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Family Homeschool

Fall 2022 Homeschool

Since we are halfway through the first semester of the school year, I wanted to share a little about our homeschool, the curriculum we are using, changes we’ve made, etc. First a little background, this is our third full year homeschooling. When all kids were sent home in 2021 for the rest of the year it was a blessing for our family. Lance and I loved having the kids home all the time. We spent a lot of time working together outside, playing games, and just being together. When it was time to enroll the kids in school for the next school year, we decided to keep our three youngest home and continue homeschooling. Our oldest two children wanted to go back to public high school, mostly because they love competing in sports.

We had talked about homeschooling the kids off and on for years. I had done all the research and already read several books so we had an idea of what we wanted our homeschool to look like. We just never took the leap to actually do it even though we loved the idea of it. Having all of the kids sent home gave us the chance to give it a try and realize that we loved having the kids at home as much as we thought that we would.

Our first year, we homeschooled by ourselves. There wasn’t a lot of places open or groups meeting because of the virus. Part way through the year, we did end up joining a homeschool group that got together occasionally to let the kids play together. We chose all of our own curriculum which included a lot of reading. The second year, we joined a homeschool co-op that focused on academics so we didn’t get to choose all of our own curriculum. The co-op was a huge blessing for us and it was so nice to do school with others once a week. This year we are still part of the co-op but it has underwent some changes to better fit the families that are there this year. We are currently doing our science, history, and art history at co-op.

So there’s our homeschooling background, now onto what we are doing this year!

Kinzie is using The Good and The Beautiful for language arts, handwriting, and math. We are using the McGuffy Readers for reading and Exploring Nature with Children and lots of time outside for science. She also has plenty of time to play, paint, build, just be a little girl. She also loves helping me with chores around the house right now.

Since we were able to choose all of our curriculum again this year due to changes at our co-op, I asked Lane and Colton which curriculum they wanted to use. They chose to go back to how we had done school the first year which is a mix of Charlotte Mason and classical. We do dictation, copy work, read a lot, morning time, and math at home. They also do more reading or research on various history and science topics. The boys take piano lessons and Lane is teaching himself the guitar. I have also promised the kids to do at least one field trip each month and so far I have been successful!

Lane and Colton are using Memoria Press’, Exploring the World of Astronomy for science at co-op this semester. We haven’t settle on a science topic for next semester yet. Our art history for this year is Ever Ancient Ever New Level 1 from Catholic Heritage Curricula. Surprisingly, Colton says Art History is his favorite subject! We are using Year 2 History from The Good and The Beautiful.

At home we use Salt and Light Catholic Homeschool curriculum by Jane Manka along with the Real Learning book by Elizabeth Foss as the spine for our homeschool when it comes to language arts, literature, catechism, supplementing science and history, as well as how we structured our school. I have also pulled ideas from Educating the Wholehearted Child by Clay and Sally Clarkson. Many of the books on their reading lists come from Honey for a Child’s Heart by Gladys Hunt. We use reading, dictation, copy work, narration, or note booking pages for most of our subjects. Lane likes writing and researching so he is always working on some kind of research paper. They also use typing.com to learn how to type correctly.

Half way through last year, I realized that I am not good at teaching math so we joined Nicole Math Lady. The boys are able to watch all of the lessons from their Saxon Math books and do the lessons online. It has been been wonderful not to have to worry about teaching math!

During our morning basket we rotate through books about church history, art history, composers, saints, holidays, etc. We just read a chapter or so a day and then move on to the next book on the next day. Kinzie also does the calendar for the day and we discuss the weather. The kids will sometimes draw or paint while listening. Kinzie’s favorite part of morning time is that I turn on The Doxology by Anthem Lights to tell them that its time to come downstairs so we can start. She loves that song!

A very positive change we made for Colton this year is the addition of note booking pages. He has never liked free writing and has fought me on it every year. I finally decided to have him start using note booking for science and history. It is amazing how much he will write about a subject after he has had the chance to watercolor a picture about the subject at the top of his page. Who knew all it took was a little watercolor painting to get him to write?!?

Something that we have done from the beginning that works great for us, especially Colton, is using a spiral notebook to write all of their tasks in daily. All he has to do is look at his list and mark off each task as he completes it. I also add piano practice and some of the chores they do regularly to their list. Kinzie can’t really read her list but she loves having a list like the big kids.

We have really enjoyed homeschooling and this lifestyle. We have the freedom to learn what and how we want to. Each child is unique and this allows us to tailor their education to their abilities and interests. The kids have a lot of time to explore their interests or spend hours exploring outside every day.

Watercoloring outside
Field trip to the Kansas Museum of History
Colton caught tadpoles in various stages of development this fall.

Please do not hesitate to reach out if you have questions! I love talking about homeschooling and how it has blessed our family!

Resources mentioned in this post. (As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.)

        

Salt & Light can be found here https://www.magcloud.com/browse/issue/1830633?__r=2203525

https://www.goodandbeautiful.com

https://www.memoriapress.com

https://nicolethemathlady.com/

  

Categories
Agriculture Bees Family Finnsheep Goat Milk Lotion Goat Milk Soap Goats Homeschool Sheep

Highlights of the Year

It has been over a year since I last wrote a blog post. It’s crazy how fast time goes. Life has been busy like normal and we’ve had the usual changes that happen as the seasons go by. I thought an update was long overdue so here it is!

Last summer we had our first litter of livestock guardian puppies. We ended up keeping two of them – Jayde and Maizie. Jayde is an excellent lgd however, Maizie prefers to lay around near the house. Unfortunately, we lost our male and had to buy a new one this summer. Chief is the sweetest, softest puppy ever. He is growing so fast and is just as big as the other dogs even though he’s only 6 months old!

We had our second crop of Finnsheep lambs this spring shortly after our second shearing. Parasites have been a struggle this year so we are working on building a more resilient flock. The differences in hardiness between our hair sheep and Finnsheep are still so interesting. I am very pleased with the quality of our lambs and their fleeces though. It is so hard to be patient for next spring when we finally shear the lambs!

Two of our beehives survived the winter and we will be harvesting the honey soon! The hives have very different personalities. One is calm and quite while the other will swarm and chase you as soon as you open their box! Needless to say, I don’t open their hive without my full bee suit on.

The garden is currently in desperate need of attention, mostly the tomatoes. I am planning to work on that this week. We really enjoyed the salsa I canned last summer so I need to get some done for this year. Both my flower beds and vegetable garden seemed to struggle this year. It seemed to be a combination of weather, bugs, and naughty dogs that kept everything from growing well.

Last spring, Lance and I bought an old building in town that had most recently been a restaurant. We are currently renovating it into a venue and airbnb. I love the building and all of the character and quirks that come with a building built in 1909. It has a room that is perfect for me to use as a studio for our Ranch Store. I have loved having more room to make and store all of our products. Lance and our oldest son, Cody, have done all of the renovations so far. I am always amazed at their knowledge, ability, and work ethic.

Our oldest daughter, Hailey, graduated from high school in May. I am still processing how she is already an adult and not a little girl. She is enjoying college which makes it a little easier that she is no longer living at home full time.

I am still making our Goat Milk Soap and Lotion. We only had one doeling born this year which was really disappointing for Colton. She was named Marshmallow because she is the color of hot chocolate and has a white spot on top of her head like a marshmallow. He is hoping for more girls than boys next year! Colton bought a new buck this year. His goal with a new buck is to improve the quality of his goats and add in some color variety.

The younger three kids and I started our third year of homeschooling in August. After using a few different curriculums the last couple of years, we felt like we had a good idea of what works for us, so we have used the mix and match approach to curriculum this year. I will be sharing more about our homeschool in a later post.

Over the summer, we went to several horse shows. The kids have improved so much in their riding skills. The circuit we do is great for all ages to ride in. Three generations of our family are currently riding. The kids love competing against dad and grandpa!

Since we bought the building we decided to host a fiber festival! The first annual Fiber Flurry will be held November 4-5 at Sikes Venue in Leonardville, KS. There aren’t any other fiber festivals in our area so we are hoping to have a good response. If you live nearish to us, we hope you will come either as a vendor or to check it out!

I think that wraps up the highlights from the year. My plan is to attempt to write more regularly and send out a newsletter one time a month as well. If there is anything you would like to hear about please let me know in the comments!

Categories
Faith Family Livestock Projects Uncategorized

Who’s Well Done Are You Looking For?

“Who’s well done are you looking for? The world’s or God’s?” I have been mulling this phrase over in my head for weeks now. I first heard it on a podcast that I was listening to about parenting/homeschooling and then a visiting priest said almost the same thing during Mass last Sunday. Several weeks ago, I wrote it on our quote board and keep thinking about it as we make decisions about what our fall will look like.

If Covid-19 has done anything, it has given us time to evaluate what is really necessary and important to our families. When everything was shut down we had a lot of time on our hands. We had been running to activities and meetings at least 4-5 days/evenings a week, sometimes in two or three places at once. It was crazy and exhausting!

When all of that came to a halt overnight it was a big change. Like many people, we used all of the extra time to get a lot of projects done around the house and farm. As summer approached, a few things started up again such as baseball. We decided not to sign any of our kids up so that we could have a summer of “nothing” and just spend it together as a family. Since this will probably be the last summer we ever have with all of the kids home and nothing on the calendar we took advantage of it!

With summer coming to an end and school starting, Lance and I have had several conversations about kids activities and school this fall. I have thought of this phrase every time we have this conversation. I think it’s important to think about why we are committing to certain activities. Are we doing it because it fulfills us or our family enjoys it? Or are we doing it because it looks good to others or on a resume? Are we trying to “keep up with the Jones’?” Or are we doing it because we feel called to do it and it is the best thing for our family right now?

I think that most of us, at one time or another, do something because everyone else around us is doing it. It’s hard to be different. As we have made some decisions about what things will look like for our family this fall, it has helped to keep in mind that we aren’t trying to please the world. The only one that we need to hear “well done” from is God.

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