Is More
I was sick and had lost my voice. My daughter pulled out a book and was drawing and studying a butterfly she found - she did this all on her own. When we started out, I had to have every subject planned and I filled our day with textbooks. Wow, did we get burnt out fast! Less is more! All learning does NOT have to come in the form of a textbook.
Something We Tried: Making Art + Reading Accessible
We have been trying to always have art supplies (except paint) and books at their fingertips. Lately, our four-year-old will exclaim, "I have something in my brain!" He will stop whatever he is doing and run to the supplies to get it out on paper. I love, love, love seeing him be able to express himself and to get his ideas out there when he feels like it! What freedom in learning that is!
Equally, having GOOD books out that they can flip through - including resource books! The amount of times I've heard "MOM, DID YOU KNOW?..." It's so rewarding!